A hen house, also know as a chicken coop is built specifically to provide shelter for chickens. If you are planning to keep chickens or already own some, ensure that your hen house is secure enough to protect your chickens from predators and provides a comfortable environment for the chickens to lay eggs and rest. Building an effective chicken coop is not a very difficult task once you take the basic requirements into consideration.
1) Prepare the Floor
Use cement tiles to create a concrete floor for the hen house. The concrete floor will prevent predators such as rats and snakes from gaining access to the hen house from the ground. The size of your hen house will depend upon the number of chickens that you have. A standard hen house should provide a minimum of four square feet of space for each bird. It should also be high enough to enable you to enter in.
2) Ready the Frame
Construct the frame of the chicken coop by evenly spacing four 2-by-4 inch timber posts horizontally in a rectangular shape, around the perimeter of the concrete floor. Attach the frames to each other with 3-inch screws, to form a rectangular frame.
Build the wall frames by attaching four 2-by-4 inch timber posts vertically over each corner and in the middle of three of the sides. The height of the wall frame should be high enough to enable you to easily enter the coop.
3) Raise the Walls
Create the walls of the coop by wrapping the frames with hardware cloth. Use a staple gun to attach the hardware cloth to the frames. The hardware cloth will also provide a source of ventilation for the hen house. Leave one side of the frame open to connect a door to enable you to enter the hen house. Ensure that you place the hardware cloth 12 inches into the ground, to prevent predators from digging their way in.
4) Attach the Door
Create the door by screwing and attaching a plywood sheet to the frame. Connect the frame and the door together by fixing two hinges, one at the top and the other at the bottom. Secure the door with a barrel bolt.
5) Fix the Roofing
Build the roof by placing a plywood sheet on top of the wall frames. Use 3-inch screws to attach the plywood roof to the of the wall frames. Cover the plywood roof with roofing tiles or shingles to prevent water from entering the hen house when it rains.
6) Provide Perches and Nest Boxes
Create perches for the chickens to rest and sleep on inside the hen house. Connect 2-inch wide rounded wooden bars to the four wood frames. Allot 12 inches of perch space for each bird. Prepare ladder-like grading for the perches, such that the perch that is further away is several inches higher than the nearest perch. Place the perches four feet above the ground, as chickens roost at a higher level from the ground.
Create nest boxes for the chickens to lay eggs. Use plywood sheets to create 12-by-12 inch nest boxes. Position the nest boxes at least 24 inches above ground level, to prevent undesirable behavior such as egg pecking. Position the nesting boxes in a warm and a dark corner of the hen house, as chickens prefer a warm and secure place to lay their eggs.
Insulate your hen house if the area in which you live is very cold. Chickens are prone to respiratory diseases and cannot withstand extreme cold weather conditions.