The BEST small CHICKEN COOP
by Jennifer Behm – Chicken farmer| Last Updated– 06 February 2021
- Choice products wooden chicken coop – “best BACKYARD coop”
- Kinsuite mobile chicken tractor with Wheels – “best PORTABLE chicken tractor”
- New age pet ECOflex fontana chicken Barn – “best PLASTIC small chicken coop”
- Large Metal Chicken Run Cage – “best chicken coop RUN under 300$”
- PawHut chicken CAGE with covered Run – “best chicken coup and run”
- PawHut customer rated chicken coop – “best cheap chicken coop for SALE”
- Omitree deluxe Large chicken coop – “LARGE coop for 6 chickens”
- Zoovilla country Style chicken coop – “SMALL chicken Coop DESIGN”
- Wooden SMALL chicken backyard hen house “TOP RATED chicken coup”
- Petsfit small pet house “the best small Poultry house for 4 birds”
Whether you have a full-on farm or a small and simple backyard, technology and some building tools make it extremely easy nowadays to have a chicken coop in your backyard. Chicken coops are essentially mini houses for chickens, and they can make your chicken farming practices much more organized, humane and they can make the process, in general, a lot easier.
The market for chicken coops is extremely diverse, sometimes making it a difficult process to try and find the best chicken coop for your personal preferences. But it can also be easy to find your coop, as long as you know what you’re looking for. In this guide, you’ll find some of the more vital information to consider before buying a chicken coop, including the different designs, styles, and features to look for. Not only that, but this guide also contains some of the best coops on the market, reviewed and featured all in one place for your convenience.
- Top 10 Chicken Coops Reviews
- What are the best chicken coops for the backyard?
- Chicken Coop Buyer’s Guide
- Best Location for your Chicken Coop
- Why build a Chicken Pen?
MOST ECO-FRIENDLY & GREAT PROTECTIVE OPTION
|ecoFLEX Fontana Chicken Barn||
BEST VALUE & MOST HIGH-QUALITY
|Best Choice Products||
LARGEST DESIGN & BEST ROAMING OPTION
|Metal Chicken Run||
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Factors to Consider Before Purchasing
Size and Design
The most important thing to consider when you’re thinking about getting a chicken coop is the size and overall design that you’ll need. Coops come in a variety of different designs, composed of different materials and coming with different accessories. To start, you should consider how much space you have to place a chicken coop, and then consider how many chickens you have.
If you have a higher amount of chickens, you’ll want a bigger cage that allows them to have the room they need to roam. But you should make sure that you have the space for a larger chicken coop in your yard, since some of them can measure a few feet long.
Are you collecting eggs?
You should also consider whether you’re planning on collecting eggs, since you’ll need a chicken coop that comes with a nesting box as well. The nesting box should be large enough for your chicken to sit comfortably. It should also be raised and covered with a roof to keep them dry in the rain.
Lastly, the material on chicken coops should be able to resist the types of weather that it’ll come into contact with while outdoors. Whether this means waterproof properties or UV-resistance, you’ll want a chicken hutch that has a long lifespan even when it’s placed outside. Even more, you’ll want the types of latches on the doors to withstand predators gaining access to the inside of the cage.
Ventilation And Air Flow
A close second element is an air flow. Hens require enough airflow, similar to we do.
An improperly ventilated cage can result in respiratory illness, in addition to some awful smells you don’t intend to experience.
But on the other hand, its not an instance of ‘a lot more ventilation = far better’. Air flow also impacts temperature as well as you require to make certain you don’t make your hens also chilly due to the fact that you’ve built them an air passage.
Appropriate air flow is critical for a healthy group. When checking out tiny hen coops, take into consideration the windows, openings, and vents.
Safety From Predators
An unprotected coop can enable hen predators inside to decimate your group. Killers impend and also the ground.
Protect your poultries, they are your obligation! Think of these elements:
- Are the latches secure on the doors and also nesting boxes?
- Are the openings safe against rodents and predators?
- Is it enclosed, including the run outside?
- Exactly how durable are the products made use of to develop the cage?
