Most Popular Chicken Coop Designs

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If you’re considering raising chickens, you may be surprised at the vast array of chicken coop designs there are to choose from. There certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all variety! If you want a basic A-frame coop and chicken run, it’s quick and simple to make. If you want a large, wooden house with multiple laying boxes and a large, fenced yard, that’s popular too. If you have opulent tastes and want a miniature version of your own house scaled down to chicken size, even that is possible.  Here’s a rundown of the more popular chicken coop designs to get you started.

Wood is a Great Place to Start

Wood is by far the most popular building material for chicken coops as it is versatile and holds up well over time. The most popular chicken coops are smallish, angular, and easily constructed with wood. They can be A-frame or square and can accommodate a handful of hens. Some chicken coops are walk-in. Others are not. Some have lifting hatches for easy egg retrieval. Some coops are large and heavy; others are simple to move from one part of your yard or property.  The designs that I provide vary from small and simple to huge and breathtaking and come with a complete supply list and step-by-step instructions for each coop.

If you don’t like the look of the traditional chicken coop, fear not. There are many companies willing to supply you with a quaint chicken cottage or lakeside chicken manor. For some ideas, check out: Whether you want to match your coop with your house or simply add an elegant addition to your backyard garden, a fancy chicken coop may be just what you’re looking for.

Innovation Can Be Incredible

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your coop. A quick web search or Pinterest inquiry will result in some pretty incredible coops. Car parts can be turned into an edgy coop. Solar power or gardens can be implemented into your coop’s rooftop. Coops shaped like homes or even eggs have even been creatively crafted. For some cool inspiration, check out The Poultry Guide’s 10 Most Creative and Innovative Chicken Coop Designs:

How Does One Pick The Perfect Coop?

There are as many chicken coop designs out there as there are individual desires and requirements. When choosing the perfect design for you, here are a few things to consider: How many hens do you wish to accommodate? Where is your chicken coop going to be located and what topographical issues do you need to work with (hill, streams, flood plains, etc). Will your hen house have access to proper lighting, temperature controls, and ventilation and does your coop design offer what you need? How does your coop protect your hens from predators? How many laying/ nesting boxes do you wish to have and where will they be located? As you research chicken coop designs, make a list of features that are important to you.

Make a Budget… And Stick To It

Before purchasing your chicken coop, decide how much you can reasonably spend on your new coop. This will help you narrow down your choices. One can spend as little as $50 on a basic, homemade coop or thousands of dollars on a chicken coop kit. If you’re building your own coop, write down each part you’ll need and do some price comparison shopping.

No matter which type of chicken coop you fancy, take your time, do your research, and spend within your budget. If you rush and get the wrong coop, you’ll waste money and likely be disappointed. The perfect chicken coop is out there waiting for you.

Photo by: Allan Hack

Raising Chickens at Home

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Raising chickens at home is a fun hobby and a great endeavor for family projects. You can choose chickens that are kid friendly, or start a home business selling chicks and eggs.

If you are going to sell baby chicks, try getting a pair or threesome of a rare breed. The chicks are worth a higher price, and they don’t cost any more to raise than your common barnyard chicken.

If you have chickens with nice feathering, you can collect the shed feathers for crafting. Many crafters will buy pretty feathers to use in their handicrafts.

Preparation and Planning

Once you have decided to try raising chickens at home, your first priority is to provide protection from weather and predators. To do this, implement a plan keeping in mind how many chickens you plan to house over the next 6 months. Starting small is usually the best option until you get your feet wet in the chicken raising process. When you are planning your chicken venture think about:

  • Whether you are going to build an enclosure yourself or buy one.
  • How many chickens you would like to house; you need 4 feet of space for each one minimum for standard size chickens, 2 feet each for bantams. Of course the more space you can provide the happier – and healthier they will be.
  • Beware of using treated lumber in your chicken coop or cage – it is laced with arsenic.
  • Many predators (dogs, raccoons, skunks, opossums) can tear through chicken wire and will dig under fencing to get to the chickens for a midnight snack.
  • Chick starter feed and feeder
  • Purchase chickens that are adaptable to your climate.

If you live in a cold climate choose chickens that feather out well and are considered cold hardy. One chicken considered fairly immune to cold weather are the Cochins. They are a medium sized chicken with a lot of heavy, downy feathers all the way to their toes. They are a moderate layer, producing an egg almost every day after they are 6 months old. Cochins are also kid friendly with a mild disposition and are easily handled.


Raising Chickens with Turkeys

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Chickens and turkeys can live harmoniously together if they begin their life together at about the same size. As they grow, the chickens should have plenty of room to get out of the way of the big guys. Perches or roosts up high help the chickens when they need to get out of a full grown turkey’s way.

