Let’s say you have decided to build a chicken shed or hen run yourself instead of buying a ready-assembled coop. This is a good idea, as a quick trip to the hardware store or a look online will show. Prefabricated chicken pens are expensive. And you will not be able to customize one of these to fit your particular needs or ideas. You might be tempted to save yet more cash by getting hold of some free chicken coop plans as well. Yet the best chicken coop plans are not free, for good reason.
When choosing your chicken coop plans make sure they are good quality, preferably to blueprint standard,with exact dimensions for all components and all the necessary detail drawings for those obscure assembly areas. Unless you are an experienced woodworker you will also appreciate having a complete list of materials provided for you, because it is quite tricky working this out for yourself. It is very annoying to find you are short a particular piece of timber or a vital fastener while trying to join two walls together. Very few free plans will provide all this, because it needs expensive expertise to draw them up properly.
Then there is the matter of the many chicken coop designs to consider. Do you already have yours all worked out, or would you like to have a whole range of designs to choose from? The best chicken coop plans should include perhaps 50 or more different designs, and almost cetainly some will be new to you. For instance, will your hen house be large enough? Free from cold and damp? Easy to maintain and clean out? Well secured from predators? Good plans for chicken coops should cover all these considerations, and many more.
The best hen houses will have good protection from the weather, be warm enough in winter and cool enough in summer, be sturdy, have all the necessary ramps and perches, have provision for egg collection, water dispensers and food trays – the list is quite extensive. Information and guidance on these and other important aspects of chicken shed design are usually conspicuous by their absence in free plans. Good plans will also include lots of woodworking tips and techniques to make preparation and assembly of your coop easier.
The main point about making the best chicken coop for your treasured hens is that you will want to do a professional job and provide all the important features for keeping healthy, happy birds. Doing a half-hearted effort will be a waste of time, money and possibly chickens as well.
Considering that you will be saving many hundreds of dollars by making your own chicken coop, why try to cut back on the $40 or so that a good set of chicken coop plans will cost?
Remember, free plans are not necessarily best. In fact, they will almost guarantee inferior results compared with good plans produced by real chicken experts. You don’t want your hens to suffer – invest in a set of good plans for their sakes.
Kieran Gracie –
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