- A lot of coops are predator proof by default, yet here are a couple of extra ideas to predator proof your cages house.
How Much Elevation Do You Need?
Raised hen cages tend to be the more secure option because predators are unable to eat via the flooring.
If killers can not access the within part of the cage, your chickens have a refuge to stay. You additionally want to ensure the business utilized a long lasting material for the flooring of the coop.
If your cage is not elevated, you can constantly build your very own base, yet if you have actually not bought or developed a coop yet, maintain this in mind.
Best cheap chicken coops Review
best BACKYARD chicken COOP
TOP 1 – best choice products wooden chicken coop
Classified as having the most high-quality construction, this chicken coop from Best Choice Products is great for anyone needing a compact, reliable and durable house for their chickens. It has a higher quality construction compared to the other houses due to its raised nesting house as well as its wide and long roaming area attached to it.
The roaming area is closed in with an anti-corrosion wire material that can resist rust and prevent predators from breaking through the cage. There’s also easy access between the roaming area and the nesting box because of the sliding door and the ramp. The house itself also has two doors with metal locking systems to prevent any chickens from escaping or other animals from getting in.
Design & Materials
Regarding the design of the house, it’s much larger than other cages while still offering maximum durability in the meantime. It measures 79.5 inches by 26.5 inches by 51.5 inches, and it weighs only 50 pounds. Because of that, you can easily transport this cage around your yard.
Furthermore, it’s made from a natural fir wood material that offers weather-resistant and waterproof properties. Given that, you can confidently place this chicken coop outdoors without worrying about the rain negatively impacting the construction.
Because of its high quality and larger design, this chicken coop is more recommended for people that want a long-lasting coop with weather-resistant capabilities.
- Features a raised housing
- A solid rainproof fir wood construction makes the cage durable even in unfavorable weather conditions.
- High-quality, weather-resistant and natural fir wood construction.
- OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 79.5″(L) x 26.5″(W) x 51.5″(H)
best PORTABLE chicken tractor
TOP 2 – Kinsuite mobile chicken tractor with Wheels
Named the best chicken tractor overall, the Kinsuite mobile chicken tractor is suitable for a variety of different animals during practically any type of weather. It’s highly equipped with various features to improve the living condition of your chickens. For instance, its siding and flooring have been treated with a resin to resist moisture. The roof is even specifically designed to make water runoff instead of collecting.
Even more, there’s a radiant barrier sheathing on the roof to keep the inside cool. On the interior, the house is constructed to have three different nests, two vents and even two roosts for chickens to feel comfortable. Lastly, there’s a main door and a chicken door, each treated with wood resin.
Design & Materials
Overall Dimensions: 96.3″ L x 31.5″ W x 46.4″. Outdoor Run Area: 56″ L x 31.5″ W x 31.5 H. Living Area: 25.2″ L x 31.5″ W x 33.8″ H. Living Area Door: 12.1″ W x 17.3″ H. Outdoor Run Door: 25.2″ W x 28.3″ H, making it great for housing up to 2 chickens inside. That’s more than double what the other chicken coops can offer. It does weigh around 200 pounds because of its solid wood construction, so you’ll have to accommodate for portability.
The mobile chicken tractor is suitable for anyone that has the budget and the means to have a highly-beneficial and reliable chicken coop in their backyard. It’s one of the easiest houses to assemble and it even comes with touch up paint for when the weather chips the outer construction.
- Galvanized metal pull-out tray for very easy cleaning. Suitable for up to 2 birds depending on size.
- Two nest boxes with 2 compartments and four perches.
- Easy assembly
- Made from animal friendly treated timber.
best PLASTIC chicken COOP
TOP 3 – New Age Pet ecoFLEX Fontana Chicken Barn
Offering an ecoFLEX material in addition to a sturdy, solid construction, the New Age Pet Fontana Chicken Barn is suitable for anyone needing more protection for their chickens. EcoFLEX is classified as a material composed of a blend of recycled wood and polymer. Because of that, it’s eco-friendly and durable at the same time.