When choosing breeds of chickens that are to be raised with turkeys, it is important to choose chickens that have a relaxed nature and are on the docile side. An aggressive rooster and an adult male turkey may fight to the death.

If you are raising one turkey and one chicken as pets it’s best to get females. They are not as prone to fighting as they get older, plus you will get eggs to use.

When mixing chickens and turkeys it is especially important to keep them current on worming and other medications. There is a disease that the turkeys can contract from the chicken’s droppings called Blackhead. The chickens get it from a worm, but many times the chickens don’t show any symptoms of the infection. It is 100% deadly in turkeys.

Symptoms of Blackhead are depression, fluffed feathers, yellow diarrhea, and blue (cyanotic) condition of the flesh around the face and head. The end result of this disease is that it destroys the birds liver.

Many poultry owners raise chickens and turkeys together without ever having a problem. But if chickens ever carry Blackhead disease it can stay viable in the dirt for four years after those chickens are gone. Contact your local agriculture extension agent to get your soil tested if there is any suspicion of Blackhead in your area.


Photo by: Katherine

Plan for Success When Raising Chickens for Profit

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When considering raising chickens for profit the planning stage is very important. If you are going to sell eggs you will need chickens that lay earlier and have a long production stage. If you are going for meat production, you will need chicken breeds that get large enough to produce meat by the time they are 12-16 weeks old.There is a way to have a profit margin and not have to produce meat. Produce baby chicks to sell. Increase your profit margin dramatically by investing in some rare or exotic breed chickens. It’s a great alternative if you are squeamish about the production of meat chickens.







When looking for rare breed chickens to begin a project you will decide between:

  • Critically endangered – this means there are fewer than 500 breeding birds left in the U.S.
  • Threatened – fewer than 1000 breeding birds in the U.S.
  • Watched – fewer than 5000 breeding birds
  • Recovering – chickens that have made it out of the above categories but their numbers still need to be monitored

There are hundreds of chicken breeds considered rare, and thousands that keep one or more of those breeds. Doing an internet search for rare breed chickens will net you a wealth of information on the breeds, their pictures, and where you may purchase them.

Chickens come in many colors and patterns. This has not gone un-noticed by veteran crafters. Whether your chickens are sleek feathered or fluffy, there is a crafter out there who will buy shed, clean, feathers for crafting. If you are a crafter, find new ways to use your feathers in your art to produce sellable products.

If you have room to let your chickens free range and live in a natural environment your eggs will bring a higher price per dozen as organic eggs. These eggs come from chickens that are hormone and chemical free.

Consider joining an organization like NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Program). Their certification for your flock ensures your chickens are disease free, and that you are a serious contender in raising chickens for profit.


Photo by:  Simon Cunningham

Raising Chickens for Meat

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Raising chickens for meat is easy to do. Economical and efficient, it takes only 10 weeks to raise a broiler (meat chicken) from chick to the dinner table. Hormone-free, organic chicken is in high demand, better for your family than factory birds, and raising your own chickens for meat puts you as close to your food source as you can get.

Make Sure It’s Legal Where You Live

No matter whether you want to raise chickens for meat for your own personal use or for business purposes, check your local laws and restrictions. It’s illegal to raise farm animals within city limits in some places and it’s forbidden by homeowner’s associations in others. If you’re planning on beginning a chicken business, make sure you acquire any permits before you get started.

Once you’re legal, prepare your property. Build a chicken hutch and a chicken run, buy food and watering supplies, and read up about raising birds for meat. The more you read on the topic, the better luck you’ll have.

Choosing the Right Birds for You

Certain chicken breeds make excellent layers. Some are great broilers. Other breeds are fine for both purposes and are called dual-purpose birds. When looking for a great meat bird, consider that some birds grow to full size and can be eaten much sooner than other birds. Some meat birds can be cooked within 8 weeks. Cornish Rock and Ixworth are two such breeds. The downfall of breeds such as these is that they have been genetically altered to gain weight so quickly that they cannot possibly live long or healthy lives. Past a certain amount of time, they simply cannot support themselves.

Heritage chickens are an excellent option if you’re opposed to modern, hybrid poultry. Heritage birds are classic chicken breeds which are hearty and long-lived but often passed over for rapidly-growing, genetically altered hybrid chickens. Raising heritage chickens for meat may take longer, but you’ll have healthier, longer-lived birds and will also help preserve heritage chicken breeds. Several great-tasting heritage chickens are the Dorking, Buckeye, Rhode Island Red, and the Dominique. Many of these breeds are duel-purpose, meaning that they will also be able to lay eggs before ending up on your dinner table.

