Directions for Building a Chicken Coop

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Chicken coops come in all shapes, sizes and colours. From the portable chicken tractors on wheels to the permanent two-story coops that house dozens of chickens, building a chicken coop is an easy, inexpensive project that anyone can do in a few hours' time. Most simple designs can be constructed using old recycled materials that you already may have on hand.

Dig four holes, each 3 feet deep and 4 feet apart from each other. Fill each hole with concrete. Place a 4x4 stud in each hole and brace up straight with stakes and string. Allow the concrete to dry completely--usually overnight.

Dig a 12-inch-deep trench around the perimeter of the chicken coop that provides an extra 4 feet on all sides. Measure the dimensions around the chicken coop on all sides. Cut out the measured length of chicken wire from the wire roll and place along the perimeter in the trench; fill it in with the remaining dirt. The tall chicken wire allows for adequate protection from predators.

Lay four 2x4 studs horizontally on top of the coop "legs" to make the foundation for the plywood floor and screw two deck screws into each stud.

Screw a 4x4 piece of plywood with deck screws spaced 12 inches apart onto the floor frame to create the chicken coop floor. Frame out the walls of the chicken coop by spacing 2x4 studs every 2 feet and screwing onto floor with two screws each.

Measure all walls and cut four pieces of plywood to fit, using a hand or circular saw. Take two pieces of the pre-cut walls and measure out one window on each, 1 foot in diameter. Cut out with a handsaw or circular saw. Staple pieces of chicken wire over the window openings to fit.

Take one of the four pieces of wall plywood and cut out the door opening. The size of the opening depends upon personal preference. Cut out a smaller opening next to the door hole as the aperture that is going to be used by the chickens to enter and exit the coop. Screw all of the wall plywood boards onto the frame with deck screws spaced 6 inches apart.

Cut out a piece of plywood measured to fit as the door. Attach the two metal hinges on the right or left side of the door opening located on the coop wall. Screw the plywood door onto the metal hinges with the included hardware to create a swinging, simple chicken coop door. Attach a basic door latch using the included hardware onto the door and wall to keep the door from swinging open at night. Attach a small 1-foot-wide ramp for the chickens to enter and exit the aperture opening by screwing it in place with deck screws spaced 2 inches apart. The ramp can be made by screwing small pieces of wood every 4 to 5 inches horizontally up the middle of a thin piece of plywood.

Cut a 16-inch diameter piece of plywood and screw deck screws spaced 12 inches apart on top of the wall frame to make the roof. Measure the distance from one wall to the other on the inside of the chicken coop and screw a 2x4 stud onto one wall with two screws, running across to the other wall no higher than 2 feet off the ground using two more screws. Construct the nesting box by screwing four pieces of thin plywood boards together with screws spaced 4 inches apart to make an open front box. Nesting boxes should be 2 feet in length. 4 four inches apart and no higher than 2 feet off the ground. Line the box with a heavy layer of straw or hay.

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