Raising different breeds of chickens in relatively small quantities for different reasons is an enjoyable and rewarding pastime for some. People raise chickens for their eggs, breeding and for food. Chickens are not difficult to build a habitat for, as they are pretty accepting of most building materials. As with any construction project, coupling quality materials with solid building practices will make a sturdier, longer-lasting, more trouble-free structure.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 1 Construction grade reel tape
- 1 Hammer
- 1 Bundle of building stakes
- Foundation concrete (quantity estimated by concrete company)
- Breeze block and cap block (quantity estimated by concrete company)
- Sand (quantity estimated by concrete company)
- Mortor mix (quantity estimated by concrete company)
- 2-by-4 8-foot Building studs (quantity dependent upon 24-inch centres or 18-inch centres)
- Roof trusses (quantity dependent upon how many studs installed)
- 10 Sheets roof decking
- 200 Feet of roofingfFelt
- Tin or shingles to cover 200 feet of roof area
- 1 Pre-hung entry door (of desired width)
Establish a size for the chicken house. Common estimates vary, but fall within the range of 2 to 3 feet of inside space per bird housed, depending upon the size of the bird. A chicken house built to house 100 chickens inside should be at least 200 square feet, a 10-foot by 20-foot rectangle. Also, building it 8 feet high will give you room to stand comfortably inside the structure, and use it for other things when you tire of chickens.
Measure, stake, dig and pour the footing for your chicken house. Use a tape to measure out your 10-foot by 20-foot structure. As the points are found, use a hammer to drive a marking stake at each point until you have the entire building foundation staked out. Using a pick and shovel or trencher, dig a ditch 8 inches wide by 8 inches to 12 inches deep along the inside of the marked out area keeping the bottom of the ditch even. Call the local concrete company and order your concrete. A service truck will come out and fill the foundation you just dug with foundation grade concrete up to roughly ground level.
Give the concrete 3 to 5 days to cure (completely dry and set up). Lay 4 or 5 courses of breeze blocks on your foundation, up to a height of 4 feet. Cap these blocks with cap block. Nail 2-by-4 boards flat down on the cap block. This is called the "bottom plate". On the plate measure and mark at 18-inch or 24-inch intervals (depending on how strong and sturdy you want to make it.) Nail in your 4-foot studs, end to plate vertically, on each mark you just made on the plate. Be sure to leave the space open for framing out your door. Frame out your door.
Nail down 2-by-4 boards flat on top of the 4-foot studs you just marked and installed. This is called the 'top plate'. The top plate will support your roof trusses. Order a roof truss for every pair of studs you have installed. Set and nail in your roof trusses. Cover these trusses with roof decking. Cover the decking with roofing felt. Cover the felt with shingles or tin.
Wrap your exposed 4-foot studs with heavy gauge chicken wire nailing it in securely at each stud. From the inside, hang heavy canvas retractable curtains that can be raised and lowered depending upon the weather.
Tips and warnings
- Locate your chicken house in partial shade for most of the day.
- There is no need to floor a chicken house, since they are grazers and prefer the ground.
- Secure your chicken house to keep out predators.
- Unless you have completed at least one building project on this advanced level, it is recommended that you hire an experienced, licensed professional.
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