If you are thinking of building a backyard chicken coop you probably already know a little bit about chickens and what they need to be happy. It does not take much because they are not very demanding little creatures and you can have fresh eggs every day of the week. They roost at night, so you need a spot that is safe from natural predators such as dogs, foxes, feral cats, owls and other small critters that might do harm to them. They like the dark and dry so be sure your backyard chicken coop is away from lighted structures and protected from the rain.
Each of your chickens needs a foot of roosting space minimum, so cut your wooden poles to fit and make them about an inch or so in diameter for small chickens and all low 2 inches for full size birds. You can build a four by four tin roof coop cheaply and easily, or you can expand the size to accommodate the number of chickens you plane to house. The floor should be covered with wood shavings, the dust free kind and get the best quality you can manage as well.
You will need to clean your backyard chicken coop at least weekly so recycle the old shavings by adding them to your compost heap. Take your natural climate into consideration as well, since you may need to insulate if you live in a cold climate. You will also need a nesting box since hens like close spaces in which to lay eggs. You can be as creative as your imagination will allow, and decorate, design or paint your backyard chicken coop to match your house, a barn or any other outbuildings on your property.
Wood can be scavenged from almost anything such as a past project, a structure you took apart, someone's old wood fence or anything else that will save you buying brand new. You will also need galvanized poultry staples, nails or screws, hardware cloth, corrugated tin or metal for the roof, and the usual assortment of tools such as a saw, drill, hammer and such. You will need at least one nesting box for every four hens but they can be small such as 12 inches square, depending upon the size of your hens of course.
Be certain that your nesting boxes are in cozy, dark corners where the hens will not feel threatened in any way by outside predators. You may also want to attach an enclosed chicken run that surrounds your backyard chicken coop for their protection and your convenience. You want your chickens to be able to keep their own hours so you can sleep in when you want to. Try and choose a good spot in your yard that offers both sun and shade during the course of the day. Temperatures over 100 degrees can be dangerous for your birds, so they need access to shade and plenty of fresh water.
Using hardware cloth will help keep your birds safe in their enclosure since sometimes even chicken wire cannot keep small predators out. Adding plenty of straw over the dirt will give them scratching spaces that they will love. Make sure the nesting boxes are also kept full of straw and/or wood shavings as well. Chickens are happiest when protected, well fed and can scratch all they want, so grab your hammer and get started.