Caring For Your Chickens

Clean your chicken’s coop regularly to keep them healthy, feed them a well-balanced died, and vaccinate your flock. Meat chickens eat a great deal of feed and gain weight rapidly. A Cornish cross-breed can be expected to eat 8 lbs of feed for the first 6 weeks. They grow extremely fast and are harvested when they are only 2 months old. As a general idea, a light chicken breed should consume about ¼ lb of feed daily. For a heavier bird, feed them more. In general, a meat chickens are allowed to eat as much as they want because the goal is for the bird to grow rapidly. Water is important too, and chickens drink twice as much as they eat. Keep that waterer full!

The exact amount of food your birds will consume varies. In general, provide your chickens with a constant supply of fresh food. Clean the feeder as needed and keep it free from moldy feed, which can contaminate the rest of the feed. Trial and error will teach you how often—and how much—to feed your flock.

What To Expect

Broilers grow rapidly, especially in their first weeks of life. Commercial chicken breeds will reach 5 lbs in approximately 7 weeks. Slower-growing heritage breeds will take about 11 weeks, or longer, to reach the same weight.

Raising chickens for meat can be a rewarding hobby, one that will put nutritious food on the table or increase your family’s income if you intend to sell your birds. Know your options, choose the breed that best suits your needs, and care for your chickens well. The rest will fall into place.


Photo by: Victoria Imeson

Keeping Chickens in the Garden

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Keeping chickens in the garden has many advantages. You can walk out the back door and collect fresh eggs each morning, they keep the bug population at a minimum without chemicals or pesticides, and they can pay their own way in eggs and baby chicks. Not many pets can contribute to the household in such a manner.

When planning to keep chickens the first thing you will need is a safe place for them to spend the night and an area for outside exposure to fresh air and sunshine that provides protection from predators.

When planning to keep chickens in your garden, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

  • Provide ample space to keep your chickens happy and healthy. Each standard sized chicken needs at least 4 square feet of space. So if you have 2 hens and a rooster you will need to provide a pen that provides 12 feet of space. Bantams only need 2.5 square feet of space each.
  • Beware of wood that has been processed to stand up to outdoor use. If it has been treated to withstand rot and bugs, it contains toxins such as arsenic.
  • Chicken wire can be easily torn through by many predators such as dogs, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and many others. Use a stronger gauge wire mesh to keep your chickens safe.
  • Don’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers near your chicken’s pen. They eat grass, vegetation, and peck small rocks and grit from the ground. Anything they eat can wind up in your morning eggs.
  • If you will have children around your chickens, check the breed’s personality traits closely. Choose chickens that are more docile, and know which ones are violent as adults.


Photo by: Jess

How to Raise Chickens

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Raising chickens is a rewarding pastime. It’s a great way to raise food, both eggs and meat. Chickens are great for aerating your soil, fertilizing your lawn and garden, devouring pesky insect populations, and for teaching children about animal husbandry and compassion for living things. They are also simple to care for and hearty in most climates. Whether you’d like to order your first chicks in the near future or are researching raising chickens for some far-off-in-the-future date, there are a few things you should consider.

First Things First

Before you pick up chicks from your local farmer’s supply store or order them from a supplier, it’s time to do your research. What breeds best suit your needs? Some are easier to care for than others. Some are good layers, some good broilers, some are great for both (aptly named duel-purpose chickens). Certain breeds fare better in cold climates than others. Some breeds are not good choices for beginners at all.

Next, consider the amount of space you have to work with. The Dollar Hen: The Classic Guide to American Free-Range Egg Farming by Milo M. Hastings recommends no more than 50 hens per acre. That is a lot of hens.  Considering the average chicken lays around 260 eggs per year, a flock of 50 chickens would produce around 13,000 eggs per year! Chances are that’s far too many for your needs. Consider how many chickens you can sustain on your property and how many eggs your family will reasonably consume. If you’re buying broilers, consider how many chickens your family will likely eat in the course of a year as well as how many birds can live healthily on your land.

Photo by: nhoulihan
Photo by: nhoulihan

















Make sure that your chicken coop meets all local regulations and, if needed, acquire necessary permits. Check with your local ordinances and your homeowner’s association before building or buying anything. This will save you a lot of headaches! Legal matters settled, it’s time to choose your blueprint, buy your supplies, and start building. Make sure that your chicken coop, run, and all necessary supplies are ready before bringing home your birds.

