The Complete Guide To Your Next Chicken Coop

Raising chickens is a fun hobby and can lead to a nice, small income for those willing to put effort into it. Like people, chickens have to have lodging, and that lodging can come in all forms. You can buy chicken coop designs for as few or as many chickens as you plan to keep.

The Complete Guide To Your Next Chicken Coop article cover image of a chicken coop

Chickens need a warm place to live. They need a place where their natural enemies can’t break in and carry them or their young away into the night. They need shelter when the weather takes a nasty turn. You’ll want to make sure you build a snug coop as drafty ones are harmful to chickens. If you’ve never built a chicken coop before, you can learn how to build the best chicken coop.

The Complete Guide To Your Next Chicken Coop

You Can Have Backyard Chicken Coops Even in the City

Have you always wanted to have a backyard chicken coop but thought you couldn’t since you live in the city? While some cities don’t allow any farm animals, many cities do, and you’re allowed to have chickens.

However, some of these cities that allow chickens to be kept do not allow roosters due to neighbors’ crowing and complaints. You’ll want to check with your city to make sure you’re not breaking any animal nuisance laws.

Keeping chickens vary from wanting fresh eggs to wanting a different kind of pet to desiring a bit of the country in the city. Not only can there be savings on the grocery bill by producing eggs for family use, but many neighbors are joining together to create chicken projects. They’re splitting costs of the materials to build the backyard chicken coops and the cost of the feed and incidentals.

If you figure that you want to have a coop for hens of your own, they’re not at all difficult to build, plus you can design your own plans to make the enclosure look like a little house or barn rather than the traditional coop you may remember. All it takes is a little planning before you get started.

You’ll need to make sure you plan enough space for each chicken as overcrowded conditions can lead to sickness among the chickens. The general rule of thumb for space is to have approximately four square feet of space for each chicken though it never hurts to have more. As you’re building the chicken coop, take into consideration the area where you live.

If you live in a northern state where snow and ice are a regular part of the weather, you’re going to need a coop that’s adequately insulated to keep the chickens warm. You don’t want to have to bring them indoors for them to survive. If you happen to live in an area where the winters are not as harsh, but the summers are scorchers, you’ll have to make sure the coop is built to provide maximum cooling.

how to build a chicken coop

When building the home for your chickens, you don’t have to spend a lot of money buying brand new materials. You can make it from recycled materials, such as wood leftover from a home project – even hinges salvaged from the old kitchen or bathroom makeovers can be used as hinges for a chicken coop door.

Whatever materials you use to build your backyard chicken coops, make sure you’ve provided adequate ventilation in the snug home for your chickens; otherwise, you can get an ammonia build-up that’s not good for you or the chickens.

Why Choose a Small Chicken Coop Over a Larger One?

The practice of using a small chicken coop rather than a larger one is becoming more popular. There are several reasons why these coops are gaining in popularity. One reason is that hectic, busy lifestyles are better suited for these kinds of coops.

The reason cited most often for having smaller coops is because they’re not as hard to keep in a sanitary condition as the larger coops are. With a smaller coop, once the chickens are out of it, you can clean the coop in a shorter amount of time. There won’t be much (if any) scrubbing to do after the coop is washed down with the garden hose.

Cost is another reason the smaller coop wins out over the bigger one. They’re not as expensive to build because there isn’t the need for all the lumber larger coops to construct them.

There’s a smaller amount of hardware to be used and a smaller area needed for ventilation. You can put a smaller coop together in a day versus the length of time it takes to build a standard size coop.

Because of the size, smaller chicken coops can be kept in nearly any location where they’re allowed. Even a condominium with what’s commonly called a postage stamp backyard has room enough to support the existence of a small chicken coop. With a smaller coop, if you build it in one area of your yard but notice a problem with that area, a tinier coop is a lot easier to move than a larger one.

Small chicken coops are great for people who want to have chickens but don’t have the time or the space to give to larger coops. Not only are these scaled down versions of bigger coops easier to maintain, easier to repair when something needs to be fixed, but they also make it easier for the owners to provide food and water for the chickens.

Why Choose a Small Chicken Coop Over a Larger One?

For someone who wants to have more than four chickens, smaller coops are not a good option. These coops are specifically meant for no more than five or six chickens – maximum. If you want to have chickens specifically to make money from selling eggs, it’s better to go with the larger choice.

These coops are built with material just as sturdy as the bigger coops and are meant to last just as long. The small chicken coop is not an inferior version of the larger chicken coops, but rather a scaled-down version.

The smaller coops operate much like the larger ones. They offer shelter, a place to nest, and safety from natural enemies. If you’ve always wanted to have but assumed you’d have to stick with the larger coops, now you know you don’t have to.

How to Pick Chicken Coop Plans

You don’t have to be an architect to build a place for your chickens to reside. You don’t even have to be an experienced farmer. Many do it yourself chicken coop plans are available for purchase – or if you’re the adventurous type and you’re good with measuring and dimensions, you can even create plans for a unique coop. By following a set of plans, it won’t take long before your coop is complete.

There is no one right way to build a chicken coop. They come in all sizes, shapes, and styles. Some are plain with absolutely no frills, while others seem to be a work of backyard art.

The first step is to decide if you need a small, medium, or large place for your chickens. How will you know what size to pick? The size you would want to build will depend on how many chickens the coop needs to house.

If you purchase a set of chicken coop plans, make sure the plans aren’t the bare minimum. The plans should cover all details, including the building of the chicken run. While chicken coops don’t require a Harvard degree to build, it’s not something you want to build by guesswork. To create a proper coop, you’re going to have to have some plans.

For those who think that any old set of plans will do, you could end up with a chicken house that won’t be suitable for use. The right kind of chicken plans will include height and width directions, where the ventilation should go, the best side of the coop to place the window if you want those, and where and how to build perches and nesting boxes. All of that is part of building a coop.

