Chicken Coop Guides is a downloadable guide to building your own Chicken Coop.
John White the author of this guide is a professional architect by trade. He explains the process without using overly technical terms and phrases so that the average individual can easily follow his instructions.
He offers easy to follow Chicken Coop Plans, Complete Chicken Raising Guides and Weekly Chicken Raising tips to all his members.
There are 19 plans on offer and you get a complete material list that you can print out and take to the hardware store. They can prepare the materials exactly for you which makes it so much easier to put together.
The plans are computer drawn with step by step instructions, cross sectional diagrams and full color illustrations.
This Coop was made by one of their customers. This is one of the larger coops but there are other simpler plans for smaller flocks if you only want two or three chickens.
If you purchase these plans you are entitled to several bonuses. You have access to forums with over a thousand active users where you can discuss your experiences with other like minded people. You also get access to instructional videos that show the process of building a Chicken Coop. Plus you receive regular tips about looking after your chickens.
The information in this guide is presented logically and in a format that makes building your coop easy. Instead of struggling with measurements, materials lists etc. it is much easier to build a coop if a professional architect has already developed the plans for you and given you a step by step guide on how to go about the process.
To find out more about Chicken Coop Guides by John White Click Here
If you are not a handy person and don’t want to build your own chicken coop, you may want to buy a pre-made chicken coop. When you add up the cost of materials and your time it often works out cheaper than designing and building your own. Most of the pre-made chicken coops available have everything that your chickens will need such as roosts and nesting boxes. They often have handy design features that you may not have thought of such as storage areas. These Coops below are a good cross section of what is currently available and offer good value.
Pawhut Deluxe Backyard Chicken Coop / Hen House w/ Outdoor Run
This coop is a high quality larger size chicken coop which is made of fully treated and
grooved wood. Coated with water based preservative. Coming with a two section
nesting box for egg laying. This coop can be wide opened to be a “fresh air school”, and
closed to make a controlled-environment coop. This coop is well designed with one
Living House, a two section Nesting Box and a Backyard Run.
This Chicken Coop is perfect for 2 to 4 Chickens and has received very good reviews
from those who have already purchased it. It is sturdy and the price is very reasonable.
Wood Chicken Coop Hen House with Run
This chicken coop gives your chickens the ability to move seamlessly from a comfortable enclosure to an outdoor protected space. The indoor facility includes multiple roosting poles and a large nesting box that is able to hold multiple chickens. A small entrance with a travel ramp allows your chickens to run in and out easily, without being wide enough to let the elements in when the weather is bad. This attaches to a wide open fenced enclosure that allows them plenty of room to move around. The roof is split into multiple segments so the roof may be peaked, closed or completely opened up. This is a perfect unit for someone who has a few chickens, but still needs to minimize the space that the coop will be using. This Coop is suitable for 4 to 6 Chickens.
Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop
The Cape Cod can comfortably house up to four rabbits or chickens. The Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop or Rabbit Hutch provides a quality shelter that you and your pets will love. The two front doors provide easy access to the shelter’s interior whether you need to reach your pets or simply perform routine maintenance. The nesting box with roosting bar is ideal if you are using the Cape Cod as a large outdoor chicken coop. A removable pan under the retreat makes cleaning easy whether you keep rabbits or chickens. This shelter is made with high quality fir wood. An internal ramp provides pets with easy access between the raised retreat and the spacious run where your pets can stretch their legs. Zinc-coated wire mesh encloses the run but provides ample ventilation. That way, whether you use the Cape Cod as a premium rabbit hutch or chicken coop, your pets will always be protected from predators and the elements.The Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop or Rabbit Hutch is designed for easy maintenance and assembly.
I have been looking around for the best pre made chicken coop I can find for a reasonable price and I have found that a lot of them are flimsy and not of good quality. However I just came across this plastic Chicken Coop available from Amazon which has received rave reviews. It is perfect for someone who wants to start raising chickens now. Apparently it only takes 30 minutes to an hour to slot together and it is water proof and easy to clean.
