Put the coop in a high spot. You want to make sure the coop and the yard will not accumulate puddles of water during a rain storm.
Determine how big the coop needs to be. Laying hens and birds raised for meat need 1 1/2 to 2 square feet per bird on the inside of the coop. The chickens will need 8 to 10 square feet per bird in the yard area.
Sketch out your design on paper. Be sure to include a door large enough for you to enter the coop to collect eggs and clean. Consider putting windows on the south facing side for ventilation in the summer and to allow the sun to warm the coop in winter.
Look around your property to see what you already have available to build the chicken coop with. Scrap lumber, plywood or even an old shed can be used.
Map out the inside of the coop. You need a nest box for every 4 to 5 laying hens in your flock. You also need 6 to 10 inches of perch space for each chicken.
Purchase any additional building materials based on your plans. Buy chicken wire or other fencing to enclose the yard. Pick up feeders, waterers and straw.
Construct the chicken coop so the front and the yard area face towards the south. Slope the roof so that rain does not run off directly over the door.
Cover any windows securely with chicken wire to keep predators out. You can install sliding glass windows if you want to be able to completely close off the openings but still let light in.
Place a latch on the door so you can secure the coop when necessary.
Install the nest boxes and the perches along the walls of the coop. Perches need to be 3 to 4 feet off the ground. Fill the boxes with straw.
Fence the entire yard with chicken wire or other fencing. It should be 4 feet high. Bury the fencing 12 inches deep and angling out away from the yard. This keeps predators from digging into the yard.
Cover the yard area with netting to keep hawks and owls from preying on the hens. You can also plant millet or other tall grasses in the yard to give the chickens some...