Some plans show how to build a coop that looks like the letter A, while others show how to build a simple box structure. Some of the fancier plans show off coops built in an old general store’s style, and some look like a miniature home complete with a porch and wall decorations hanging on the outside.

How to Pick Chicken Coop Plans

To know what plans you should get, you need to ask yourself the following questions: How much money can I afford to budget for this project? How many hens will I be keeping? Will I be building this myself, or will I hire the job out? If you’ve never built a coop before but want a fancier one or a custom-built one, you might want to find an experienced coop builder.

Regardless of how you decide your choice among the thousands of chicken coop plans available, the great news is that most coops are not that costly and can be built throughout a single weekend.

Tips for Chicken Coop Designs

Before choosing one design over another, there are a few points to consider that will affect your decision. Since a chicken coop can come in a range of sizes and weights, you need to figure out if there’s room enough to support the coop. If you rent a home or apartment, you’ll need to purchase or make a coop that can quickly move from one location to the next.

Secondly, the layout of the design and how much room it will offer per chicken is essential. You can’t crowd several chickens in a coop designed to house two to four chickens. The design will have to provide for a roomy enough nesting area.

Even though several chickens will often only use the two or three nesting boxes, sometimes that’s not the case, and you’ll want to make sure the chickens have plenty of nests. You can get several nests built either side by side or on top of one another in stacks to save space.

No matter what type of design you have for a chicken coop, make sure you use quality material in building it. It’s okay to use salvaged or recycled items as long as they’re in good shape and can provide the chickens with adequate shelter and warmth.

Choose a design that can withstand variations in weather. Some plans are very attractive and created to have that wow factor, but they’re not sturdy enough to last. You don’t want to buy or make a design that will only be around temporarily.

If you’re not an expert in building and drawing up a detailed set of plans is a struggle, then you should look for a pre-made collection of designs and pick on that you like. You can find designs in hardback books, eBooks you can download faster (and cheaper), and you can check out seed or hardware stores for designs for sale.

Tips for Chicken Coop Designs

You can buy some designs that will teach you how to build a chicken coop for well under a hundred dollars. There are some designs for coops that can cost close to a thousand dollars. The amount of money spent on the design should be decided by the hens’ purpose – whether they’re for pleasure or business.

Chicken coop designs can make the job of building a coop go a lot smoother than guessing which piece of wood goes where. With all of the choices, you should find one that you like and suits your needs.

How to Make a Chicken Coop

First, you will need to decide how big you would like your ideal chicken coop to be. Some chicken farmers enjoy using a shed, while others use a small shelter. What type of shelter will work best for your chickens depends on several factors, including the breed, their needs, and your wallet. Before you despair, know that it’s possible to make a chicken coop without spending a fortune.

Each full-grown hen will need two to three square feet. It’s essential to think about how many hens you would like to house. This will determine how big their shelter should be. Now is the time to choose your design plan.

While you can create your own plan, you’re probably better off buying a plan unless you’re an architect. Choose a plan that fits your image of the ideal chicken coop. Once you have your plan, it’s time to gather your materials.

Some companies throw out scrap wood and building materials that they can’t use. Try asking the owner if you can have their scraps in exchange for hauling it away. You can also ask neighbors and friends for any leftover scrap materials from their recent projects.

While you may get a fair amount of scrap material you can use, you will still end up having to purchase at least some of your material from a hardware store. This isn’t the time to scrimp on your feathery friends’ needs.

Now that you have your materials, it’s time to begin building your chicken coop. But before you pick up that power drill, check all of your measurements one final time. Are you sure you have ample space? Where will your chicken run be? Will placing your coop here obstruct your neighbor’s view? 

If you’re ready, then it’s time to start on the frame. Be precise in your measurements. While a few inches here or there doesn’t seem like much of a difference during the building process, it will seem like a big difference later.

How to Make a Chicken Coop

As you build the home your future pets will reside in; you need to consider the climate where you live. A well-ventilated coop is a must if you live in a warm climate. If you live in a cooler climate, then you’ll want to consider insulating your coop.

There are many considerations to take into account when building your chicken coop. But building your chicken coop has plenty of rewards, too. Remember that little details are of great importance when it comes to knowing how to make a chicken coop.

How to Build a Chicken Coop

Scout out the place where you want to build a chicken coop. Beginners often decide to build a coop without checking out the ground saturation beforehand. If the area tends to pool water, it’s a lousy location to put up a coop.

Here are 13 Free DIY Chicken Coop Plans we thought you might like!

Chickens have to have a dry space. You’ll need a level area to build the coop on, but never create a coop directly on the ground. Have you ever had a snack or rodent get into an outside building or shed? These same predators will quickly get inside chicken coops built flat on the ground no matter how much chicken fencing you put up around the coop.

Predators don’t just arrive on the ground either. Hawks and other large birds will snatch smaller chickens and take off with them. When the chickens are outside of the coop, they need to be protected from these kinds of predators.

Humidity inside a coop isn’t healthy for chickens. You’ll want to make sure you have some opening for air to stir through. Some chicken owners use a simple vent, while other chicken owners put in a screened window that will open.

Those who take shortcuts carve a small hole in the plywood and nail a screen over that, but this isn’t a good idea. The ventilation opening needs to be one that can be closed in the event of bad weather or built in such a way that rainwater and heavy drafts can’t get inside the structure.

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Since chickens can’t fly as well as other birds, make sure you don’t place the perches too high off the floor where they can get hurt if they have a fall. Perches shouldn’t be built any higher than three to four feet off the floor.

Nesting boxes should be built lower than the perches (to prevent them from becoming the place the chickens prefer to sleep) and should be deep enough to make the chicken feel comfortable.

When constructing nesting boxes, make sure to slant the top of it because chickens love to roost on the boxes’ flat surface. The reason for the slanted top is because if chickens roost on the top as they do their business, you’ll end up with quite an accumulation of droppings to clean off continually.