Even more, this chicken barn comes with a removable roof that can allow you to more easily clean the inside of the barn. Additionally, it’s also resistant to moisture, warping, cracking and even splitting. So not only does the construction withstand against weather and other debris, but it’s great for the environment.
Design & Materials
As for the design of this barn, it measures 34 inches by 47 inches by 24.5 inches, so you can easily fit anywhere from three to four chickens inside. This barn does weigh more than other ones on the market, since it features a solid construction.
But the protective qualities as well as the eco-friendly features should make the barn worth the extra weight. It’s also available at an affordable price, so you can easily afford to protect your chickens the way that they deserve.
Given the affordable price, eco-friendly construction, as well as the solid protection, this chicken barn from New Age Pet, is recommended for anyone that needs a durable house to place their chickens outside. It offers great ventilation that’s covered by the roof in the rear, so it functions as a fully-enclosed house to provide your chickens with the safety needed to avoid predators while outside.
- Features durable, solid construction for optimal protection
- Made with ecoFLEX, which consists of recycled materials
- A removable roof makes this barn easy to clean when needed
- 10-year warranty, 12 + sq ft of interior space
- Note: Ventilation space is provided in the rear of the product.
best Poultry RUN under 300$
TOP 4 – Large chicken run
Constructed solely with a large roaming space in mind, the Metal Chicken Cage is suitable for people with a large number of chickens. It features a high-quality steel frame with ground pegs that keep it sturdy against the ground. The steel is UV-resistant and waterproof.
Moreover, the open design allows the chickens to roam in a wide space and benefit from feeling the grass for a ground. You can easily set this cage up in minutes, considering it’s simply a metal frame.
Design & Materials
The metal frame measures 13 feet by 10 feet by 6.4 feet, so it can fit the highest number of chickens out of any coop on this list. But this open design does make the cleanup process difficult, and there isn’t a nesting box option.
This Walsport cage is recommended for anyone that needs a free-range option for their chickens, given that it’s over 19-feet long.
- Features the only true free-range option.
- Steel galvanized frame provides resistance against rust, corrosion and fading, which makes it suitable for using outside, even in the most extreme climates.
- The cover has the advantage of high UV and water-resistance.
- This product will come in three packages.
best chicken CAGE with covered RUN
TOP 5 – PawHut chicken CAGE kits
Aft If you’re looking for a chicken house that’s capable of housing large chickens and offers the most convenience for you, the PawHut Hen House may offer the most benefits for you. When you first receive I it in the mail, you’ll notice that it comes with a large wired box attached below the nesting box area. This is beneficial for having various chickens since some can run around on the bottom part while the others are in the nesting box.
In addition to that, this box also features an adequate amount of ventilation, since the doors and windows are ventilated. Not to mention, the whole bottom compartment is enclosed by a durable wire fence. This coop in general has a compact and low footprint design that’s convenient for both your chickens and you.
Design & Materials
The design in particular features a large amount of space for your chickens to nest in, feed-in and roam in. There’s a built-in ramp as well as a dual-section nesting box to offer separate spaces for each chicken.
- Overall Dimensions: 75″ L x 32″ D x 41″ H
- Egg Box Dimensions: 16″ H x 28″ W x 14″ D
- Outdoor Run Dimensions: 37″ L x 30″ D x 28″ H
- Nest Size: 41″ H x 24″ L x 32″ D
- Net Weight: 60 lbs
The material itself is classified as a weather-resistant, treated wood. That being said, you can easily place this hen house outside without having to worry about weather negatively impacting its design. There’s even a waterproof asphalt roof that can push the rainwater away from the nesting section.
Overall, I would highly recommend this chicken house from PawHut to anyone that has either a larger number of chickens or for people that have chickens larger. It offers great roaming space, durable construction and it’s convenient for setting up along with a wired fence due to its ability to attach to fence enclosures.
- The removable tray can be pulled out for easy cleaning. Solid safety locks prevent predators from entering and protect pets.
- Wooden chicken coop is divided into two parts that can be used separately.
- Wooden chicken coop is made of high-quality natural fir.
