Building the best chicken coops and runs yourself is possible even if you have only basic carpentry skills. I say this because I am proof!
My construction skills were never my strong point, but hey, I’m handy enough with a hammer and screwdriver around the house…I just never built a house! But, I figure since I’m going to build a chicken coop, and not a people house, I can do this.
We found an eBook called “Building a Chicken Coop“ by Bill Keene. This was a real eye-opener. So much of what we were doing was wrong. Wrong for the chickens and wrong for us since we were only adding to our frustration by not making properly designed chicken coops and runs, making it hard to collect eggs, clean the coop, and feed our “gang of girls.” The guidelines that Bill Keene lays out for hen care, including how to take care of day-old chicks right through adulthood (about 6 months to your first eggs) and beyond has made our hobby much more enjoyable. No more guesswork!
Properly designed chicken hutches provide a clean environment for your hens that is easy to keep that way. It will be easy to keep them healthy and happy, well-fed and exercised, and ultimately, more fun for you when collecting eggs and enjoying the company of your new feathered friends.
The plans will describe the best siting for your chicken hutches, how to orient it for the best weather exposure, and how to build it for protection from predators. Here in Hawai’i, our biggest threats are dogs (who should be tied up somewhere and not running wild), hawks (who are an endangered species here), and ready…? Mongooses. Yep, we have our own brand of weasel living here who were brought to Hawai’i to kill rats. Unfortunately, rats run around at night and mongooses are daytime guys so that wasn’t such a good idea as it turns out. Mongooses do love bird eggs and young birds and have done a number on native Hawaiian bird populations, but that’s another story! Chickens have a lot of enemies out there depending on where you live.
Bottom line, you won’t have as much fun with your backyard chickens if you can’t manage them. The way to manage your flock, get good egg production, and enjoy the endlessly amusing antics of nature’s little natural comedians is to house them in properly designed and built chicken hutches. It is easy and a great project you’ll enjoy for years.
Shannon Stansberry has been engaged in the business of raising chickens for more than 12 years. In 2016, she accomplished the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. At present, she tends to more than 80 chickens on her 4-hectare farm. Shannon regularly shares her insights and experience on how to raise healthy and contented chickens on the platform Typesofchickens.com