Give the front of the nesting box a ledge so that the chicken can balance there when getting in and out of the nest. Follow these instructions, and you’ll have built a chicken coop that lasts.

Building Chicken Coops the Easy Way

There are thousands of plans, designs, and ideas for buildings used in housing chickens. They range from elaborate two-story structures right on down to a small doghouse type dwelling surrounded by a few feet of chicken wire. Before you invest a lot of money and time setting up expensive coops, learn about building chicken coops the easy way, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor sooner.

Chickens are not demanding critters. Their needs are pretty basic. They need a place to get in out of the elements where the freezing weather won’t harm their eggs. Next on the list, they have to have space for their nests to lay eggs.

Since both eggs and chickens are considered tasty morsels by a wide variety of predators, the place built for chickens needs to be sturdy and well protected. Add a little food and water, and they’re happy campers.

There are standard ways to build a chicken coop, or you can create your own from scratch. Decide how large the dimensions should be for the area set aside for the chicken coop.

Take care not to put a chicken coop too close to your home for a couple of reasons. The noise can get pretty loud at times and downwind, a chicken coop doesn’t smell like roses. On the other hand, you don’t want to put the coop too far away either – both for the sake of convenience and so that you can keep an eye out for predators.

No matter how fancy a chicken coop is, don’t forget that it has to be cleaned regularly to cut down on odor and bug infestations. One of the mistakes those new to raising chickens make is they build coops where the floor is completely level.

Isn’t that the way to build a house? Yes, but not a hen house – because when you go to wash it out, all of that stuff will pool right at your feet. Not a pretty thought or sight. Instead, you want to build the floor with a tilt at the back of it.

Building a chicken coop the easy way includes an easy cleanup. With a slightly tilted floor at the rear of the house, when you spray it down during cleaning, all that icky stuff will wash down the slant and right out the back door of the coop.

Put a chicken wire fence all around the coop to keep unwelcome guests out. Remember that some animals will dig beneath fences to get into the chicken coop, so play it smart and bury the fence partly below the ground. Building chicken coops the easy way makes the work of owning chickens easier in the long run.

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Check Out Free Chicken Coop Instructions

There are free chicken coop instructions, and they’re available to you in this very article. Have you thought about building a chicken coop but held off because you didn’t know anything about what kind of material to use, how to put the material together to make the coop or because you thought it might cost more than you wanted to spend?

Building a chicken coop doesn’t have to dent your bank account, and some of the best things in life are still free. To keep down the cost of building a coop, the material you use can be anything that will provide shelter.

Some people have even used old lawnmower sheds. If you’d rather have a nicer coop, though, you can create a structure without relying on something that’s already standing. Go to a lumberyard or an area where new homes are being built.

Ask if you can have the scrap pieces of lumber they’re not going to use. Yes, many lumberyards and home construction companies throw unused wood away. Not only could you get the material free, but you’d help keep the scrap wood out of the landfills.

While you’re at the home construction site, ask if you can have any leftover shingles, too. Most of these end up in the garbage as well. Some cities have a waste exchange program where members can exchange or buy useful, secondhand items that would typically end up as trash.

You can either nail up wood for the chicken roosts such as a two by four or two by two or use small tree branches nailed in place. Don’t build the roosting perches directly above where you’ll need to reach in to gather eggs (for smaller coops) or where you’ll walk in (for larger coops).

You can find old windows that aren’t suitable for a house for the windows but are perfect for a coop at some thrift stores. The first thing you need to do is to build the frame for the walls and floor.

The frame and size of the walls depend on how large or small you want your chicken coop. The front and back wall of the coop are usually longer and the sides smaller. Secure the walls and frame to the flooring.

The Complete Guide To Your Next Chicken Coop with roster sticking head through the wall

The materials used to build a coop can be old wood boards or plywood if you don’t have enough boards. Once the building is complete, and the perches are in place, install the nesting boxes. Inside the boxes, place straw for the eggs. With these free chicken coop instructions, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your new chickens fast!

Purchasing the Best Chicken Coop Kits

Chicken coop kits are materials gathered together in one order that you can use to build a place to hold chickens. All of the pieces to build the coop are enclosed in the kit and all you have to do is put the kit together. These are a great idea for anyone – including people who aren’t handy with a skill saw or measuring precision.

Many kits are available for selection, and they come in small, medium, or large choices. These kits also vary in design. Some chicken coop kits are constructed with the intention that you can move them from one location to another.

These kits are popular for those who live in cities and want to change the coop area over time. Moveable kits are the smallest of the kits since they have to be light enough to be transported from one spot to another. Other kits are larger, heavier, and put together to remain in one place.

Whether to buy a portable coop or a larger one should be based on the number of chickens planned for the coop. Having more than two or three chickens means you’ll need a larger coop than a smaller, portable one.

Selecting the right kit to buy also depends on the plans you have for the chickens. If you plan to keep the chickens for your enjoyment and a supply of eggs for your family, you can have a kit that provides a small coop. If you want to sell eggs, you’ll need to buy the best kit you can get one that offers plenty of room for the chickens.

When deciding which of the chicken coop kits is the right one for you, don’t focus only on today’s needs but also look toward the years to come. If you think that keeping chickens may be something you’re going to want to grow as a business, then you should get the largest kit you can find.

Not all kits are the same, and some are better than others. Compare the kits as you do your research and make sure the kit was designed with expert knowledge about keeping chickens.

Don’t buy kits that don’t properly prepare for the correct ventilation installment, and don’t buy kits that make cleaning the coop a monumental task. There are two primary purposes of the coop – to shelter chickens in comfort and safety.

These kits are an excellent idea for people who want to have a chicken coop but don’t know how to build one or don’t want to take the time to do it. These kits are easy to assemble and provide everything you’ll need.