- Extra-large chicken coop has a one-year warranty.
best CHEAP chicken COOP for SALE
TOP 6 – PawHut customer rated chicken coop
Made with a galvanized iron net, this PawHut Chicken Cage offers UV-resistant and anti-corrosion properties. The cage itself features a sliding door and a ramp that helps to separate between a resting floor and a nesting box. To offer optimal protection in the nesting area, there’s a waterproof, green asphalt roof that can keep moisture out of the design.
Additionally, there are lockable metal slide bolts to keep predators from gaining access to the inside. And you can even easily access the waste compartment for cleaning, since the tray is easily removed from the back.
Design & Materials
The cage itself is a bit smaller than other ones on the market, measuring 59.25 inches by 21.25 inches by 34.25 inches, but the strong and durable construction can make up for this smaller design. Additionally, it also only weighs 39.6 pounds, making it easily carried between different locations in your yard.
Overall, this cage is highly recommended for anyone that’s on a budget while still looking for a high-quality cage, since it’s available for a great price and offers a sturdy fir wood construction.
- Only weighs 39.6lbs
- The galvanized fence around the coop is strong and durable to protect your pets from other predators.
- The running area of the cage isn’t covered
LARGE coop for 6 chickens
TOP 7 – Omitree Deluxe Large Chicken Coop
For those of you interested in finding a chicken coop that offers optimal airflow, the Omitree Deluxe Large Chicken Coop may be suitable for you. It features around 80% of the design in a wire material, making it extra beneficial for free-range chickens. In addition to the corrosion-resistant wireframe, this chicken coop comes with a removable PVC bottom layer to ensure that you can easily clean the coop.
In a Additionally, it offers more versatility than other chicken coops because it features two high-quality ramps with timbre ridges to keep the chicken from sliding back down. Also regarding an easy clean-up process, this chicken coop comes with a deep pullout tray that can prevent the waste from spilling over.
Design & Materials
The house altogether measures 12.4 square feet, making it especially beneficial for letting your chickens run back and forth. The ramps to take a wider amount of space, sometimes making it difficult for larger chickens to squeeze between the outer wire wall and the ramp. So you’ll want to keep this in mind if you have larger chickens.
As for the construction itself, the house weighs around 69 pounds, so it’s easier to transport than some other cages on the market. And it features around 80% wire-enclosing. The raised nesting box, however, is made of a weather-proof wood material for durability and protection.
Because of the long-range design as well as the increased airflow of this cage, I would recommend it to anyone with chickens that need to run and want the increased ventilation. The wire construction allows for optimal airflow and it can benefit practically every chicken’s experience and well-being.
- More affordable than other chicken coops on the market
- Offers optimal airflow with the wire design.
- Easy to clean, given the deep removable tray and the PVC floor
- There are several holes that are not pre drilled.
SMALL chicken Coop DESIGN
TOP 8 – zoovilla Country Style Chicken Coop
Available for a great price and offering a lightweight construction, this chicken coop from zoovilla Country Style is great for anyone on a budget and needing an easy coop to set up. The cage features a natural fir wood material that offers weather-resistant and UV-resistant properties.
Additionally, this cage offers room to keep all chickens occupied, since it contains an area for nesting, resting and there’s even a ramp to get from one space to another. The ramp has raised timbre for safety, and there’s even a sliding door for easy access.
Design & Materials
The hen house in general measures 52.8 inches by 26 inches by 40.5 inches. And it only weighs 69.7 pounds, making it easy to transport throughout your backyard. The material itself is a natural dir wood that’s painted with a non-toxic, waterproof and eco-friendly varnish coating.
Because of its super lightweight and protective design as well as its affordable price, this chicken house from Tangkula is recommended to anyone that needs a chicken coop while on a budget. The roof is even waterproof and UV-resistant, accounting for more long-lasting qualities.
- chicken coop comes with a nesting box, resting box, and ramp
- Features a raised housing and raised perches
- Not suitable for larger chickens, since they may have trouble fitting around the sides of the ramp
Top Rated Medium Hen House
TOP 9 – Wooden Hen House
The Backyard Wooden Hen House is advised for anyone that has a higher budget and needs a more high-quality chicken coop. It’s made from a durable, thick wooden material that fully encloses the design. The wooden resists UV rays, impacts, water and other chemicals, keeping your chicken completely safe.
