If you want to keep chickens in your backyard, you’re probably going to need a chicken coop where they can live. There are many types available on the market, but they all tend to be a little more expensive than homemade models. You can save a great deal of money by making one yourself. Building your own chicken coop using a garbage can is a great way of reaping the satisfaction of gathering your own fresh eggs on a daily basis.
Step 1 - Making the Shelter
You will need an old but solid garbage can. It should have minimal rust and no holes. Clean it out thoroughly and allow it to dry completely. Draw an opening on the side, going up from the bottom of the can. It should be big enough for the chickens to easily access the space.
Use a metal saw to cut out the opening and discard the metal you’ve cut away. Wear protective gloves and safety glasses for this operation. Stand the can where you’ll want the chicken coop to be. To keep it in place, drive metal stakes into the ground through the bottom of the can. You’ll have access to the coop through the garbage can lid although you should keep it weighted down with bricks to stop predatory animals from getting in and harming the chickens.
Step 2 - Making the Run
Every chicken coop needs a run where the chickens can exercise and be fed. The run doesn’t need to be excessively large but it should extend about 4 to 5 feet from the chicken coop itself.
To create the coop, you can use a number of fence posts. With a wood saw, cut them to about 30 inches long. Placing them 4 inches apart, hammer the fence posts into the ground about 6 inches into the earth. This should be enough to keep the posts secure. Extend the posts from the coop to form either a rectangle or semicircle.
Now, take your chicken wire and roll it inside the run. Press it down into the ground as far as you can to try and stop burrowing animals. Using a hammer and staples, attach to the chicken wire to all of the posts using several staples on each of them with the lowest one being as close to the ground as possible.
Step 3 - The Top of the Run
Never leave your run open at the top as this is an invitation for other animals to make off with your hens. You can easily create a frame to fit over the top and staple chicken wire to it. However, it’s easier, and just as effective, to use chicken wire cut to fit,with the edges folded over and through the chicken wire on the sides for a tight, secure fit. Whenever you leave the coop, make sure the wire on top is secure.
Step 4 - Filling Your Coop
You will need straw in your coop for the comfort of the hens and this should be changed regularly. Clean out the chicken coop often. Be aware of space. In a coop of this size, you probably shouldn’t keep more than two hens. Don’t crowd your chickens. Keep fresh water available in the run. and feed your chickens regularly.