by Lucy Stone, Networx
Building a backyard chicken coop is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Not only will it allow you to produce fresh, self-sustaining organic eggs everyday, but the chickens will eat your food scraps as well. It’s a great way to incorporate permaculture design into your landscape.
First, start the process by making sure your town allows chickens. If you live in a rural area or county, raising chickens in your backyard probably won’t be a problem. Even cities like New York City, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, and Seattle allow laying hens, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Making a Nest
The next step is designating space for the chickens and building a chicken coop. The general rule of thumb is allotting about 2-3 square feet per chicken inside the henhouse and 4-5 sq/ft per chicken in an outside run.
Once the area is marked off, it’s time to build the actual chicken coop. These structures come in all shapes and sizes with an abundance of building plans available online, as well as many pre-fabricated options.
However, you can also get started with a simple doghouse by raising it up on cinder blocks, adding a roost about a foot off the floor and layer the bottom with straw or pine shavings for nests. You’ll also want a way to access the eggs, so consider hinging part of the roof, or building a window.