The kits come with the lumber already precut, so there’s no need to measure, and they provide all the hardware to put the lumber together. Some kits also offer technical support, so an expert will be on hand to guide the purchaser if there are any problems. Purchasing chicken coop kits are a quick alternative to the time it takes to build one yourself.

Setting Up Portable Chicken Coops in Your Backyard

Portable chicken coops boast many advantages for new or aspiring chicken farmers. The benefits include free fertilizer, pest control, and, best of all fresh eggs. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a large farm or several acres to devote to your chickens. Many designs can fit easily into your backyard, even if you live in a large city. 

How to Build a Chicken Coop

Portable chicken coops may also be called chicken tractors. Some chicken tractor designs even attach to wheels for easy relocation when your chickens need a fresh patch of grass. Chicken tractors are often built in an A shape, and some don’t have a bottom.

Before you even consider setting up portable chicken coops in your backyard, you will want to check your city ordinances. Some cities prohibit raising livestock while others don’t.

You’ll want to ensure you aren’t breaking any laws by keeping hens on your property. Even if no city ordinances are preventing you from raising livestock, you will still want to keep your chicken coop looking and smelling nice, so you don’t irk your neighbors.

Another consideration before setting up your portable chicken coop is what will happen to your hens after their egg-laying years. Hens stop producing eggs around six or seven years of age, yet they can live around fifteen years. This is a very important consideration if you will be housing only a few chickens in your backyard and keeping them for egg production.

If you have or plan on building a portable chicken coop, you’ll need to provide your chickens with some protection from the elements. This shelter should be a source of warmth during colder seasons.

Insulate your chicken coop or use a heat lamp to keep your hens warm. Some chicken farmers even report moving their portable chicken coops into garages or sheds to temporarily protect hens from the elements or prevent predators from accessing them easily.

Also, keep in mind is that you will most likely need straw, pine needles, or some padding to put in the bottom of your nest boxes. The eggs are less likely to crack if you have some padding underneath the hens.

Before setting up your portable chicken coop, you need to think about how you will protect it from rats and mice. You can’t always protect your portable chicken coops, but you can take precautions such as covering holes and gaps with sheet metal, feeding your chickens in the early morning and late afternoon, and only feeding chickens what they will eat.

As you can see, before setting up portable chicken coops in your backyard, there are some special considerations you need to make, so you don’t end up an unhappy chicken farmer.

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The Best Guide to Movable Micro Homesteads

Movable Micro Homesteads? The cost of living has continued to rise and the size and prices of homes grow right along with the cost of living. Huge homes are located in almost every neighborhood in both cities and small towns.

The accumulation of things to fill these homes is unprecedented. While this might seem like the good life, part of the American dream, there’s a downside and it’s not pretty.

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You can become trapped by your home surrounded by material things that – instead of making you happy, instead of making life easier – are causing you to work harder just to keep up.

And if you decide that you’d like to relocate, you could be out of luck because selling your home all depends on the housing market.  There is a better option for a life that gives you a taste of what it can truly mean to live happy and free from the rat race.

A Guide to Movable Micro Homesteads

It’s also a great option for those who want to build a survival home in the event of an emergency, so whatever your reasons are, movable micro homesteads could be the answer for you.

What Are Micro Homesteads?

Think small, manageable, and efficient when you think about micro homesteads. Think about freedom from stress and the assurance of knowing that you can provide all that you need for yourself.

Micro homesteads are all about self-sufficiency. These are homesteads that really cut all of the excess material possessions out. People who choose micro homesteading have homes that are very small.

Many of these homes are complete at no bigger than the size of a tiny bedroom like you’d find in a regular home. You get all of the rooms in one living space. The bedroom, kitchen, dining room, and a small space for a bathroom.

What’s great about this kind of living is that – not only does it free you up from being owned by your possessions – but these homes are very affordable. The ability to own one of these homes can be as cheap as the cost of just a down payment on a big home.

And best of all with these micro homes is that you’re not stuck anywhere. Not ever. These homes are portable – so when you want to go live somewhere else, you simply make sure any breakables in the home are secure, and off you go.

You aren’t tied to the grid in any way. You’re completely self-sufficient because your home – and your way of life – are self-sustaining. When you use a tiny home, you can create a micro homestead.

Using just a small portion of land where you’ve placed your home, you can plant crops that can serve all of your food needs. By using nutrient density planting, you can plan not only food for yourself, but even have some leftover if you want to share it or sell it.

Some micro homesteads also raise chickens for the use of eggs. Micro homesteads allow those who live this way to live from what the earth can provide. They can plant crops and harvest them, then use them in canning and other healthy ways of eating.

How to Design or Build a Micro Homestead

When it comes to designing or building a micro homestead, you can have virtually anything that you want. If you’re handy with creating things, you can build one yourself by plans that you find online, or through using planning books you can borrow or buy.

The cost of the plans will vary in price, depending on where you get the plans. If you’re not that good at handling a hammer and nails or knowing how to fit things together to create a micro homestead, then you can hire someone to build it for you.

The cost of the endeavor will depend on what you want – such as the style of home you choose and what you want in it. Remember that when you design or buy the home, you want it made so that space is used in a way that’s functional and makes the most of every square foot.

If you look at today’s traditional homes, you’ll notice a lot of wasted space. Taking advantage of space is one of the reasons that micro homes are so efficient.

There are some pre-made micro homes from some designers that aren’t that expensive. When you add some custom touches, you can expect to pay somewhere in the area of between 15K to 20K.

While that might take some people aback at shelling out that much money upfront, all you have to do is compare that to what it costs to live in a traditional home that’s going to take between 15 and 30 years of your life to pay for.

The trailer-designed micro homesteads are some of the most popular versions. These can be designed to fit with or without a porch, with dormer windows, and in a variety of outer wall materials and colors.

How to Design or Build a Micro Homestead

They can have some pretty amazing amenities, too for such a small living space. You build a trailer home or have one made that features beautiful hardwood flooring, propane fireplaces, and plenty of storage.