Even more, it has four different nesting spots and has easy access to the egg collection. Furthermore, the thick wooden construction is fully-insulated, keeping your chickens comfortable in both the winter and the summer.
Design & Materials
The design measures 69 inches by 26 inches by 39 inches, and it weighs 65 pounds. You can conveniently set up this coop, since it doesn’t require any tools for assembly. And you can easily adjust the amount of ventilation in the coop, given the vents in the back.
Because of its solid, insulated, and reliable construction, this chicken coop is recommended for anyone that has the budget. You have more control over the type of environment your chickens are exposed to, and this house is capable of being used all-year-round.
- Fully-insulated for all-year-round.
- Big front door & pen door for easy catching.
- Innovative style and design.
- Size: 69”(L) x 26”(W) x 39.4”(H) provide LARGER 9.9ft² ground activity space for 2-3 chicken.
Best small Poultry house for 4 chickens
TOP 10 – Petsfit small pet house
Petsfit small chicken house is one of the most reliable and high-quality brands, known for releasing the best products for a range of pets. This chicken coop in particular is great for its versatility, in that it’s capable of housing a range of different pets inside.
There are two separate living spaces, accounting for chickens that are nesting and those that are resting. Both floors in their construction are made with a removable PVC material, making it easier to clean the house.
Design & Materials
Overall, it measures 53 inches by 25 inches by 28 inches, and it can fit at least two and maybe three chickens inside at once. It’s also lightweight, since it only weighs 49 pounds for easy transporting. The outer paint is even UV and corrosion-resistant, so you can place this chicken coop outside.
Given the compact and sturdy design, this Petsfit Wooden Hutch is great for anyone needing a smaller house for their chickens to save room in their yard. It’s also easy to care for, since the two living spaces have removable PVC floors.
- An easy-to-clean removable sliding pan in PVC plastic covers more than half of the upper level.
- With the design of the wire door, you can watch your pets without disturbing.
- 2 living spaces have removable PVC floors.
- Not suitable for larger chickens because of the smaller living space
Backyard Chicken House Buyer’s Guide
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Factors to Consider Before Purchasing
Your chicken house or coop is a major investment so it is important to take time and make sure you make the right choice for you. The style of chicken coop you decide upon depends on many factors, including the size of your flock and the space limitations of your property. Chicken coops come in many shapes and sizes, but can roughly be put into the following categories.
- A-frame: Generally among the smallest coops, the A-frame uses a minimum of materials and is a space-saving design to house a flock of just a few birds. A compact shelter is attached to a protected run in a long, triangular structure. (A ‘hoop’ coop follows the same basic plan but with an arched shape instead.)
- Tractor: A tractor coop is unique in that it’s meant to be moved from one location to another. Most often built with wheels or on skids, a tractor is pulled to areas where the chickens work the soil in the attached, open-floor run.
- All-in-one: An all-in-one coop features a small shelter for a modest-sized flock and an incorporated run under a single roof, with one or both large enough for human entry, yet it’s small enough to be relocated easily.
- Walk-in: Often a repurposed toolshed or playhouse, a walk-in coop is large enough to accommodate humans inside the shelter. The walk-in’s size allows for bigger flocks and often provides storage for chicken feed and equipment. Many are built with an adjacent run.
The Importance of the Different Areas in a Chicken Coop
The chicken coops on the market today are all designed to provide the right combination of space to ensure that the birds are happy and healthy. Chicken coops or hen-houses comprise three areas a perch, a nesting area and an outside run.
At night, hens like to perch as high above the ground as they can, as this gives them a sense of safety from predators. Ideally, perches should be at least one or two feet in the air, with around nine inches of space around them. Perches made from plastic or metal piping are not suitable for chickens, as they cannot grip the perch properly.
