Tight Budget? 5 Ways to Finance Your First Coop
Guest Post By: Dakota Findley
If you have a bit of extra space on your land, you are looking for ways to turn that bit of land into a nice profit, and the idea of caring for your own flock of feathery chickens appeals to you, then it might be time for you to begin your first chicken coop right on your farm or backyard. Of course, like all small business ventures, the startup costs are more than a penny, but with a little intelligent know-how and smart financing, you can afford and build up your own profit-earning chicken coop on your own terms.
Don’t let the miasma of information available online overwhelm you on the subject, but just take the process one step at a time. Once you have begun the mindset of saving money, you can plan your coop, build the structure by hand, and then maintain a self-sufficient coop that does more than give your breakfast table fresh eggs, but pads your wallet with income.
Before you begin the project, of course some funds are needed for startup costs. However, many people don’t exactly have spare discretionary cash sitting around the house, being unused, which means a little effort needs to be made right away to get into a savings mindset. The short and simple reality is when you spend less money, you are able to save more.
When you engage with a savings mindset, that should alter every aspect of your life when money is used, from shopping for groceries to using home electricity sparingly to keep costs down. In fact, even planning your holiday splurges and altering them into responsible spending can help the process.
Once you are living a life where you are saving money and spending responsibly, then it will be just a short amount of time until you are able to build and run your own first self-sufficient coop.
Make a Plan
So you have a small bit of funds saved up, that’s great! Your next step is to draft a plan that includes every necessity and planned step before you begin purchasing and building.
First, consider the physical space you have available for your new chicken coop, and plan for two square feet per chicken you want to own inside the coop. In addition, you will need one next box for every three hens, which equals to about one square foot per box.
Chickens are happiest when they have an outdoor run to get exercise, and whether you plan yours to be either fenced or without fencing, you will need about five by twenty square feet for each six to eight hens. If you are hoping to purchase a larger breed of hens, then these sizes may change, so be sure to do your research thoroughly for your specific intentions.
Once you know how much space you will need, pick a plot and take several environmental factors into consideration. For example, consider where the coop will get exposed to the sun—southern exposure tends to be the best for both warmth and sunlight—and if you can place it at high ground to avoid flooding or mud problems.
There are a wide variety of chicken coop plans available online, such as these detailed building instructions, but no matter which you pick, ensure your door is large enough for you to pass through with a basket or eggs in hand. Other small details to consider in your plan includes what type of floor you want (wooden floors should be raised at least six inches off the ground) and if you plan to run electricity into the coop so you can install low-watt bulbs for warmth and subsequently consistent egg production year-round.
Finally, the structure of your chicken coop should be considered when you are pricing materials, but keep in mind that air circulation is far more important than insulation, as chickens have a thermal layer of feathers that are effective in keeping them warm.
Knowing the aspects of your planned coop and land space will inform your supply list and ultimate costs, which launch us into cost analysis. At this point in planning your first chicken coop, it is time to begin comparing costs for the required supplies and choose the best suppliers and materials accordingly.
Supplies can be creatively sourced, such as using recycled wood for your simple plywood door, or placing your chicken run alongside your house, barn, or another building to minimize fencing costs. There are other decisions that can lower initial costs, such as choosing the floor of your coop, which can be anything between a simple packed earth floor, to raised wooden floors or even poured concrete if you are able to spend a little bit more.
There are dozens of plans available online to get you creatively thinking about ways to build your best coop at amazingly low initial costs, so do your research and find the best options for the resources available to you.
Build Don’t Buy
There are plenty of pre-made and already-built chicken coops available at farm stores and online, but these options tend to be costly and ultimately require you to make compromises and concessions in how they are used for your chickens. Instead, actively make the decision to build your own chicken coop, and reap the rewards of having total creative and resource control over your small business.
The benefits of building your own chicken coop go beyond making it affordable, but you can also deeply customize the placement, size, and process to suit your home and style. In addition, the planning and building of your own chicken coop ensures you know all the ins and outs of your structure, while offering a family-friendly activity to bring you and your loved ones together.
Maintain Low Costs
Once you have completed the initial purchasing, building, and other steps to set up your chicken coop, it is essential to continue working with a solid mentality focused on saving money while cutting reasonable costs, instead of splurging every dollar on the most expensive available option for feed and upgrades. Ultimately, your chicken coop should be entirely self-sufficient, and not draw any money out of your own pockets but instead sustain itself with its own profits.
The sales from your eggs that are produced by the hens should be enough to sustain the coop costs, such as feed and water, so if you find the net profit goes into the negative, it is time to reevaluate. There are many ways to adjust the costs of a coop, from using more affordable resources to finding ways to increase total egg production, such as adding a low-watt bulb to ensure eggs during winter months.
Get Started on Your First Coop Today
If you’ve got the space and the motivation, starting up your own small business of a chicken coop right in your own backyard is an attainable goal. Start by saving smartly to cover initial costs, draw up a thorough plan to follow, and then finally build your own coop for a long term income and rewarding experience.
No matter what the details are for your specific choices and needs, there is no reason you can’t get your own chicken coop started and running smoothly in a minimal amount of time.
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