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How to build a chicken coop

When building a new chicken coop one of the first things to take into consideration is the safety of your poultry. Coops and runs must be both predator and weather proof.

For these reasons it is advised to build either on a concrete base, which stops potential enemies burrowing through from underneath, or as a run with elevated housing which should deter and prevent entry.

A minimum guide to the size of your coop should be at least 2-3 feet per bird for the inside housing and 4-5 feet per bird for the outside run.

Your coop will need to incorporate these elements, no matter what your design.

Use wooden posts and chicken wire to build the outdoor run to your required size, and make a small wooden strutted ramp to gain entry to and from the house. Use wood to build the raised house, and try to include a meshed window to provide light. Make sure that the housing is watertight and draft-proof and includes nesting boxes filled with straw so that not only can the poultry keep warm and dry, but eggs can be laid safely and also kept warm. A waterproof roof covering is also essential. Ensure that any sharp edges are either covered or made safe.

Another thing to consider is how easy it will be to clean your coop. A slide-out tray for droppings can be built into the base of the house, and remember to add doors (with animal-proof catches) for your own access, to both the run and the housing. A hinged roof can sometimes be useful for this purpose.

Don't forget to leave sufficient room for food and water containers, and try to supply some soil for the birds to scratch around in, as this is something that they particularly enjoy.

Now all you have to do is fill your coop with inhabitants - have fun!

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