Formex Snap Lock Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House 4-6 Large 6-12 Bantam
Specifications and Features
- No tools required
- Impact resistant
- Ultraviolet resistant
- Water resistant
- Chemical resistant
- Maintenance free
- Removable litter tray
- Larger Adjustable ventilation
- Easy access for egg collection
- Insulating, double-wall construction
- Predator resistant, lockable access
- Self contained and light weight
- Four nesting spots with removable dividers
- Three 36″ roosts
- Room for twelve standard breed hens
I have never seen a pre-made chicken coop receive so many positive reviews from so many people. I am not usually into plastic but it does make sense when you think about it. If this is a Chicken Coop you may be interested in take a look by clicking the link below:
1. IS IT LEGAL
It is very important when you start out raising chickens for eggs to make sure that you are allowed to keep chickens in your backyard. You will need to check with your local authorities to make sure that you are able to keep chickens and see what restrictions they may have. i.e. some councils will not allow you to have roosters but will allow hens.
The reason why this is important is because you don’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up your chickens only to find that you are breaking the laws in your area. If you don’t check with your local authority then you may run the risk of prosecution.
Roosters are not allowed in some cities.
2. CHICKS OR CHICKENS
Another important consideration when raising chickens for eggs is whether you raise your chickens from eggs i.e hatch them yourself or whether you buy them as baby chicks and raise them. You can also buy chickens that are ready to lay. For those who are new to raising chickens I would recommend buying chickens that are ready to lay.
One, you don’t have to wait long for your chickens to start laying and two, the older chickens are not as vulnerable as the young chicks and are much more likely to survive. It’s critical that you buy from a reputable supplier because the health of the laying hens is important for their egg production and also makes it easier for you to care for them.
3. CHICKEN COOPS
You don’t have to have an expensive chicken coop for your chickens. There are many ready made chicken coops for sale out there but it is really not too hard to build your own. If one of your motivations for raising chickens for eggs is saving money then buying an expensive chicken coop will defeat that purpose.
There are many books available on building your own chicken coop with easy to follow plans using cheap easily available materials. All you need to do is decide how many chickens you want, (I would recommend 2 to 4 chickens for a city backyard.) and make sure that you find a chicken coop design that will suit that amount of chickens. The less space you have available means the less chickens you should have.
4. HOW MANY CHICKENS
Instead of complicating raising chickens for eggs by having a huge flock, concentrate your efforts on a small number of chickens. Most chickens in full production will lay an egg each day. If you have too many chickens you may find it difficult to use all the eggs that they will produce.
I have found that having 2 to 4 chickens will give you plenty of eggs for your family and friends and you will not be overwhelmed with eggs that you cannot use. Concentrate your efforts by only having a few hens and you will find that raising chickens for eggs is not as hard as you may think.
5. FEEDING CHICKENS
Chickens need to have a place to roost at night which is protected by the weather and they need to be fed and their water checked every day. They also need a nesting box to lay their eggs in which you put in your chicken coop. If you have children, you will find that they love collecting eggs as it is a lot of fun and you can also get them to help with feeding and checking the water as well.
Chickens need a variety of foods to produce great tasting eggs and the best way to achieve this is to feed them all your kitchen food scraps. Chickens will eat just about anything and what they are doing is transforming your food scraps into fantastic garden fertilizer. Chickens will also benefit from eating layer pellets or grain to maintain their egg production and will quickly turn any weeds and garden waste you have into fertilizer as well.
The most common reasons for chickens to stop laying eggs are decreasing day length, moulting, disease, broodiness, poor nutrition, and stress.
Moulting is a natural process that allows the hen to replace old worn feathers and at the same time rejuvenates her oviduct the organ that “makes” eggs. This allows the hen to increase its rate of egg production and produce higher quality eggs when it returns to lay. With the moult the hen puts all of her energy into feather growth leaving little for egg production. Every year I have first time chicken owners contacting me and asking why the hens that have been laying all year have suddenly stopped.