In fact, chickens prefer to perch on a flat surface with gently curving edges so their feet are protected as they grip onto the perch. So the perch should be about 2.5 to 4 cm wide, with curved edges. You should be able to remove your perches for cleaning and they should be positioned well away from food or water, as chickens create over 65% of their droppings during the night.
Hens will always seek out dark, quiet and secluded places to lay their eggs. By providing suitable nesting boxes within the coop, you can provide your hens with their ideal laying environment and a space where you know their eggs will be clean and protected and easy to find!
Many traditional wooden hen houses have the nesting boxes protruding at the side and access via a top locking lid, so you can open it and collect the eggs with minimal disturbance to the hen-house as a whole. A nest box should be just a little larger than a crouching bird (that is, not one standing at full height), around 12 inches square and about 9 inches high. Giving more height to a nest box is counterproductive, as the hen will try to sleep there, and scratch around, potentially damaging the eggs. They will also foul it more, meaning more work for you!
Nest boxes should be lined with soft dry litter and raised from the ground, but ideally never higher than the perches. Up to three hens will share one nesting box happily, but if you have three hens, two boxes will give them more options.
If your hens are not to be totally free-range, (sometimes it is not practical in a suburban garden), you should invest in a chicken coop with an integral run. If you are going to keep your chickens in a run for most of the time then as a rule of thumb you should allow around 1 square meter of run space for each bird. The run should also have sufficient height so that your chickens can stretch their wings and flap about, but also ideally offer some refuge from rain and sun without necessarily returning back into the hen-house.
A sensible solution is to have a raised hen-house with access to the area under the house from the integral run. Remember, a run will need to keep hens in and predators out, so it should have good quality heavy-duty wire netting. Hen houses with detachable runs are also easier to move if you wish to rotate the position of your hen-house around the garden during the year.
An alternative is to simply section off an area of your garden around their coop. That way they have their own area to roam anywhere they please. The grass in that area will soon wear thin so many people simply spread bark chippings after a while which can be raked out every couple of months and replenished.
If you do decide to give a designated area over to your chickens then keep in mind that you will need to take steps to ensure foxes or other predators can’t access their run by simply climbing over or tunneling under the fence.
Basic Considerations when Choosing a Hen House or Chicken Coop
It is important that you spend a bit of time deciding what size of hen-house or coop you should buy and where you are going to put it, if you want your chickens to be healthy and happy. Here are some essential points to consider when looking at chicken coops:
Is there sufficient room for the number of hens you wish to keep?
There are national guidelines on the minimum space available per bird. For example DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK) has a guideline of 1 sq foot per bird. However that is a minimum and in our opinion not enough, the more space you can give them the happier they will be and the more they will lay. We suggest that you start with a minimum of 2 sq foot per bird, more if you can. Having extra space to start with is a good idea as it also allows you the option of adding another bird later to your initial two or three.
Always find out the internal measurements of a coop before you purchase it and allow at least 2 sq ft per bird. This will probably mean that most coops advertised for 8 birds, based on the legal rule of 1 per sq ft, will really only be suitable for 4 birds. The more crowded a coop is the more difficult it will be to keep clean and the more likely you are to have health problems with your chickens.
Chickens will also need about 3 feet of head room to jump around and stretch their wings, so the height of the coop is also important.
It should be easy to clean and to collect eggs.
As you collect eggs nearly every day, it makes sense to choose a chicken coop that offers an easy way to access those eggs, with the minimum disturbance to your hens. Also, Your hen-house will need regular cleaning to keep your chickens clean and healthy, so ease of cleaning is a major consideration. Regular cleaning is essential to avoid the build-up of droppings and reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases. A weekly clean should only take about 15 minutes in a well designed and maintained hen-house.
Good ventilation is essential
Air inside a chicken coop can soon become toxic due to the high level of ammonia in chicken droppings. Poor ventilation will quickly lead to respiratory problems in your hens, so it is important to keep fresh air circulating. However, chickens cannot cope with drafts, so your hen-house should be designed to give maximum ventilation with minimum drafts. Ventilation holes should be near the top of the coop, allowing for the toxic air to escape without the chickens being in a draft.
