A good chicken shelter is one that properly house’s your chickens, giving them a home safe from predators, rain, wind, sleet, snow, excessive cold and heat, with features chickens prefer.
Unlike a shed or doghouse there are certain ‘must-have’ elements that will make or break a hen-house. Like well-designed perches (roosting areas), nesting boxes, and water and feed systems plus adequate space for each bird.
You need to know about those elements are before you begin building the coop.
Different re-cycled materials can form a backyard chicken shelter, which is a great way to use up stuff that would have been thrown out as garbage otherwise. Often the disassembling of one backyard structure (an old garden shed) gives you the material to build another backyard structure (a chicken coop—check local building codes before you used recycled material). Or you can opt for brand new material from the local lumber yard. Doing this will—of course—increase costs.
Regardless of which option you choose there are some basic design issues you need to keep in mind when building your chicken shelter.
Chickens are hardy creatures that have survived in close proximity with humans for thousands of years. They can stand up to cold weather quite well with your help. Their perches need to be off the cold ground and fresh dry bedding material (wood chips, straw, etc.) needs to be provided as needed.
A well-sealed coop–making it windproof–is you best defense against icy winter winds. In very extreme climates you may want to consider an additional wind break protecting the coop from winter winds-as well. Because adequate ventilation of the coop is so important, closable vents which can be controlled, to allow airflow through the coop when you need it is a terrific idea.
Just about all the experts agree that at least two windows oriented to take advantage of natural light and the heat provided by the sun is also something you want to keep in mind. If you plan to forego the windows, plan on some form of artificial lighting. Your flock will do well with the proper amount of natural light.
Chickens need easy access to food and drink and during the winter months it’s important make sure their water doesn’t freeze up. Care must be taken to make sure this doesn’t happen. Even on the coldest days the chickens will be outside happily clucking, pecking and scratching away at the snow.
If you live in subtropical or tropical climate some of these issues are less important.
In conclusion it is important to know the requirements your flock needs in the geographical location you are situated in before you begin building your chicken shelter and the best way to ensure that, Is by having a set of good quality plans.