How to build a coop

Here are a collection of ideas that will help you either build or purchase a chicken coop

Hunter Chooks

In the heart of the Hunter Valley NSW the home of innovating poultry watering and feeding systems, and quality free range eggs.

Previously we talked about the building the house. Now in this section, we're going to help you with some more ideas about coop design and build.  We need to complete the house with nesting boxes and perches. We're not selling anything on this page, but hopefully you'll incorporate our watering systems and feeding systems into your plan.

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First let us understand a coop requirement, or better still how much room does each chook need inside a coop. Each chook requires about 1 square metre to avoid tantrums and provide adequate room for exercise. So 4 chooks = 4 sq mtr,  Easy as! Just think Covid 19 social distancing and you've got it !!!

Next, and an important observation.

A house is not just a wall and roof to protect them, there must be nesting boxes, and configure one box roughly  300 x 300 x 300 or slightly larger which should be a minimum of half a metre off the ground or more if possible, per two birds.  You'll find that chooks will inspect the box for security and comfort before nesting. It's not uncommon for hens to lay their eggs in just one box alone.  For this reason, you should have a walkway, not a perch, in front of the nesting boxes so the hens can walk along to make their choice.

In my own house, I've put the nesting boxes just about 1 metre high resting on a platform giving them the chance to walk up and down to select the place they want to lay their eggs.  They get access to this gang plank via a ladder resting about a 45 degree angle.  A simple piece of wood with slats nailed to it up the length to give them a grip.  While I'm on simplicity check this idea below...

Nesting Boxes

I've gone for a very simple but effective use of the 20 Litre square container, the type they use for bulk cleaning products, they're available in many places and are as cheap as. Just cut the bottom off with a hand saw saving a lip of about 8 centremetres.  I tell you why they are so good.  Number 1, they are not subject to mites, number 2, they are so easy to keep clean and fresh, number 3, they are totally and easily transportable and the last one is they can be obtained for next to nothing.

As for bedding, you can use whatever you like, wood shavings, shredded paper or my favorite, Sugar Cane Mulch as you can put it straight onto the garden bed when you change it.

Now the perches

Firstly chickens don't sleep on the floor, they like to sleep on a perch, and there's been a lot of chatter about the correct type of perch your little feathered friends like.

One thing is for sure, these special creatures are not like a budgie that wraps its feet round a dowel or circular rod. They actually like to squat with their feet tucked under their breast bone on the perch.  So a comfortable perch for them would be something flat and not too deep preferably with the edges rounded.  Try to think of the size of their feet and then you'll get a good idea of the size of the perch.

Next where to put it?    Depends on the number of chooks you have.  But you could make a tiered system with the bottom perch roughly 600mm off the ground, with additional perches layered up at an angle of about 45 degrees. Just like a ladder leaning against a structure about 300mm apart. Just make sure your top rung gives sufficient space below roof level.  Just one other thing, each hen needs about 250mm of space and remember they all sleep close to each other so if you haven't given enough space along your perch, your get a pecking order problem.