Is the coop secure from predators such as foxes, day and night?
Your chicken coop must be secure against predators including foxes and rats. A housing area that is raised off the ground offers better protection from predators trying to dig their way in.
The coop should be weatherproof
Chickens are fairly hardy and can be out in most weather. However, part of their outside area should ideally provide protection from summer sun and shelter from rain and wind. If chickens can spend most of their daylight hours outside they will not befoul their coop as much, which is better for everyone. If you purchase a wooden coop then you will need to treat it with an animal-friendly preservative at least once a year.
Your chicken coop should also have an integral run that will provide a small secure area for your hens to scratch around in. You should also try to provide as large a safe predator-free outside area for them as you can and ideally they would be able to have the run of your backyard or garden.
Does the coop look good?
If this is going to be in your backyard, then it is likely that you are going to be looking at it every day, so you want something that will not be an eyesore. Nowadays there are lots of well-designed coops at prices to suit all budgets and all tastes, so you should find something that you will be happy to look at all year round.
Best Location for your Chicken Coop
Before you purchase or build your chicken coop it is important that you work out where exactly it is best positioned. Before you do anything however you must check that the deeds to your property or lease allow you to keep chickens. In addition, many cities and counties have strict rules and ban the keeping of chickens in some instances, so always check first before buying anything.
Choosing the right location and position of the coop is essential to the well-being of your chickens and also for the practicalities of everyday access for cleaning and maintenance. Some of the most important points you will need to consider when locating your chicken coop are:
- Sunlight and shade
- Prevailing winds
- Shelter from cold draughts and wind in icy weather
- Ease of access for cleaning and collecting of eggs
Exposure to natural sunlight is essential for the well-being of your flock as it provides a natural source of vitamin D3 in chickens. This particular vitamin is essential for, among other things, healthy bones and the regulation of calcium levels in the chicken’s body. Calcium, in turn, is essential in maintaining healthy egg production and for the prevention of egg binding in egg-laying chickens. Vitamin D3 is formed naturally in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.
Chickens, therefore, need the maximum amount of daylight you can provide for them, so ideally you don’t want to put your coop in deep shade under a tree. Your hens will require 12 hours of daylight and as much sunshine as you can find, as they will lay better when provided with good light.
In addition, placing your hen house where it gets a bit of direct sunlight helps it dry out after the rain. Take time to watch the movement of the sun across your garden during the day and note the best areas for maximum sunshine. You should also know that egg production will drop off as the number of daylight hours decreases in the winter.
By taking note of the path of the sun across your garden throughout the day you can figure out when and where the sun shines brightest and position your chicken coop to make the most of the available light. Remember though, that while chickens need sunlight, they also need an area of shade to keep cool on hot summer days so your chicken coop design should always incorporate a shaded area the chickens can retreat to when they need to keep cool. This is of utmost importance in the summertime and if you live in a warm climate.
The wind is also an important factor in your chicken’s well-being as exposure to draughts can often have fatal consequences. Even a relatively mild breeze can cause a dramatic drop in temperature even during summer months and an unwanted draught is often the cause of premature death in otherwise healthy chickens. Chickens are at risk particularly at night when going to roost if the roosting quarters are not adequately draught proofed.
Depending on your particular location you will find there is a prevailing wind direction in your area and by giving this a little thought and by correctly positioning your coop you can minimize the risk of any adverse effect the cold wind may have on your chickens.
If you plan on keeping chickens in a city garden or other small garden setting then you would do well to position the coop where it forms an interesting and attractive addition to the garden. You will probably be able to see your chicken coop through the window no matter where you position it in the garden, so it makes sense to choose an attractive chicken coop design and position it so that you can see what is going on. This has the added advantage of allowing you to keep a better watch out for predators and pests which can still be a problem even in an urban setting.
Apart from considering the welfare of your chickens, you should also spare a thought for the practical side of maintaining your coop on a regular basis. Remember, you will need to visit your chickens at least once a day, every day of the year, so positioning the chicken coop in an area that allows easy access in all types of weather will make the task of cleaning and egg collecting and the care of your chickens, in general, a lot less stressful and will result in a more pleasant experience for both you and your chickens.