It’s the way that every available inch is designed to maximize space that can make these homes feel larger and comfortable. Some of the tricks of the trade with this style micro home include not closing in the area under a set of stairs that lead to loft bedrooms, but rather leaving it open to use as a closet for clothing and shoes.

Using things like a composting toilet can save money as well as make this kind of home self-sufficient. These homes vary in size, but can easily be moved from one parcel of land to the next by simply pulling the home with a truck.

Log cabin micro homesteads are also very popular. These homes can vary in wall thickness. To make sure that your living space stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you’ll want to build or have one made that allows insulation to be placed in the walls.

Insulation is not a given in any micro-home, so you’ll have to make sure you cover that yourself or make it a stipulation when it’s built. These can be built with single or double loft bedrooms and can be built from a kit.

But, these can also be built using logs from your land. You can choose to use an area where the growth needs thinning. Once you choose the logs, you’ll have to strip off the bark for the logs to be viable as walls for your structure.

After you gather your materials, you’re ready to draw up your plans or have them designed for you. Building a log cabin micro home is probably one of the cheaper routes to go because by using materials from nature, you can keep the cost down. A log cabin micro home can be built for between $500 to $1,000 if you keep the design simple.

Shipping containers can also be used for micro homesteading. You can purchase these from the shipping company at reasonable rates. When a container gets dinged in shipping, it can be perfectly usable for homesteading, but not fit the qualifications most shipping companies have in place. So you can get a bargain.

It’s feasible to build a comfortable home with just over 100 square feet of space. Shipping containers have some height to them, which can you use to add touches like a loft bedroom or even a skylight.

Drywall can be added to the container home along with carpet or hardwood flooring. Levels can be created inside the home with small portable steps that lead from one level to the next.

Any of these types of homes listed can have electricity or can be powered by solar panels for a complete living-off-the-grid lifestyle.

The Pros of Movable Micro Homesteads

You’ll find that there is an abundance of pros when it comes to living on a micro homestead. First, you’ll end up with more space to use for gardening so that you can grow food that enables you to live off the land.

No more having to worry about getting to the grocery store and paying those expensive prices. You’ll be able to grow the food that you need not only for your current use, but you’ll be able to can and set aside food for the months that your garden isn’t growing.

By living on movable micro homesteads, you can live a life that’s sustainable by your own efforts. If you created a balance between what you can grow and what you can’t by having animals such as chickens or other small animals, you can create a cycle of homesteading that will meet your needs.

Micro homesteading allows you to have more land room so that you can practice crop rotation. This lets you have unused areas so that you can continually produce good food crops.

When you homestead, look for land that gives you access to freshwater off the grid or allows you to have the room to set up a rainwater collection system. This system will provide you with the water you need to take care of the crops, your own water needs, as well as any animals that you might have, yet still keep you off the grid.

With movable micro homesteads, you can work the land that you live on to make it produce for you. But you don’t have to have this option. You can also work on rented land.

There are many instances where people own land and need it farmed by someone else. By setting up on rented land, you can use your portion of the crops to feed your needs without having the high cost of buying land.

Living on rented land gives you the choice to move on if you’d like to live in another state. Homesteading this way gives you a comfortable place to stay. Plus, it’s an inexpensive lifestyle.

You won’t be burdened with utility bills or all of the other cost of living bills that hang on to other people. Micro homesteading is minimalist living that, instead of chasing a life allows you to actually live one.

The Cons of Movable Micro Homesteads

Minimalistic living isn’t for everyone, regardless of how much they might want the lifestyle. Larger families can find this type of living very difficult and trying on their relationships because there’s simply not enough room for everyone to have a space to have some privacy.

But it can also be rough on smaller families that just don’t like the kind of lifestyle that calls for letting go of some material possessions. Living in a micro-home can require some adjusting of living space layout.

The Best Guide to Movable Micro Homesteads in article image

For example, if your kitchen area has a fold-away table and you need the space to double as an office, then shifting things around can get trying during those times when you’re in a hurry or tired.

You won’t be able to keep the number of things you once had that you feel made your life easier. There won’t be room to keep all the cooking utensils or a variety of other kitchen items that you may have been used to.

Some people can go through a short period of adjustment and they end up liking the micro living. Others can’t take feeling more confined once they downsize. Not having room for entertaining or room for guests to sleepover can be a problem for some people.

Also, extended family members might oppose micro living and if they’re vocal about it, this can lead to family tensions. Depending on the location where you place your micro home, you may end up feeling that you live too far away from amenities that you’re used to.

While micro homesteading can be a peaceful, self-sustaining way of living, it’s simply not a good fit for everyone.

Why Use a Micro Homestead

The world is poised for a financial breakdown. And for a food shortage. Water shortages are already going on right now in various states. There are rolling blackouts in some states because the electric grid can’t keep up with the demand.

These are all warning signs that the collapse of the kind of life everyone is used to living isn’t far off. For people who rely on the grid to make it through their day-to-day lives, a collapse is going to throw them into a tailspin of incredible stress.

But for people who use movable micro homesteads, regardless of what happens or doesn’t happen in any other state or all over the world, life will still continue to go on peacefully.

And if they don’t like the condition of the state that they’re living in, they can simply move to another area. Because they’re already used to providing for their own needs, they’ll be able to continue to grow and harvest their own food.

They’ll continue to be able to eat even when the nation’s food supplies dwindle. When the electric grids begin to crash one by one without any timeline of when or even if they may be back up and operational, people who live in a micro homestead won’t have that same worry.

Because they use self-sustaining means to take care of their electric needs, they’ll be able to keep on doing what they need to do. When water supplies become dysfunctional, this won’t impact those who practice micro homesteading.

It won’t impact them because they’re already used to fending for themselves with the water supply. They have rain barrels set up to take care of their water needs. Or they use a fresh supply of water from the land.

