Deciding what type of chicken coop to purchase for your backyard chicken flock can be daunting. However, it is essential for your flock to call home for years to come! We’ve broken this task down into three simple choices to help you make the best decision for yourself and your flock.
What to look for in a backyard chicken coop
The chicken coop is her castle! Proper housing is the key to happy, healthy, and productive chickens. A good backyard greenhouse design should:
- Be immune to predators Not only from the sides, but from above and below. Predators to watch out for include but are not limited to raccoons, foxes, coyotes, wolves, coyotes, and hawks. Hint: Select the correct wiring network. The holes in standard Chicken Wire are large. It will keep the chickens in, but the raccoons can get through those holes and get to your flock. We recommend a Half Inch Square Hardware Cloth.
- Save enough space Be roomy: at least 4 square feet per bird if the birds can roam freely during the day, and at least 10 square feet per bird if they are permanently confined within a chicken run. Chickens generally use very little space indoors, preferring to be outdoors except when sleeping.
- Provide ventilation – Be breezy enough to prevent respiratory ailments, to which chickens are particularly susceptible, but not so dehydrated during the winter that they freeze their tender bottoms! Chickens can tolerate the cold as long as they are not exposed to the wind.
- Be easy to clean – so as not to exacerbate insects and bacteria. The ease of cleaning also saves you time on chicken chores!
- Provide roosting poles For your flock to sleep on. We recommend a space 2″ wide and allow 5-10″ of space for each bird from side to side. Provide 10 inches between the poles if more than one pole is needed, using a ladder-like step, with the farthest pole several inches higher than the nearest.
- Provide nesting boxes – Encourage egg-laying with one nest for every four or five hens. Nest boxes should be raised at least a few inches off the ground but lower than the lowest perching pole. It also needs to be dark and “out of the way” to satisfy the hen’s instinct to lay her eggs in a safe place.
1. Prefabricated chicken coops
The easiest way to have a chicken coop in your backyard is to buy a flock-ready coop. This is an excellent option if you don’t have the right set of tools or if you don’t feel like spending the time. We founded My Pet Chicken to make it easy and fun for people to own chickens, and our coop kit includes everything you need to get started.
Some of our favorite ready-made templates are:
- Bungalow barn
- Large Snap Lock Coop from Formex
- Gambrel XL Coop roof
- Club co-op
2. Make your own chicken coop
If your carpentry skills are up to par and you want to build your own, we offer several great chicken coop building plans. Each provides blueprints, materials lists, cut lists, and either building notes or full “how-to” instructions. Hint: To help save costs, consider using reclaimed building materials, especially for wood and windows.
3. Custom-made chicken coops
If you’re looking for something a little more custom with accessories that pre-built cages don’t provide but you don’t want to build yourself, consider a custom-made coop. Our custom chicken coops include these upgrades:
- Automatic door
- Hot drying bar
- Electric or solar options
- Epoxy floor
Keep in mind when ordering a custom coop, there is often 8 weeks or more built time. Allow this time in your planning.
Before making any barn purchase, it’s a good idea to consider local laws, your situation, and the amount of space you feel your flock needs for your management style.