(Also known as the chickenDIYguides review.)
The product is put together by Mary Nelson with help from Jim Stanley. It consists of more than 300 pages of plans for building your own chicken coop, spread out into several ebooks included in the product. A large part of the material you’ll receive is bonus material including small ebooks and a link collection pointing to 26 YouTube videos. I paid $40 to gain access to the instant download area and I paid $10 in taxes. You can get the Chicken Coop Guide here.
7 individual ebooks are available dividing the collection of plans into 3 groups: Small, mid-size and large. What size of coop you need depends on whether you want normal hens or Bantam hens (small hens).
Small coop: 4 plans available for 4-5 hens (or 5-7 Bantams). Built mostly from 1×4″ or 2×4″ studs and 1/4″, 1/2″ or 3/4″ plywood.
Mid-size coop: 1 plan available for 10 hens (or 14 Bantams). Built mostly from 2×4″ studs and 1/2″ or 3/4″ plywood.
Large coop: 2 plans available for 16 hens (or 24 Bantams). Built mostly from 2×4″ studs and 3/4″ plywood.
If you’re new to raising chickens the bonuses that come with the product will help you become aware of 6 important things to consider before building your coop: How much space do you need for raising your chickens, how to protect against predators, how to protect against the weather, deciding what size of coop you need, how to raise chickens in a convenient way, and deciding what type of chicken you want.
The bonus link collection includes videos on for example how to provide drinking water throughout the winter using a 60 watt light bulb that is always on, or providing protection against snow using a shower curtain over your chicken coop.
A separate bonus ebook on building an incubator is available. It teaches that chicken egg incubation is optimal at 37-39 C (99-102 F) and 50-55% humidity, but for the last 3 days, 35 C (95 F) and 65 % humidity will be best. Details for securing this type of environment is described in the ebook. Yet another ebook in the bonus pack consists of explanations of chicken talk terms, like for instance Bantam – which are half-sized chickens for ornamental purposes; crop – part of the chickens digestive system; grit – bits of rock and sand that chickens eat that goes into the crop and helps with digestion; and wormer – medicine for treating worms.
What I LIKE about Chicken Coop Guide
- Despite the fact that the product is split into several pieces the download page keeps it all together very well.
- The design of each coop is neat – I like the way they look.
- The building plans are easy to understand.
- The level of plan detail is high, with dimensions on all pieces.
- Example photos are available for some of the coops showing actual coops that were built.
What I DON’T Like about Chicken Coop Guide
- One of the plans contains a vital table that is almost unreadable due to bad resolution. I’ll have to rewrite it myself to make it usable.
- The graphics is rather coarse and takes some getting used to.
- Everything is in inches rather than S.I. units. I’ll have to print out a plan and add the converted numbers myself manually.
- As a first time chicken keeper I would like to have a plan for a simple chicken run, although it would be simple.
- To make it easier for the reader the 6 bonus ebooks should be merged and edited into a single ebook.
Who should buy the Chicken Coop Guide
In my opinion you would need years, if not decades, of experience as a hobby woodworker to follow the building plans, due to the level of details of the coops, or at least access to help from someone with this kind of experience. You’ll need to cut and fit things together in angles which is not something you’ll easily do if you never touched a saw before. But then again – it’s details like this, that makes the coops in these plans so pretty darn easy on the eyes.
You can get the Chicken Coop Guide here.
Update 2010-12-06: I wrote a 65 page ebook about how I built my own chicken coop following the guide above. You can download my ebook for free here: Ebook: How I Built My Chicken Coop