In general, before you begin building a chicken coop you should take a little time for a couple of weeks beforehand to observe the general area you plan to keep your chickens in. Take note of the wind direction, exposed areas, the path of the sun, and the areas in the garden which don’t have too much activity and will be the least stressful for the chickens.
Chickens are natural foragers, always on the lookout for tasty shoots, grubs, or worms to eat. By providing them with well-drained areas, your hens will be active and much healthier for it. In addition, hens will take a regular dust bath to rid their feathers of parasites and insects, have a good preen, and then lie quite still in the sunshine afterward. Hens can get as much as 25% of their protein needs from fresh grass and insects and are highly effective at clearing the ground of weeds, pests, and unwanted insects.
The practical upshot of this activity means that after a time, your hens will have exhausted their patch of ground, and you should ideally move their run to another location with fresh grass, while the old patch recovers. The downside is that if you are planning to have free-range chickens, the nearest tasty shoots for your chickens will be your prize vegetables or flowers, so make sure you fence off any areas you don’t wish to become a chicken fast food area.
What is a Chicken Pen?
A chicken pen, also known as a chicken run, is pretty much an enclosed area, usually a yard or lawn, where your chickens are able to run loose and feed off of the worms, bugs and minerals on the dirt. It is usually enclosed within high chicken wire or tall fences to keep predators away, and sometimes more often than not, a chicken run is attached to the chicken coop so that the chickens can easily come in and out of their coop at will.
Why build a Chicken Pen?
Chickens need fresh air and lots of sunshine. Please take note that chickens need between 12-14 hours of daylight for your hens to lay healthy eggs on a regular basis. Hence it is not a wise move to keep your backyard chickens locked up in a chicken coop all the time. This is where building a chicken pen comes into play. With a chicken run or chicken pen, your flock of chickens will be able to roam freely throughout your backyard and not only absorb the plentiful daylight they require, but they’ll get their fair share of exercise too. If your chicken run is built correctly, it should protect the flock from predators without hampering their free-range abilities. Keeping chickens in a chicken coop with easy access to a constrained yet free ranged chicken pen is the best way to ensure your chickens will grow up to be happy and healthy. You see, only when you let your chicken flock loose in a chicken pen is when they will use their instincts to scratch and dig up the soil in hopes to find their daily intake of worms and other minerals found in the earth. A chicken run will also give them space they require to properly mate, bathe in the dirt, and (if you have a few roosters in your flock) engage in small time chicken fights which goes for some great entertainment for your enjoyment!
Rules of a Chicken Pen
Before engaging in the construction of a chicken pen, you must first consider what types of chickens you will be keeping because it can affect your chicken run designs.
If you feel that you will be raising chickens that are heavy and large and have a low probability of flying away, then your chicken pen design will be simple and you will do with just some wooden posts and some chicken wire or fencing.
On the other hand, if the size of your chicken flock varies and most of your smaller chickens have a tendency to fly over fences, then you will need to design and construct a chicken pen with either a closed in the wired or netted roof or build your pen with really high fences. That is of course if you don’t mind taking the risk of watching your pet chickens fly over to your neighbor’s house.
Something else to keep in mind beforehand are your local laws of chicken keeping. If you live in a rural area or county, raising chickens in your backyard will probably not be a problem. However, if you plan on raising your chicken flock in an urban area, then you better check with your municipality and inquire as to what the local laws about keeping chickens in your backyards are. Some laws allow for a reasonable amount of backyard chickens while other laws completely forbid the idea of keeping chickens. So be sure to get all your ducks in a row, or in this case, chickens in a row before you build your chicken pen.
Overall, having s chicken coop at your home can make it so much easier to care for your chickens. Chicken houses help to keep your animal contained while still having the ability to roam as they please. They also make the clean-up process easier, which is great for those of you with a higher number of chickens. That being said, whether you have chickens simply as pets or you’re nesting them for eggs, the best chicken coops in this list can make your chicken farming life easier.
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