It was a spur of the moment decision to get chicks. My husband saw them at Tractor Supply, called me up and said “babe we need to get chicks NOW!” Was I ready for chicks? Absolutely not… but I figured I’d finally give in and get some. We ended up with seven chicks in our bathroom and I knew we had to start fast with the chicken coop process.
The big question: should we buy a coop or build a coop? Buying a coop sure did seem a lot easier, but after looking at the prices of buying a cute coop to match our house, I realized building a coop would be much less expensive… and fun!
I decided to write this blog to help anyone else who is looking to build their own coop. Below are the questions I had to ask myself before we started the building process.
First things first… finding a coop plan that I liked to make the building process much simpler. Well, it turns out I couldn’t find one that I LOVED, so I started looking at greenhouse plans and found this one HERE that would make great “bones” for our coop. Next, I drew a sketch so my husband and I could refer back to it as we moved further along in the building process.
Should my coop be open or enclosed?
I decided to go with the open style coop rather than enclosed and this is why; We live in the south, so it doesn’t get too cold here. The open-concept chicken coops allow for great ventilation- especially during the hot and humid summers. Our chickens probably won’t be out in the yard too much, so I wanted to make sure they have plenty of fresh air throughout the day.
Should my coop have a floor and what type of Chicken litter (footing) should I use?
I read a lot of blogs that were very “pro floor” for coops. I think the main reasons are that it can be easier to clean, warmer at night, and predator safe. We decided to dig into the ground, lay down hardware cloth, then cover it with m10 (crushed rock) and will layer that with river sand. This keeps the chickens safe, so predators can’t burrow into the coop. It also allows the chickens to have dust baths whenever and wherever they please. If you are considering using sand for your coop, read THIS blog to learn more. They give great insight on different types of footing for your coop. I also love THIS blog that talks about the benefits of sand and how to keep your coop clean!
How many nesting boxes should my coop have?
We decided to go with three nesting boxes (12x12). We have seven chicks (two are currently on roo watch) and I read that you typically need one box for every three to four hens. There are plenty of different materials you can use for your bedding in the nesting boxes, but we are going to try the artificial turf boxes for ours. They are supposed to be easy to keep clean and soft, so your eggs don’t break. HERE is a great blog about THESE pre-cut turf nesting box liners that you can order on amazon!
If you’d like to see the step-by-step progress pictures of our coop building process, check out my Instagram page HERE and watch the “coop” highlights to see it all. Thanks so much for reading this blog and I hope this helps you decide how to build the coop of your dreams!