2. Decreasing Day Length
Natural moulting is a seasonal process related to changes in day length. Once the daylight hours begin to decline this will trigger moulting and consequently your hens will stop laying eggs for a few weeks. This usually occurs in the fall after chicks have fledged.
Often your whole flock will stop laying at the same time. Commercial growers use artificial lighting to prevent their hens moulting all at once and consequently they may often moult at any time.
There are many causes of stress, from predators hanging around or even a loud noise which can cause the hens to stop laying. You may have moved them into a new environment which is definitely stressful for them. Not only do they have to get used to their new home they also have to establish a new pecking order.
Do everything you can to make their life comfortable and they should reward you and start laying eggs.
Some hens of certain breeds are prone to becoming broody. This means that they will try to incubate their eggs to make them hatch. When this happens they stop laying eggs. They are more likely to become broody if they are allowed to accumulate eggs in a nest. The hens will sit on the eggs and get very annoyed when you try to take the eggs from the nest.
To avoid this situation it is best to collect the eggs at least once a day which will prevent the hen from building up a clutch of eggs. This is also important to preserve the freshness and quality of eggs for human consumption.
Diseases will stop your hen laying even if the symptoms they have are not obvious. Keep an eye on the hen and if any disease symptoms appear you will need to treat the disease before your hen begins laying again.
Hens need a balanced and adequate diet to maintain egg production. Many backyard flock owners don’t realize how much calcium a hen needs to produce eggs. To maintain egg production you need to feed your flock a prepared layer ration or at least provide some source of calcium. e.g ground limestone or oyster shell that birds can eat when they need to. You should be able to source layer ration or oyster shell at your local feed store.
Hens can live for many years. As with other species an aging hen will eventually lose its ability to be reproductive and will stop producing eggs. Protect your hens from the elements and predators. Make sure that their hen house is clean and well maintained and make sure that they have a constant supply of nutritious food and water. This will result in high egg production and many quality eggs for your family to enjoy.
Chicken Coop Plan Reviews
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If you are planning on raising your chicks from eggs then you will need an incubator of some kind. Fertile eggs should hatch approximately 21 days after the hen has begun to sit on them. You can leave them with your broody hen to hatch or you can incubate them yourself using an incubator.
1. Heat up Incubator
You will need to get your incubator ready by heating it up and making sure that the temp is at 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit before you put your eggs in. You can buy an incubator that does not require you to turn the eggs or you can buy
one that does require you to turn them. Some people prefer to turn them themselves so that they are more involved with the process and can keep an eye on the eggs.
2. Position the Eggs
An incubating egg should be set in a normal position as it would if you laid it on a flat surface. The large end should be slightly higher than the pointed end.
7. Hatched Chickens
To check if your chicken eggs are fertile or not, you can put them through a procedure called Candling. Candling is the process of shining a light through the egg to see if there is any sign of an embryo inside.
The fertility of eggs cannot be determined before you incubate them, so after 2 to 3 days in the incubator, you can candle white-shelled eggs to see if embryos have developed.
Eggs that are damaged do not hatch and often develop odors and they should be removed when found.
White-shelled eggs may be candled by placing a light bulb under a box. Make a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the egg through which light will pass. Place the egg over the hole, if a cloudy spot is observed, this can be assumed to be a growing embryo. If the contents of the egg allows light to pass uniformly through it you can assume that the egg is infertile. If an egg is candled at 7 days or older and is absolutely clear it is dead or was never fertile.
If you prefer you can buy a Candler, which is a sophisticated product specifically designed to show you if the eggs are fertile or not.
