Choosing the Right Chicken Coop Type...
OK, You've Decided on the Type of Chickens That You Want and How Many, Now It's Time to Decide How to House Your New Flock.
When it comes to housing your flock, there are a lot of different sizes, shapes, and designs to pick from.
To help keep it simple, I'm just going to cover the most common chicken coop types & sizes.
On this page we're going to talk about housing your newborn chicks and small to medium coops.
This type isn't a coop at all, but it is your baby chicken's home. When Chicks are newborn their home is actually a brooder. They will live here for the first 5 to 6 weeks of their life.
Very small populations of young chicks are well served by the basic, homemade type of brooder. You can also buy inexpensive kits and assembled brooders from sources online if you will be re-using it.
The main thing to keep in mind is that it needs to keep your baby chickens warm and safe until they get big enough to be in an adult chicken coop.
The entry level coop (pictured above) and rectangle shapes are pretty common types for small chicken coop types as well as small tractor style coops (sometimes called arks).
The small chicken coop is a relatively simple design and can generally hold from 3 to 5 chickens depending on the chicken coop type, size, layout, and type of chickens you choose..
When you are considering a small flock of 3 to 5 chickens, on a budget, then a smaller coop is a good choice to get started with.
A small chicken coop usually provides an enclosed roosting area, nesting box (internal or external), and a wire enclosed outdoor space known as a “run” (though not always, sometimes you just get a coop without a run which means you will need to provide a run or free range your chickens).
The run is where your hens can spend their non-roosting time exercising and socializing with each other (not to mention eating some of those nasty backyard pests). 9-10 square feet per bird is ideal, but rare on a coop due to size constraints. You can always add an additional chicken run or even let them free range if you have the available space.
The coop will ideally provide indoor space of three to four square feet per bird although less than that is common in many of the smaller coops, again due to size constraints.
Some, though not all designs will have screened mesh bottoms for the chicken manure to drop through to the ground.
Others like the one pictured above have a tray that you just slide out and scrape off into your compost pile or into the trash.
If they don’t have this feature, you will have to get inside to clean it manually (we recommend putting a board under where they roost to make clean up faster and easier).
Depending on the weight and design of your small chicken coop, you can re-position it occasionally as you would a tractor type coop to provide fresh grass in the wired open air section.
A medium-sized coop type has a few important differences compared to the smaller chicken coop.
Due to the larger number of chickens intended for this size coop (4 to 12 chickens), they are generally larger in size and heavier, have multiple nesting boxes, and aren't easily movable although some are set up as tractors with wheels that can be moved fairly easily.
There is usually a screen mesh wire floor so the chicken manure can fall through either to the ground or into a “poop drawer” or "poop tray" (a poop drawer or tray is a great feature if you're not going to ever move the coop or if it doesn't have a wire mesh drop through bottom).
It usually has outside access to the egg box (nest box) for easy egg collection (8 hens may give you 6-8 eggs per day).
Medium sized coops (and some of the smaller coops) usually have an access ramp for the chickens to climb up that acts as a door that can be open or closed. This is a good feature because it helps to keep predators out when closed.
The attached screened run should allow for at least 1 sq. yard per chicken (for our friends on the metric system, 1 sq. meter) although again this is rarely the case when you buy a coop since you'd need about 80 square feet for a flock of 8 which would be around 8' x 10' feet just for the chicken run.
The coop pictured below (The Atlantis) is available in the Southern California area for around $425.00 ($450.00 as shown with the optional front flower box) plus tax. This coop has two large, roomy nesting boxes, 24 square feet of run space, approximately 80" of perch space with 2 roosting bars and a 4' x 3' coop with lots of volume. It also features a draw bridge style ramp that you can close at night for extra security. To learn more about this coop or if interested in purchasing, please visit AllAmericanCoops.com
We hope this section on Small & Medium Coops was helpful for understanding a little more about the differences in coop types and deciding what might work best for you!