As sewer systems fail and garbage can’t be hauled away, those who live on the grid will find that life has become not only unpleasant and also very unsanitary.

Those who have a micro homesteading lifestyle won’t even feel the ripple from that. They’ll be able to go to bed and sleep without worry, then rise the next morning and do what they’ve been used to doing. Enjoying life.

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Using Animals in Your Sustainable Living Efforts

When you become interested in sustainable living, you may want to add animals to your practices. There are many ways you can use animals on your own property to help become self-reliant and sustainable.

Using Animals in Your Sustainable Living Efforts article cover image with pigs

You need to know some of the most common animals used for sustainable living practices and how you might be able to work with them.  Some animals are used for meat, while others are used for eggs, milk, and their pelts or skins.

Using Animals in Your Sustainable Living Efforts

Honoring the Animal

It’s important to note that using animals requires you to be considerate of the animal’s needs and provide a healthy and happy environment for it.  When you choose to butcher animals, you should make sure you get proper training so that you cause little fear or pain to them.

With sustainable living, you’ll also want to make use of as much of the animal as possible so that it doesn’t go to waste.  Honoring the animal’s sacrifice means using it well.

Chickens

If you’re new to working with animals, raising chickens is a great way to begin learning.  Chickens are relatively simple to take care of and require a small amount of space. 

They can also provide regular eggs and even meat if you choose to butcher them and eat them.  You’ll need to make sure that you provide a coop for chickens where they can be safe from predators and roost at night.

Chickens need room to roam and can help cut down on bugs as they eat them along with feed that you supply.  It’s best to choose an organic feed that’s free from chemicals and additives.

You’ll want to do your homework to figure out how many chickens will fit into the coop you choose.  That will depend on the size of the coop and the breed of chickens. 

You can buy chicks online and have them shipped to your home.  You’ll need to be prepared to take care of chicks for a few weeks after their arrival.  They need warm temperatures, clean water, and bedding.  As they grow, they’ll become easier to care for.

Many urban areas allow chickens, but make sure you check your local ordinances.  You may be allowed to have chickens, but not roosters in the city limits.  As you care for your chickens, it’s important to learn from experts such as agriculture extension agents, local farmers, or even getting online help.

Chickens can provide eggs, can be harvested for meat, and their feathers can be used for pillows or blankets.  Older chickens that don’t have tender meat can be used to make chicken stock for use later.

Rabbits

Rabbits are also easy to care for and can provide meat for your family.  They require a hutch where they can live comfortably and have room to move around.  You’ll also need to feed them and provide them with high-quality food and fresh vegetables. 

Rabbits also need a constant supply of alfalfa or timothy hay. You’ll want to research rabbit breeds so that you can choose the best breed for your area and the meat you’d like to produce.

Using Animals in Your Sustainable Living Efforts

If you begin with two female and one male rabbit, you can produce more than 40 rabbits a year for meat.  Rabbits are best eaten when they are 8-12 weeks old.  The younger they are, the more tender they are.

When the rabbits reach about six weeks old, you can separate them from their parents.  Then you can wait until it’s time to harvest the meat.  When the larger, adult rabbits reach two or three years of age, you can butcher them.

Older rabbits are better in a stew because they aren’t as tender.  Rabbits can also be used for their fur.  Once they’re butchered and skinned for meat, you can tan the rabbit’s hides and use them for warm clothing.

Rabbits are a relatively inexpensive investment if you want to begin working to raise and harvest your own meat.  It helps to take a class to learn how to butcher them properly.

Goats

Goats are fairly easy animals to take care of and they can produce a great deal of food for you.  There are two kinds of goats – goats for meat and goats for milk.  Goat isn’t commonly eaten in the United States, but it’s very common in other countries.

You’ll want to choose a breed that’s specifically designed for your purposes.  Look for one that’s purebred.  You can raise approximately eight goats on the same feed it would take to raise one cow.

Goats need little in the way of food if they’re able to graze.  You may also need to provide hay, oats, and a vitamin supplement.  Housing for goats is also pretty simple – you’ll need an area where they can be dry and where they won’t get too cold.

Goats are very good at climbing, so you’ll need a fence that has barbed or electric wire to keep them in.  Goats are typically very friendly animals to have on your property.

Some good goat breeds for meat include Texmaster, Moneymaker, and Savanna.  Good goat breeds for milk include Saanen, Alpine, and Togenburgs.  You’ll want to learn more about specific breeds and what will work best in your area.

Goat milk can be used for drinking and for making cheese.  Many people who find cow’s milk problematic find that goat’s milk is a good substitute.  In order to produce milk, your goats will need to be bred once a year. 

Your goat will need to feed her kids, but you can still milk her once a day.  The best method is to keep the kids separate from her at night and milk her once in the morning.  Then the rest of the day the kids can nurse when they choose.

Using Animals in Your Sustainable Living Efforts

If you continue to milk her, she can produce milk for approximately 10 months.  That’s a good supply of milk for a family.  You can have more goats if you’d like more milk for your use or to sell.

When it comes to meat goats, the best time for butchering is between five and nine months of age.  You can learn to do this yourself or take the goat to a meat processor.  After butchering a goat, you can keep the hide and tan it for use. 

Pigs

Pigs can also be raised to use for meat.  Pigs will need at least a tenth of an acre for pasture.  You can also grow them in an enclosure that’s at least 100 square feet – such as a barn or a pen.

You’ll also need food for your pig.  Unlike what you see in movies, it’s best not to feed pigs just whatever is leftover from your own meals.  They need a diet full of vitamins and minerals.  It’s best to give them organic foods and allow them to graze on grass.  They also need plenty of access to clean water.

You’ll want to choose a piglet that’s a good breed for meat.  You can buy them at farms or from auctions.  Some of the best breed choices include Berkshire, Yorkshire, and Hereford.  But there are many choices.

