Chicken Coops are the Place Where Your Chickens Live
The coop is their home. The normal activities they conduct at home aren't too much different than the activities that we humans perform.
The chickens sleep, rest, eat, “use the restroom”, lay eggs and interact with each other. Additionally the chicken coop offers protection from the elements and from predators as it does for us.
When it comes to housing your flock there are a large variety of ways to do it and types of coops available.
The coop pictured above (The Salt Box) is a model that is patented, designed, and built here in the U.S. that we're proud to be a part of. It has a lot of features that I consider to be very important for a coop.
The nesting box and ramp area is hinged for easy external access.
There is good cross flow ventilation.
There is easy access to both the coop and run which provides space for up to 12 average size hens (overall the coop is approximately 6.5' tall by 6.5' wide and is 3' deep.
The run is a modular design (approximately 19.5 sq. ft) that easily allows for expansion of the run simply by removing a panel and adding a dedicated run (highly recommended if you're unable to free range your birds).
The wire mesh used on the coop and the run is of a sufficient gauge to offer good protection and deter most predators.
It will fit comfortably in the back of a full sized pick-up truck and at 36" wide fits through the majority of back yard gates easily.
And it has a poop drawer that slides out for easy cleaning and can be used to capture the manure to be used for fertilizer and composting.
Generally speaking, the single biggest expense for your flock will be their home just as it is for people.
The term chicken coop is one of the most commonly used terms although poultry pen, chicken house, hen house, poultry shed, and backyard chicken coop are all common terms being used in the U.S.
Backyard chicken coops can be built out of existing materials or created out of existing structures.
They can also be purchased as complete structures that are designed to blend in with your home.
If you're not repurposing an existing structure. but prefer to build your own from the ground up, we have some free chicken coop plans available here.
When buying a chicken coop, the prices can range from free if you find someone that just wants to get rid of theirs to $1000.00s of dollars for buying a custom made hen house.
The Salt Box (pictured above) sells for about $695.00 plus tax as pictured and is currently available in the Southern California area. It is also available with an additional run and flower boxes to customize it to your needs. To learn more about this chicken coop and it's optional accessories, please visit our sister site; AllAmericanCoops.com
Whichever route you choose, it’s important to remember that this is your chicken’s home so you don't want to skimp on making sure it’s well constructed and secure.
Proper maintenance will help to protect your investment in your flock and their home.
All Coops Fit into One of Two Categories, Permanent or Portable.
Permanent is exactly what the name implies. It is usually set in one location with the expectation that it will remain in that location. These can accommodate any number of chickens and in some commercial operations can house 1000’s of chickens.
If you're going to have a permanent structure, choosing the right location is extremely important.
You’ll want to make sure that you position it in a location that will comply with all local regulations as well as being accessible and still offer adequate protection from the elements and predators.
Portable coops are also known as Arks or Tractors and often have wheels for ease of movement when relocating.
These are somewhat limited in capacity to 12-15 chickens since the bigger it is, the more difficult it could be to move although with enough space and a way to move it, there really is no limit on the number of chickens you can accommodate.
Coops, like our homes have basic components that need to be included to insure that they are acceptable for the basic needs of your flock. These include sufficient room to move around, nest boxes, perches, a chicken run, and feeders and waterers.
Ideally, you'll want to provide a minimum of 3-4 sq. ft. per chicken inside the coop. Too little space can lead to stress, tension and even bullying by the dominant birds so it is important to give them around this much space if possible.
Nesting boxes (pictured above) are where your hens will go to lay eggs for you. A good ratio is one box per 4 chickens although one box will suffice for up to 5-6 chickens if necessary.
Perches are the place where your chickens will rest or sleep also known as roosting. Ideally you’d like 12” to 15” inches per chicken for roosting although you can probably get away with around 10". The perch should ideally be made of a material that has a semi rough surface, is rectangular, or oblong to provide a non-slippery surface to roost on and is around 2" thick. You don't want it too small in diameter because it will be harder for your chickens to grip and balance on.
Chicken runs are a space for the chickens to get out, walk around, socialize, and get some exercise. They may be necessary if you can’t allow them to free range during the day. 9-10 square feet per chicken is a good amount of space in the run although it may not be possible due to the size constraints of the average backyard coop. Just try to get as close to this number as possible.
If your coop isn't designed to add a chicken run, it’s a fairly simple procedure to add one yourself if you have the space and your chickens will thank you!
The important factor is that they have an adequate supply of feed along with plenty of fresh, clean water.
If your coop is safe, secure and meets your chicken’s basic needs, you’ll end up with happy, healthy chickens regardless of which route you choose to house your flock.