How To Build A Chicken Coop

How to build a chicken coop for limited space in the backyard, including diagrams, instructions, and photographs.

| November/December 1975

Many town and city dwellers are becoming interested in homesite farming these days . . . and, where local ordinances permit, such an operation might well include a small flock of poultry. If you've always wanted to keep a few chickens, but held off because you thought that the project required more room than you can spare from your limited plot . . . well, it doesn't have to!

How To Build A Chicken Coop

When necessary, although they won't be as happy as they would in a large run, chickens can be kept in a very restricted area and still enjoy good health and a reasonable degree of comfort. That's the goal I had in mind when I planned the cage you see in the accompanying illustrations how to build a chicken coop. The coop measures 7-1/2 by 3 feet and provides brooding, growing, and laying facilities for 10 to 12 birds . . . enough to produce half a dozen eggs a day, which is more than sufficient for the average family. If you live in a mild climate where temperature, seldom drop to freezing, this system may be just right for you.

On the other hand — though I believe the cage is well suited to Figure 1 backyard poultry — keeping in the more temperate areas in the U.S. — it wasn't invented for that purpose. I designed it the island of Mauritius (where I served as a micro-farming specialist with the Peace Corps) for use by the Rural Reconstruction Project, a division of the Mauritian Economic Planning Unit.

Mauritius lies off the African coast to the east of Madagascar, and its climate forced me to a compromise between my own inclinations and the realities of life in that latitude. Personally, I prefer to keep chickens in roomy grow ground enclosures . . . but because of the severity of coccidiosis in many tropical countries, such confinement often proves less humane than the clean environment of a cage.

On the other hand, I hate battery cages. To allow a bird only enough room to stand and sit — without even space to turn around — is incredibly cruel. The EPU colony cage is, I think, by far preferable . . . and even offers a few advantages over the admittedly more natural surroundings of the conventional chicken run:

[1] Ease and economy of construction.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard