Keeping small poultry flocks has its advantages (such as less space required) but also its challenges (such as providing sufficient heat during cold weather).
Housing has several functions which should be taken into account when picking a design:
- Provide shelter from the weather
- Provide adequate ventilation
- Provide protection from predators
In addition, the housing should be easy to build out of readily available materials, have low maintenance cost; and be able to support the changing needs as your flock changes.
A variety of different designs have been used over the years, each with their own pros and cons.
Overview: How to build a chicken coop with 'Do It Yourself" chicken coop plans (Gardenaholic.com)
SMALL PRODUCTION FLOCKS
As with backyard poultry housing, there is a variety of different styles of small flock housing. Much of the design depends on the size of the flock and the materials available. An easy, and relatively inexpensive portable housing system is the hoop pen built with cattle panels.
A series of videos show the step-by-step construction of a hoop house.
- Part 1: Introduction and materials required
- Part 2: Assembling the base with cattle panels
- Part 3: Adding the door frame
- Part 4: Adding the back and corner braces
- Part 5A: Adding the welded wire
- Part 5B: Adding the welded wire
- Part 6: Adding the tarp
- Part 7: Adding the tow rope
- Part 8: Good management practices
- Factsheet on building a hoop-pen, University of Kentucky
Small-scale poultry housing (Virgina Tech)
Poultry plans (North Dakota State University) - A collection of construction plans for poultry buildings of different sizes and function as well as plans for miscellaneous poultry equipment (nest boxes, feeder, etc.)
Construction plans from the University of Tennessee