This video from Brad and Christa of the Big Family Homestead is a great one for the new homesteader looking to get some backyard chickens. It’s full of tips on how they plan to build their own extra large chicken coop from existing buildings, but I discuss some of the important considerations if this isn’t an option.
I’ve raised plenty of chickens in the past and built some pretty bad ass coops for chickens. In this video, they talk about their plans to build a chicken coop from scratch.
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Chicken Coop Security From Predators
Predation of your chickens and other poultry is a real issue, whether you live in the country or in an urban setting. Building your chicken coop with security in mind is vital if you are not to risk losing your birds to foxes and other predators.
They start by discussing your surroundings, and what predators may be out there. While we lived in Australia, we had a lot of chickens, but also ducks, and although foxes aren’t native to Australia, there were a TON of them (having been introduced back in the 1800s). Goshawks, commonly known as chicken hawks were also a problem but much harder to guard against than foxes.
Making a chicken house predator proof can be a problem if you don’t know the predator profile. Free range chickens are a great thing, but they really are prone to be devoured by predators. There are many predators that are generally nocturnal, but will come out during the day is there is a meal to be had. Dusk is a very dangerous time.
I have used chicken tractors to great effect, but as they mention in the video, they aren’t that secure. The whole principle of a chicken tractor is to be able to move it around and give the chickens access to fresh pasture each day. This makes it hard to add a mesh bottom to it, and most wild dogs will dig under a chicken tractor in minutes.
Another good point raised is that free-range birds have a tendency to lay eggs all over the place, finding the eggs can be tricky. Chickens often have places they routinely lay, but the advantages of a fixed chicken coop are that you can always find your eggs.
Building a very secure coop area with a large run is generally the best plan if predation is an issue. I’ve always favored secure housing that is either off the ground with a solid floor to prevent animals digging underneath to gain entry. For the chicken run, ensuring that the chicken wire on the side is buried underground and ideally, runs out horizontally for a foot or two, to prevent animals digging underneath is essential.
Protection at night in a secure and sturdy coop will offer peace of mind, as long as it truly is secure. Many homesteaders overlook some issues relating to predator security for chickens. As an example. My outdoor run was ultra secure at the base, but we also installed a single electric wire along the TOP of the run. Yes, foxes and wild dogs can and will climb. Something as simple as running an electrical wire or tape along the top fixes the problem.
If hawks are an issue, then a net roof may be your only solution.
The coop that these folks are planning, inside a barn is a great idea. The floor is concrete, and there is no chance for animals to dig in from the outside. So something as simple as a stud-framed wall and ceiling, with chicken wire would work great.
I spotted a window opening on the video. I think it would be cool to use a chicken ladder to allow the chickens to gain access to the protected area during the day or in the evening. I’m led to believe that foxes and wild dogs can’t climb ladders! Let me know if I’m wrong.
Plans To Build The Perfect Large Chicken Coop
It’s always great to see new and excited homesteaders making plans for their future. If one has suitable outbuildings, then use them to protect your livestock.
The urban homesteader or someone without buildings to use is better off building a secure chicken coop. If the birds are going to live in it all day long, then some form of flooring that will not damage their feet is desirable. Chickens like to live in groups, they are sociable birds. I always recommend having at least 2, but 3-4 is better. If you live somewhere where neighbors aren’t an issue, then a rooster is a good idea, noisy, but they protect the hens with their lives, it’s actually rather sweet…and brave.
I found some nice designs for some backyard chicken coops, including some large chicken coop plans, simple to build, and step by step with material plans. I believe that for a limited time, they are giving away 12000 free shed plans too.
LARGE CHICKEN COOP PLANNING [VIDEO}
Thanks for taking the time to watch the video and absorb a few tips and ideas. Please leave a comment about how you have overcome predators in your area.