Here is an example of a Candler below:
Chickens have different nutritional needs at different stages of their lives. There are a few basic types of chicken feed. Mash which is grain based and ground into powder, pellets which are compressed mash made into pellets so that there is less waste, and crumbles which are pellets broken into pieces. There is also a whole grain feed called scratch which is a bit like a treat for the birds. If they have too much of this though they can get quite fat. Many people mix their own feed for their chickens but you do need to have a fair bit of knowledge to get this right. I would recommend that people just starting out with raising chickens should buy their chicken feed premixed.
Starter Feed for Chicks
From the time your chicks hatch until 6 weeks of age you will need to feed them chick starter mash with a protein level of 20 percent. It is important that you feed your baby chicks different food to your laying hens as the extra calcium that the older birds need for laying eggs is actually detrimental to baby chicks. So you will need to separate your chicks from the laying hens until they get old enough. Commercial suppliers provide starter feeds especially made for young chicks. These feeds will provide the chicks with all the minerals and vitamins that they require. Most people use a medicated feed for the first few weeks of a chicken’s life. This is to prevent Coccidiosis which is a parasite that chicks are particularly vulnerable to up until 18 weeks of age. A chick that is from an egg laying breed will eat about 2 pounds of starter feed in its first 6 weeks.
Chick Starter Feed
Once they turn six weeks of age you can start them on pullet grower feed which has only 14 to 17 percent protein. You feed them this until they reach twenty weeks old. You can then start supplementing the grower feed with grain. This will reduce the overall cost of rearing your chickens. Pullets may begin to receive grain as soon as they start eating growing feed. Corn, wheat, barley, oats, millet, grain sorghum, or combinations of these may be used. Begin with 10 pounds of grain for each 100 pounds of growing food. Increase the grain until they are getting equal parts of growing food and grain. It is at this point that you can also start introducing your pullets to vegetable scraps, garden weeds, grasses and any plant material. This also helps to reduce your costs and it is also a very important part of your hen’s diet. Vegetable peelings, stale bread, and leafy vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnips,broccolli etc are excellent sources. Avoid strong smelling vegetables such as onions or garlic unless you want onion or garlic flavored eggs. Don’t feed them food that is rotten as they can get food poisoning which can kill them very quickly. It is best to feed your scraps to your chickens daily.
Chickens eating Scraps
Chicken Food for Layers
When pullets are 18 to 20 weeks old, gradually withdraw the growing feed and replace with laying feed over those last two weeks. Layers need a quality balanced ration to maintain their egg production. If you are new to raising chickens then it is advisable to use a mixed feed purchased at a poultry feed store. This feed will ensure that your chickens are getting the nutrition that they need to produce eggs. Laying hens need a mixture with a 15 percent protein level with the vitamins and minerals blended into the commercial feed to complete their diet. This food can be supplemented with grain as before. Just make sure you do not feed too much grain as this can make your layers fat if you are feeding them both types of food.
There is growing evidence that supplementing your chicken’s food with grasses and other vegetable matter, will produce eggs with a higher ratio of omega three’s than those hens fed just on commercial food. We all know that the taste of eggs from chickens allowed access to weeds and grasses, insects and vegetable matter, is far superior to commercially grown eggs. Now we are starting to see evidence that eggs produced from chickens (who are allowed to eat the food that they would in the wild) are more nutritious and actually benefit your health.
If you can achieve it, give your chickens access to your yard for about 30 mins every day. If you let them out about half an hour before their roosting time at sunset you will not have to chase them back into their coop as they will go in by themselves. All you will have to do is shut the door. By limiting the time they have access to your garden, gives them less time to actually damage your plants. They are more likely to feed on grasses and insects in the time given to them. If you have plants that you don’t want damaged, put a bit of wire mesh around them to protect them.
Another way to ensure that your chickens get enough greens is to have a portable chicken coop that you can move around on your lawn. You have to move it quite a lot so you need to be prepared to do this but they will mow your lawn and keep the bugs out as they go. If none of this is practical, pulled up weeds and garden refuse plus scraps from your kitchen will still do the trick and give them that extra nutrition they need.
Layer Feed for Chickens