Buying Your First Chickens

There are several possibilities when it comes to chicken acquisition. One can purchase fertilized eggs and incubate them at home. This is a great science project for kids! Or, one can purchase day old chicks. If you don’t care to raise chickens from chicks, local classified ads often list adult chickens for sale too. Do your research so you know how to care for your chickens no matter which stage of life they may be currently enjoying. Did you know, for example, that young chicks must be kept under a heat lamp with food and water at all times, that the temperature must be kept near 95 degrees for the first week of life, or that baby chicks can drown themselves in their watering bowl? They require a lot of supervision and care.

Caring For Your Birds

Chicken feed comes in a variety of forms, including chicken scratch, pellets, homemade food, and scraps such as vegetables and bread. Chickens are also big fans of bugs.  The amount of feed required is variable, depending on the breed, whether the chickens are growing or laying, the weather, the types of feeders you have, and more. Still, a medium sized bird will eat about ¼ lb of feed daily.

Enjoy Your New Hobby

Keep your chickens fed, protect them from predators, provide them with bedding, and clean their coop. Allow them lots of sunshine, exercise, and fresh air. Raising chickens can be a rewarding hobby enjoyed by people of all ages. Do you research before buying, talk to others who have successfully raised chickens, and be prepared for an interesting and educational journey.

Until later,

Photo by: thedabblist

2 Awesome Chicken Coops Built Using Our Plans…

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Quite often we receive emails from happy customers who have used one of our plans to build a chicken coop (and saved tons of money in the process)…

Today I’m going to show you images, sent in by two of our customers, of two absolutely beautiful chicken coops so you can see what our coops can look like in real life…

Check out these coops that were built using our Gambrel Chicken Barn plan here below…

This coop was built by James using our Gambrel Chicken Barn Design
This coop was built by James using our Gambrel Chicken Barn Design
Here’s the same coop as above but from a different angle.
Here’s the same coop as above but from a different angle.

Here’s an image, sent in by Gretchen Evans, of his coop that was also built using our Gambrel Chicken Barn plan…

Gretchen Evans chicken coop
Here’s what Gretchen said in his email to us: “Just wanted to send you a photo of my chicken coop. I used the Gambel design – just “super-sized” it!


…And here’s the plan they both used to build these beautiful coops:










The Gambrel Chicken Barn is a coop designed to accomodate a medium sized flock of 10-20 chickens. It could come as a kit for as much as $5000.00! Depending on the

materials used, to build this coop costs less than $1000! With such
easy clean-up in the design, why would anyone ever pay six times as much
and still have to put in the work?

Click here right now to sign up as a member and get instant access to the Gambrel Chicken Barn Plan and our complete collection of 19 carefully designed chicken coops!

Every plan comes with:
– Full color plans, ready to print
– 2 measurement metrics (cm/m & feet/inches)
– Step-by-step-instructions
– Complete lists of materials & tools needed

Check out all plans here



Cool Egg Trick: How to Separate the Yolk From the Egg White

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Here’s an awesome trick to simplify the process of separating the yolk from the egg white, brought to you by the funny Greg from Greg’s Kitchen…Enjoy!

Did you know about this little trick? Do you know any other fun or useful egg tricks? Share them by posting a comment below!


You may also be interested in:
The Truth About Egg Yolks

Chickens + Aquaponics = The perfect combo?

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Since you’re reading this newsletter you’re obviously interested in raising chickens…

As you probably already know, there are tons of advantages to raising your own chickens…

They are a super-easy animal to maintain and 5-10 laying hens can provide eggs for the entire family.

beautiful healthy eggs
beautiful healthy eggs









They can be raised on a budget by building your own coop and developing strategies to minimize feed costs.

Not only that, they will help fertilize your garden and can be raised in a fairly limited amount of space.

But what if you would like to take another step towards self-sufficiency and produce your own vegetables and even farm your own fish…?

Enter Aquaponics…

Aquaponics is the method of growing crops and fish together in a re-circulating system.

small indoor aquaponics system








An aquaponics installation requires no soil, scant water (2 to 10 percent of what is used in the average vegetable garden), very little space, a modest financial investment and minimal maintenance…

Also, there’s no dealing with pesticides, the system is sustainable and easy to set up and it can produce a huge amount of vegetables and fish in a small amount of space.

Yes, it can almost seem to good to be true but the advantages are indeed real…I highly suggest you take some time to learn more about it.

Here’s a great Aquaponics guide to check out.

Chickens + an Aquaponics system certainly is a great combo if you’re interested in producing healthy, organic food using minimum amount of space.

Eggs, vegetables and fish…there’s not that much else you’ll really need for food, right?See where we’re going here? Self-sufficiency really isn’t as unachievable as it may seem – IF you’re using the right food production methods…

If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and family!


Photo by: waleedalzuhair