You’ll want to research what will live best in your area and grow to the preferred size.  In general, pigs usually are ready for slaughter when they reach approximately 225 pounds, though this can vary based on weight.

You can learn to butcher them yourself or take them to a meat processor.  Each pig will give you around 150 pounds of meat.  Again, this is an average and will depend on your pigs.

Once a pig is processed into different cuts, you can freeze them for long-term use.  Some people also choose to sell meat as a way to make money and profit from pig production.

Cows

Many people enjoy raising cows for either milk or meat.  Raising your own cows on a grass diet without antibiotics or added hormones makes the meat and milk much better for your body. 

The best breeds for dairy cows tend to be Jersey, Guernsey, and Holstein.  For beef cows, look for Angus or Hereford cows. There are other breeds that may be better for your needs, so do your homework before settling on one type.

Cows will need a source of grass and in the winter months will need hay.  Each cow will need about half a bale of hay per day.  Your cow will also need to be confined with a fence made from barbed wire.

how to raise cows

You can also use an electric fence to keep your cow from leaving home.  Each cow will need about two acres of pasture in order to get enough nutrition.  If you live in a drier area, your cow may need even more space.

For milk cows, you’ll need to breed your cow in order for her to produce milk.  One cow can give you eight to ten gallons of milk each day.  This will allow you to have plenty of milk for drinking and making other dairy products or for selling.

For meat cows, you can learn to do the butchering yourself.  However, most people will take a cow to be processed and divided into different cuts of meat and ground beef.

One cow is usually more than enough meat for an average family.  You may even consider selling half of the cow so that you can make back some of the money you’ve invested in raising your cow and processing it.

Fish

When you think of farm animals, fish don’t usually make the top of the list.  But fish can be very good food that you can raise right on your property.  The best breeds of fish for farming include catfish, bass, bluegill, and carp. 

In order to raise any of these fish, you’ll need a barrel that holds at least fifty gallons of water.  This will hold about 40 fish that you can harvest for food.  You’ll want to research the specifics for putting together an aquarium based on the breed you choose.

You’ll be able to feed your fish commercial food or you can feed them worms.  For 40 fish, you’ll need at least 50-100 worms each day when they are young and even more as they get older.

You can either clean and prepare fish all at once or stagger your use by taking a few adults out and replacing them with younger fish.  This gives you a regular supply of fish.  If you do it all at once, you’ll need to freeze them.

It takes about 2 months for fish to grow into adulthood and be ready for eating.  You can start over every 2 months with a new group so that you have a continuous supply of fish to eat.

Researching Your Best Options

If you’ve never raised your own animals for food, it’s a good idea to start small with chickens, rabbits, or even fish.  Don’t try to do too much at once and become overwhelmed by the process.

Once you’ve mastered one animal, you can add another.  It’s also important to do a lot of research before deciding on an animal and breed.  You need to do a lot of preparation and be prepared for feeding and even medical care if necessary.

Using Animals in Your Sustainable Living Efforts

A great place to start is with your local agriculture extension office.  This office helps local people figure out what to grow and you can even take educational classes to learn about animal management and harvesting.

This guide may have sparked your interest in a particular type of animal, but now you’ll need to get much more depth of information in order to carry out the process of growing and harvesting animals for food.

Growing your own animals can help you save on the cost of food.  It can also ensure that you have meat or milk that’s free from chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones.  You can also feel good that your animal has a good life and is treated with care and respect, unlike many animals raised on corporate farms.

Raising animals is a great way to develop a sustainable living homestead.  It does take a lot of work, but many people feel that the work is well worth it for quality meat or milk.

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The Best Emergency Elder Care And Disaster Preparedness Plans

When you have to consider older adults in the disaster preparedness scenario of yours, Emergency Elder Care takes a lot of work. FEMA doesn’t really cover this topic well. Our senior citizens require a few extra thoughts when a disaster occurs. Some matters caregivers must consider are:

  • Whether to evacuate
  • Emergency cash and fuel
  • Special needs
  • Elder’s medications and vital records
  • Emergency evacuation of bedridden elders
  • Communications problems during disasters
  • General emergency supplies
  • Comforting a frightened elder
The Best Emergency Elder Care And Disaster Preparedness Plans article cover image

Emergency Elder Care And Disaster Preparedness

Deciding Whether to Evacuate

When it comes to disaster planning in geriatric care management, caregivers must first decide whether it is safe (or even possible) to shelter-in-place.

  • Will the house be in danger of a tree crushing it?
  • Is the area prone to flooding?
  • Is the house likely to lose power? For how long?
  • Is the elder loved one on a special needs list with the utility companies?

Caregivers should assume they will receive no help from first responders, emergency management agencies, or healthcare providers. So, caregivers need an excellent emergency disaster plan!

If evacuating, caregivers must decide where they can go ahead of time. Is it possible to shelter with friends or relatives? Ask now. Do not wait until the disaster arrives to find out.

Emergency Cash and Fuel

Caregivers must also have cash on hand. Carefully consider family size and needs to ensure enough money on hand at all times to care for the family at least two weeks.

If immediate evacuation becomes necessary, on a Sunday, for example, banks will be closed, and ATMs will run out of money quickly. In the wake of major disasters, banks won’t open at all–maybe for weeks. ATMs cannot work without electricity. Merchants will refuse checks and credit cards.

It is wise to keep vehicles’ fuel tanks mostly full as well. If a fire is roaring over the hill, the last thing a caregiver needs is to have to stop for fuel before evacuating the danger zone! Check tires and fluid levels regularly, too. Finally, make sure the vehicle has a working jack and practice using it.

Geriatric Care Management for Seniors with Special Needs

Elderly individuals may have many special needs. They are especially vulnerable to heat and cold. Even limited exposure to temperature extremes can rapidly result in a life-or-death crisis. Will heating or air conditioning be available while sheltering-in-place or at the planned destination?

