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Cheating on a Chicken Coop: 8 Cheap Ideas to House Your Backyard Hens and Save Some Money

R.J. Ruppenthal, "Cheating on a Chicken Coop: 8 Cheap Ideas to House Your Backyard Hens and Save Some Money"
2014 | ISBN: 1495991407 | 54 pages | EPUB, MOBI | 5 MB

[Note: This is a short idea book, not a set of building plans. Wherever possible, I have included links to simple building instructions for these ideas online, but you'll need to be somewhat creative with the materials available to you. If you're ready to save some money on a coop and start thinking outside the box (‘outside the coop'), then please read on!] You're thinking of getting some chickens to lay eggs in your backyard. And then you look at the price of chicken coops. Holy manure! $900 for a fancy box? What are they thinking? You decide that maybe you can make your own chicken coop on the cheap. So you download some free building plans. Browsing through the coop plans, your eyes fix on the simplest hen house design. Okay, you're thinking, that might be doablein about five weekends. Then you read on and realize you don't own a table saw and you've never even heard of an auger bit. So you put your coop-building project on the back burner for awhile. This is a real shame, because you'd love to have chickens. It shouldn't have to be this way. Somewhere between the overpriced, readymade coops and the major DIY construction projects is a middle ground. My main chicken raising manual, Backyard Chickens for Beginners, covers the basics of coop design as well as keeping backyard hens for egg laying. But since writing it, I have remained frustrated by the high prices of quality coops, while also inspired by the creativity of many chicken keepers who craft their own innovative solutions. I wrote this short book to introduce you to some functional alternatives: coops and non-coops made of affordable materials that are fairly simple to create (even for a non-builder like me). The coops in this book will never look like a $1500 gingerbread house, but they are as clean and functional as any other design. Making use of available structures and affordable materials, they keep costs and prep times to a minimum. Most importantly, your back yard chickens will have everything they need and will be thrilled with what you give them. As you know, happy chickens lay lots of eggs! Before we continue, I have two big caveats to share. First, if you live in a climate where winters are cold enough to make frozen chickens, you will need to go with one of the sturdier, more material-heavy coops in this book. Two of the options in here will not offer the kind of insulation your birds will need in the wintertime, though they can be great warm-season chicken coops. But most of these other choices should work quite well in cold climates if you remember that you may need to add additional insulation and possibly supplementary heat from a light bulb or warming pad. Second caveat: this is an idea book and not a building manual. Because the coops in this book depend largely on locally-available structures or materials, there is no universal blueprint or building plan for each one. Dimensions and materials will vary, depending on what materials you have and what you can find. Fortunately, for many of these coop designs, you will find links in this book to step-by-step online instructions, building plans, "how to" videos, and photographic slideshows depicting coop constructions and conversions. The others have pictures, descriptions, and hopefully will inspire you to go out and customize your own simple version of what you see. If you know how to cut wood with a handsaw and screw in a screw, I think you'll be just fine. These designs are about as stripped-down as any designs can get. Just say ‘no' to overpriced coops. There are better alternatives, and I think you'll find a few of them in this book. If you can't afford an expensive chicken coop and aren't handy enough (or don't have time) to build a typical hen house from scratch, then welcome to the club. I hope this short book will give you some fun ideas that are practical enough to use, while also helping you think 'outside the coop'!

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Tags: Cheating, Chicken, Backyard

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