Make a plastic chicken house for under £100.
Background: We have been keeping chickens for three years. In this time we have discovered that plastic accommodation is the easiest to keep clean, and mite free. Mites are a big deal when you have chickens, and wood is mite heaven. Aside from the regular daily poo pick, and weekly clean, plastic houses can be hosed down and cleaned really well once a month or so. We clean and then mite powder ours regularly. We have also found that it is advantageous to have all components free standing, that way you can take the whole thing apart and clean it really well. We do have wooden perches, but we regularly hose these, and then go over them with a blow torch to kill any nasties. Cheap wooden homemade perches can be replaced every two years, which I think it better for hygiene. You can search designs on line, but make sure the perches are rounded off and also are thick enough. I would work on a rough estimate of 30 mm radius for a perch. This is important and is a matter of welfare for the birds.
It is also very helpful to have a house you can move around. I would advise at least a 2 fold system, so you can rest an area for 6 months, and then move the house and run onto it.
The design below does not have a bottom, this is because we use an electric fence to prevent foxes, we collect the poo in trays which we empty daily, and then move the house every few months. We have lots of space, but I would still recommend this system for a garden set up. The initial fence kit is expensive, but it will last for years and has a good second hand value. We have never lost a chicken to a fox, from within the fence.
If you do not have an electric fence, you could add a bottom to this house, using another plastics sheet, 10mm correx is pretty strong, but as I say I have never fox-tested this design.
This chicken house is made out of 10mm correx (corregated plastic sheets). Correx is usually sold in sheets of 1.5 m x 3m and is about £40 a sheet. You will need roughly two sheets this size to create 6 pieces.
To make this chicken house you will need
- 4 rectangular pieces, lets call them A x B.
A is the length of the house, and B is the height
- 2 Square pieces B x C. B is still the height, and C is the width.
You can play around with the sizes depending on how many birds you have. Our measurements are about A = 180cm, B= 100cm C= 100cm.
You shouldn’t reduce B too much, as the birds need head room and room for the air to circulate, but you can make it shorter (reduce A) if you just wanted something for 3 birds, or 4 bantams.
You will also need
- Some cable ties (20)
- Some scrap timber for making perches (depending on your design)
- 2 large plastic seed trays ( to catch poo under the perches)
How to make
1) On your two end panels (square) mark apex roof. Cut with a Jig Saw.
2) Measure the new side height B.
3) Cut your long panels down so that they equal the new height (B).
4) Now cut two slots 10mm thick in your two end panels like below. Cut up half of B
5)Do the same with your two side panels.
6)Now slot the two together like this.
7) Disassemble into flat pieces again and mark and cut the following
8) Cut a little doorway into the end panel, and drill some ventilation holes.
9) Cut a large side flap to allow for egg collection and poo tray emptying.
10) Cut your two roof panels to fit the roof, with a large over hang
11) Using a cordless drill, drill holes to fix these two together with cable ties. Keep the cable ties loose to allow them to hinge
12) Find a couple of places to attach the roof flaps, only on one side. It is important to allow one half of the roof to remain flapable, this allows easy access to collect eggs, check birds, and clean.
13) Attach the back flap, using drill holes and cable ties, keep the cable ties loose to allow them to hinge. Ours flaps upwards and can be propped open to allow for poo tray emptying.
14) Build perches. Any google search will throw up many plans, but ours is a square design with a slot for trays. e.g
Place the poo trays under the perches to enable quick and easy emptying. In terms of a nest box, the space beside my perches seems to be agreeable to my birds, but you may wish to cut some plastic and make a mini frame using the slot methods, which will provide some privacy for laying.
As you can see in the first picture, we use a guy line to stop it blowing away as it is very light. being light has advantages though, as you can pick the whole thing up to rake straw, or clean.
Happy doozering…hope you enjoying making this as much as I did.