Many infirm seniors are oxygen-dependent. Oxygen concentrators require electricity. Have spare oxygen tanks available and ready to pack and go at a moment’s notice. Special needs shelters will not have oxygen available for elder loved ones. Caregivers must provide their own.

Before depending on a generator to operate special equipment, a caregiver must know how to use the generator safely and must be sure he can obtain fuel over the long term.

Elders’ Medications and Vital Records during Emergencies

This might be one of the most important things while looking at Emergency Elder Care. It is best to keep infirm elders’ medications and copies of their prescriptions stored together in a waterproof tote. This helps to prevent last-minute scrambling to find medications. The same storage technique works well for small medical equipment, too, like blood pressure cuffs, lancets, blood sugar monitors, etc.

Regarding records that are vital in an emergency, Durable Powers of Attorney and Living Wills top the list. Keep these and Drivers’ Licenses, Social Security cards, Medicare and Medicaid cards together with Home Health Care folders, doctors’ names, and contact information in their briefcase.

Emergency Evacuation of Bedridden Elderly

Know that shelters will not accept unique beds often needed by the bedridden. Elders staying in special needs shelters will have to sleep on cots, aggravating, or initiating pressure wounds. Some special needs shelters may not allow caregivers to remain with their loved ones. Become well informed regarding special needs sheltering options!

Additionally, many bedridden elders have developed severe contractures of the legs, arms, and spine. It can be nearly impossible to find a safe and proper position in a vehicle for placing elders who aren’t able to bend. If the caregiver is unsure about this, he should do a dry run to see how people and emergency supplies will fit.

Communications Problems during Disasters

It is important to note that communications inevitably break down during severe disasters. During the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005, telephone communications were out for weeks. After land-line phone services were restored, circuits were jammed by families trying to find or check on one another.

TV stations and internet services were out of commission. Cordless telephones did not work without electricity. Only cell phones with texting ability were useful. Texting won’t be very helpful, however, when power is unavailable for recharging.

Discuss disaster preparedness plans in advance. Let friends and family know where each party will be, and of alternative means of contact for reunion purposes.

Emergency Food, Water, Clothing

The American Red Cross offers excellent suggestions and checklists to get families started in emergency planning preparations. They explain how much drinking water should be available per person. They also describe what sorts of foods and other supplies are appropriate for stocking in advance of an emergency.

Yet, most resources do not cover preparing a dependent senior for such situations. In preparing elders for an immediate evacuation, keep a backpack ready for loved ones; pre-packed with a change of clothing, a toothbrush and personal items, an excellent book or game, a few favorite snacks, and even a teddy bear.

In predictable disasters, like hurricanes, include these “non-standard” supplies:

  • Depends or other disposable undergarments
  • Draw-sheets for turning or lifting the bedridden
  • Disposable bed-liners for a comfortable, sanitary sleeping environment

Comforting Elders during a Disaster

Dementia patients are very easily disturbed by changes in routine. Be sure demented elders have some of their favorite foods and pastimes available to them. Many dementia patients seem to have an excessive desire for sweets. A supply of cookies, candies, and gum can add to their peace and happiness. Coloring books, playing cards, or favorite music can all help keep demented seniors happily occupied.

Still, having her calm prepared caregiver nearby will give the greatest sense of comfort and safety of all! Well-prepared caregivers insure themselves and their loved ones the very best chance of survival in any disaster situation.

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How to Wash Clothes Step by Step

The electric washing machine and dryer are time and labor-saving devices, but they’ve only been around for the masses for about 60 years. For thousands of years before that, people had to do their laundry by hand. How to Wash Clothes Step by Step is something many people no longer know!

How to Wash Clothes Step by Step article cover image

If you’re ever in a survival situation and don’t have the electricity or other resources needed to do your laundry by machine, then you’ll need to do laundry by hand. It will take extra work, but you’ll find you can get your clothes very clean.

How to Wash Clothes Step by Step

Laundering clothes frequently is especially crucial in the event of a pandemic that’s viral. You want clothing kept free of germs so that you’re disinfecting and cleansing each item. 

How to Wash Clothes Step by Step: Get your supplies

First, you’ll need some supplies – including a large washtub (could be a bathtub, sink, or separate bucket), detergent, clothesline, and clothespins. In the past, people used washing boards to help scrub items, but that’s not necessary.

Get the water ready

Once you have supplies ready, fill up your washtub with cold water. Add detergent – the amount will depend on how much water you’re using. If you’re using a large bathtub, you can use the same amount you’d use for a washing machine.

How to Wash Clothes Step by Step: presoak

Place your dirty laundry in the large tub – as many as you can fit loosely in the tub. Allow the clothing to soak for a few minutes. Then swish them through the sudsy water gently. 

Annnnd Rinse

Keep swishing until the items are clean. You may need to scrub stubborn areas. Drain the tub and then add cold, clean water. Raise and lower each item until you feel that all the soap has been removed. 

She does her laundry in her bathtub and hangs it to dry there too!

You may need to rinse twice if you find that your clothing still feels soapy. Then drain the water from the tub. Gently squeeze each garment in the laundry to remove excess water. 

Wring it out

You don’t want to twist the fabric as that can stretch it. Once you’ve removed the excess water, you can then hang your clothes to dry. If you’re able to attach a clothesline outside in the sun, then this is the best method for drying and disinfecting. 

Hang it up

The sunlight acts as a natural dryer and can sanitize items at the same time. If you’re not able to hang clothing outside, you can use areas over tile or bathtubs to allow the things to dry.

You can remove even more excess water by laying items on a clean towel and then rolling up the towel to absorb excess moisture. This towel water extraction idea will shorten the drying time. When you’re cleaning items such as towels and sheets, you may want to use warm or hot water if it’s available. However, even if you have to use cold water, the soap will help break down soil and get them clean.

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