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A completed chicken coop
Having freshly laid eggs every morning is easy with your very own chicken coop. There's a few things you'll need to consider if you plan to build one from scratch or buy one ready-made.

Local council permission

Always check with your local council before building or buying a chicken coop as there may be rules in your area for keeping chickens and whether roosters are allowed.

Chicken breed

When buying chickens, keep in mind different breeds require different amounts of space, so it's important to ask the breeder about this when buying them.

If you plan to let your chickens run around the yard most of the day, you'll only need a small coop for them to sleep in. However, if they're going to be confined a lot, you need to make sure they have enough room to be comfortable.

Generally, a structure measuring 1.5m x 2m is fine for up to 6 chickens.

Remember though, all chickens should be let out for a little while each day so they can exercise and flap their wings.

Building or buying your chicken coop

You can buy a chicken coop ready made or build a chicken coop from scratch.

Typically, the structure is made from particle board, plywood or timber; while the roof is made from PVC, sheet metal or tiles. But you can also use recycled materials such as chicken wire, corrugated iron and old pallets. You can even convert an unused cubby house that the kids have grown out of.

If you choose to build your own chicken coop, make sure you design it so you have easy access to all areas to clean and include lots of flaps and doors that you can open but secure if needed.

Lastly, ensure your coop has nests for the chickens to lay eggs. Each nest box must be a minimum of 30cm x 30cm, and you'll need one for every 23 chickens.

Large homemade chicken coop.

Protecting your chickens

You don't need a huge backyard to keep chickens. Ideally the coop should be on grass or dirt as your chooks will love to peck the ground and search for insects.

Ensure it's placed in a shaded, level part of the yard that's dry. It's also important to secure your chicken coop so your chickens are safe from dogs, foxes and rats.

You can do this by moving the coop onto a paved area at night time so predators can't dig under and into it.

Keeping your chickens happy

Happy chickens lay the tastiest eggs. Bedding, food and water are the three key ingredients required to keeping a happy chook.

The great thing about chickens is they'll eat most of your kitchen scraps, excluding meat of course. Course river sand is a great way to aid their digestion, so scatter it on the bottom of your coop, preferably on pavers.

You'll also need to install a waterer that holds ample water and is held off the ground so it doesn't get full of dirt and food. Make sure you change the water every day.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.