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Building Your Own Chicken Coop: The New Trend?

Raising chickens in the backyard has plenty of benefits. These birds are low maintenance and easy to care for, and they help control the bug population. Of course, the main purpose for raising chickens is for their eggs. You can cut costs at the grocery store and maybe even sell or give away your extra eggs to family and friends.

Now the next thing to do is to build a home for your flock. A well-built chicken coop will promote healthy birds and nutritional eggs. You can buy a pre-fabricated hen house, but these structures are so easy to build, why not do-it-yourself?

  1. Start with a simple rectangular frame. Then build the actual coop 4 or 5 feet off the ground. This will protect the birds from predators; plus all chickens sleep off the ground anyway. Another good idea to include is a run. Your chickens will be healthier if they occasionally feed on free range bugs or vegetables. The birds would also need to have their wings clipped; otherwise they could easily fly away.
  2. Once the framing is complete, install the floor. Use 2x4’s as bracing beneath the floor and corner nail ¾-inch plywood over the top of the bracing.
  3. Now you’re ready to put the roof on. An A-frame roof is best. It will keep rain and snow off easier than a flat or tilted roof. You should also consider these other design features as you construct the chicken coop:
  • Add good ventilation
  • Provide adequate perch space
  • Easy access to food and water

If you have any questions about building procedures follow these step-by-step directions, its right from the chicken coop manual, Building a Chicken Coop.

Raising Chickens a New Trend?

We’ll it’s hard to say. Slate.com contends that raising chickens from the backyard is a fake trend. Media critic Jack Shafer believes the many stories posted by major newspapers (Oregonian, Arizona Republic, and Chicago Tribune) on the growth of home chicken farms are full of chicken feathers. “All-feather, no-bone journalism,” Shafter declares.

However, Sunset writer Elizabeth Jardina countered Slate.com with a growing number of communities that are changing local laws to accommodate for backyard chicken farms. Her article cited that the industry’s demand for more chicks is way up and that’s a primary reason to recognize this as a real trend in America. A hatchery in Iowa has been supplying a variety of chickens since 1917. Now it’s selling chicks as fast they can hatch them.

Murray McMurray Hatchery based in Iowa City has surpassed last year’s numbers by a significant amount. Jardina points out that the hatchery has sold 100,000 chicks since February of this year and is sold out through July. By those numbers alone, it’s pretty easy to surmise that interest is way up in raising chickens; but it’s not a new trend, maybe just a forgotten one?

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