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A chicken coop is more than a shelter: it's a flock's home and can significantly impact on the health and happiness of chickens. Since chickens are more likely to lay more regularly when they're healthy and happy, it's in both their and your best interest to give them a great coop. Fortunately, chicken coops are easy to make for people with basic woodworking skills, and there are creative ideas for those who don't know their way around a hammer. With the right plan and some expert tips, you can build a coop that gives your chickens everything they need to thrive.

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1. Initial planning questions

Make sure a chicken coop is allowed in your backyard. Local governments and homeowners' associations may restrict what you can build on your land, so check first to avoid disappointment. If you have the green light to build your coop, think about your planned flock. Good questions to ask include:

  • How many chickens do I want?
  • How much space do I have?
  • Will the chickens have a fixed or portable coop?
  • Will they be free-range, or do they need a run?
  • What's my budget?
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