Friday, February 17, 2012

DIY Friday

Basics of Building an Urban Chicken Coop


*Chicken Wire
*Water Dishes
*Nesting Boxes
*Chicken Feed

Step One: Building the Hen House

The hen house should be a dry and safe place for the hens to rest and lay eggs. Our hen house measures 2.5ft. by 2.5ft. by 3ft. The roof is done at a slant to keep rain and snow from building up. One side of the house has hinges and the other has a handle. This enables you to open the top and collect eggs. It is also important to note that if the wood you are using is not treated, staining is required.

Step Two: Roaming Area

It is important your hens have an outside space to roam and scratch in the dirt. Chickens like to take dirt baths and peck around in the mud. We caged off a section which measures about 6ft. long, 2ft. wide, and 2ft. tall. We started by first digging two holes at the front of the caged section. Inside the holes we poured concrete around two posts and let it set over night. Concrete can be bought in smaller bags from your local hardware store. After posts are set, attach four 2 by 4s to the posts which were set in concrete. Attach two of the the 2 by 4s at the top of the posts, to the top of the hen house and two to the bottom of the concrete posts and the bottom of the hen house. You have now formed and rectangle shaped box. Stain all of the wood. The box will then be wrapped completely in chicken wire. Bend and shape the wire around the rectangle. Even putting wire on the ground and wrapping it upwards toward the bottom posts. Chicken wire can be attached using nails shaped like staples. It is important to make the structure tight with no gaps, in order to keep predators out. Cover bottom of fenced off area with dirt.

Step Three: Making Your Chickens Happy

There are a few things chickens need to be happy. The first thing would be nesting boxes. In order for your hens to lay eggs they need comfortable nesting boxes. Your hens should be snug in their boxes, surrounded by hay. The next thing hens need is water. Keeping lots of water is important, because chickens are like humans and they are constantly forgetting to drink enough H20. As far as food goes, you can buy chicken feed at the feed store or feed them table scraps like fruit and vegetables. They also love bread scraps. And finally, perching is the last thing chickens love. Having perches or poles in the hen house for your ladies to sit on makes them extra happy! Good luck and feel free to ask questions.

Special Thanks to Ben for all of his help!

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