Chicken House Construction Plan- Easy To Follow

Find out how you should build a chicken house for the type and number of chickens you want. Include nests, roosts and a run in your planning.

Why 25 chickens? Usually 25 chickens is the average number that people order. Most of the time, day old chicks are ordered, but you can order pullets. You can order them sexed or straight run. When you order straight run, they do not sex them and you will get 50% hens and 50% roosters. If you order from a feed store usually they can tell you which ones make good layers and which ones make good meat chickens. Some breeds are good for both.

Chickens will not take up much of your time. Five to ten minutes a day is average. Thirty minutes a week is average for cleaning the pens.

A pullet is a young female chicken. Pullets cost a little more than day old chicks, but you don't have to worry about keeping them warm enough. Chicks need to stay warm. For one day old chicks you need a brooder. The temperature needs to be around 95 degrees F. for the first week. Then you lower it by five degrees every week until the temperature reaches 70 degrees F. A brooder should be two feet high, two feet wide and three feet long.

If you want both egg production and also a good meat chicken, then the Rhode Island Reds are a good choice. The Plymoth Rocks and the White Rocks are good also. Bantams, such as Silkies, are good for eggs only. The egg is small, but good. Brown and white eggs have no difference in nutritional value. If you want a fertile egg then you must have a rooster. One rooster for 15-20 pullets is a good rule of thumb. If not, then you can get eggs without a rooster, they just won't be fertile eggs.

One bird supplies four to six eggs per week. You won't want to butcher a hen till after the first year. The hens will not lay much after the first year. You can butcher a young cockeral at nine weeks for a broiler. Roosters are older males grown for meat.

THE CHICKEN HOUSE

1. The chicken house should be large enough for roosts, nesting boxes, water and feed. Usually 3 square feet for each bird is good. If you build it smaller, there is a higher chance of disease and cannibalism. The floor should be covered with straw or wood shavings.

2. The roosts should be 2 inch diameter poles laid horizontally 2 feet to 3 feet off the ground. It is good to have about 1 foot of space per bird for sleeping on the roost.

3. Nesting boxes should be one foot square and placed 1-2 feet off the floor. Placing them on an inside wall is good. For 25 birds you will need 8-10 nests. Line the boxes with hay or wood shavings.

4. A good poultry house protects the chickens from the weather, predators and injury. Some areas have problems with theft, so you will have to take that into consideration when building.



5. The house should be free of drafts, but with adequate ventilation when needed. Build it in a well drained area.

6. The larger the chicken run, the better it will be. If you have a problem with predators, or theft, then the run should be covered with wire.

7. Provide shade in the run.

8. The house should have a window.

9. Open the door and window inward.

10. Place the house on concrete blocks if possible, to hinder snakes and rodents.

11. Bury the wire along the run border one foot deep and toe it out about 6 inches.

12. If there is still a problem with predators, lock the chickens up in the house at night.

13. Provide some sort of vegetation such as millet or some kind of tall leafy vegetation, to provide cover for the chickens.

14. Make the appearance of the poultry house nice. If you live in town, this is especially important. Keep the exterior painted and well maintained.

15. Build the roof high enough for your purposes. Make the nests, feeders, roosts etc. within easy access. Make the house easy to clean.

16. Install one light over the feeding and watering areas.

17. Once a year you will need to disinfect the house, so use building materials that will make that easier.

18. Slope the floor toward the door, so when you do disinfect the house, it will be easier to spray and dry out.

19. A cupola is good ventilation for the top of a chicken house.

20. If you live in a cold climate, be sure and insulate the house.

21. Keep the chicken house dry.

22. It is a good idea to put wire above the nests from the front of the nests angled up and back to the wall behind the nests. This prevents roosting on the nests.

23. Have a perch in front of the nests.

24. Have the front board of each nest removable for easy cleaning of the nests.

25. You can build the nests where you can have access to them for egg removal from outside the house.

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