Mistakes to avoid when building a chicken coop
Ok so you know how I talked in a previous post about how I just all of a sudden decided one day to get chicks, then had to run around like a crazy woman getting my permit and building a coop…. Well… here are the mistakes I made and the lessons I learned building my first coop. Spare yourself the trouble of having to troubleshoot later on down the road, and just learn from me!
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the coop I designed, it is sooooo cute and totally my style, but it has its issues. It turned out to be too small, I didn't plan my roost bars very well, and I had to come up with a totally new plan for my nesting boxes. My biggest suggestion…. DO NOT BUILD IT TOO SMALL! Plan it allll out first and figure out exactly how it will all fit before you begin. I thought I had but it turns out I did not account for #chickenmath to happen. Here is my list of things I messed up and how I wish I would have done it to begin with!
A good rule of thumb is 2 sq ft per chicken inside the coop and 8-10 sq ft in the pen per chicken.
I planned on having 4 birds, and allowing them to free range most of the time. So my coop dimensions are 3’ x 3 ½’ which gives me 10 ½ sq ft. and my pen dimensions are 6’ x 8’. It should have been perfect for 4 birds, about 2.6 sq ft each in the coop… but I ended up with EIGHT birds instead. Instantly, my coop became too small. Build it a little bit bigger in the beginning so you have a little room to grow. Even if you are sitting there saying “Grow?? I don't need/ want more than 4 chickens so i don't need anything bigger!!” TRUST ME… I was that person… I saw no reason to have more than the four I was planning to get and had no intentions of ever having more than that… now I am the proud owner of 7 chickens(one vanished) and I am constantly looking at little chicks for sale in a facebook chicken buy/sell page, dying to get more babies! I just keep reminding myself I have no room for them.. Gotta wait for the new house!
The other thing I didn’t really account for was the room the nesting boxes would take up. They need to be around 12” x 12” and I wanted two boxes. Don't forget to ADD that square footage to your total coop size!
The boxes I had originally made and planned are NOT going to work, so I had to come up with a temporary fix to get us by until the new house is built and I can get them in to their big nice new coop! I am really happy with my solution, but it would have saved me some time, money, and effort to have done it right the first time.
Ok so they like to roost at night so make sure your plan involves some type of bar for them to do this on. It doesn't have to be super high or anything, just something to get them off the floor to sleep. I thought I had a good plan for this, buttttt like a lot of this build, I didn't know anything about chickens so I didn't really know how to plan. A 2 x 4 on its side works really well. And remember… the poo ALOTTTT while they are on their roost so make sure you think about how you are going to keep it clean!!! My floor is wood, but I painted it with a good outdoor paint so that I could hose it out. (if you plan to use a hose make sure you also think about drainage!)
I am planning to add 2 hooks, one to hang the feeder on and one to hang the waterer on, keeping them off the ground will help to keep it all cleaner since they won't be able to step in it as easily, and it will reduce the amount of food that gets wasted.
Basically, everything that you could possibly do wrong.. I did. That's ok though because I have learned alot about what to do for my next coop and I CAN'T WAIT to get it all built! It's going to be beautiful and have lotttttssss of room! The good news about my current coop is it will make a PERFECT nursery coop for new chicks, or for a chicken that needs to be separated from the flock, so it wasn't a total fail!!
If you have questions, or have made your own coop building mistakes or do not do’s, let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the list!!!
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