17 Best Chicken Coops: Which Is Right For You? (Updated!)

Best Chicken Coops

Raising chickens has been trending upward in the last decade as people understand more about climate change and sustainability. Establishing a flock of backyard birds today has never been more popular.

Like baking bread or planting a victory garden, there’s something warm and comforting about taking on responsibilities of a rural nature. There is a lot to plan for if you’re considering the introduction of some little cluckers to your neighborhood but nothing more important than where your girls are going to roost: a chicken coop.

Whether you’re thinking about raising them for eggs, food, or companionship, chickens are creatures that have particular needs so they may flourish. These 17 best hen houses will not only make your flock cluck for joy but will make your job taking care of them a lot easier and more fun.

These Are The Best Chicken Coops For Your Backyard

PawHut 83 Inch Backyard Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Spacious indoor nesting area
  • Compact footprint
  • Attractive color
Price: $289.26 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Omitree Deluxe Backyard Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Compact design
  • Easy to assemble
  • Pre-painted and finished
Price: $399.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Quick to assemble
  • Nice looking
  • Easy access to interior
Price: $299.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Lazy Buddy Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Anti-slip ramp
  • Fortified nesting box lid
  • Large chicken run
Price: $334.79 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Potby Deluxe Wooden Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Simple assembly
  • It's pretty cute
  • Best for backyard flocks
Price: $167.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pets Imperial Monmouth Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Entire roof of structure lifts up
  • Tall chicken run
  • Attractive finish
Price: $324.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pets Imperial Clarence Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Compact design
  • Great looking
  • Multiple points of entry
Price: $224.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Gojooasis Wooden Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Decent price
  • Good entry level coop
  • Attractive finish
Price: $189.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Aivituvin Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Several points of entry
  • Waterproof asphalt roof
  • Attractive color
Price: $199.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Little Cottage Company Gambrel Barn Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Large enough for a person to enter
  • Aluminum gable vents
  • Great looking little barn
Price: $1,549.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
PawHut Wood Indoor Outdoor Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Frame made of solid fir
  • Hinged roof
  • Built-in slide-out tray
Price: $189.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
PawHut Wooden Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Attractive stain finish
  • Larger chicken run than similar styled coops
  • Hinged nesting box lid
Price: $299.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Petsfit Weatherproof Outdoor Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • It's very cute
  • Comes in two colors
  • Roomy living area and nesting box
Price: $189.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
PawHut 91-Inch Deluxe Large Grey Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to put together
  • Reasonable quality for price
  • Good for a couple of chickens
Price: $279.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Omitree Deluxe Wooden Backyard Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Stylish design and color
  • Suitable for four average chickens
  • 48-inch square footprint
Price: $299.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Friday Discount Backyard Chicken Coop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • It's great looking
  • Large pull-out plastic cleaning tray
  • Cute and compact
Price: $141.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Polar Aurora Large Metal Chicken Coop and Poultry Cage Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great price for the package
  • Large cage for your birds
  • High quality steel
Price: $318.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. PawHut 83 Inch Backyard Chicken Coop

    • Hinged nesting box top
    • Screened windows for ventilation
    • Large outdoor run
    • Ramp needs grip tape
    • Great kit to start but will need fortification
    • Wire mesh should be modified to protect better against predators

    Constructed from fir boards and siding finished with a water-based paint, this 83-inch Chicken Coop Kit from PawHut will look great in any yard or garden. The spacious living area for two or three chickens features two nesting boxes and perches for your birds to roost on. Open the coop up in the spring and summer and close it up for climate control during the cold winter. 

    The hinged nesting box top is perfect for collecting eggs each day. The large chicken run is fenced in with galvanized hardware cloth giving your chickens options to either lounge inside or take some time for sunbathing. You may think about getting some grip tape to apply to the ramp leading from the living area to the chicken run from your local skate shop or available here

    This is a great little kit to get you started with your flock and, with some tender loving care and maintenance, it should last for a few years. 

  2. 2. Omitree Deluxe Backyard Chicken Coop

    • Several doors for easy cleaning access
    • Pre-drilled holes; put together with a screwdriver
    • Each side of roof may be propped open
    • Good for free-range chickens; larger chicken run necessary if not
    • Made of plywood, not solid lumber
    • No slide-out tray for cleaning

    The Omitree Deluxe Backyard Chicken Coop will keep up your hens safe, clean, and comfortable in a compact set that’s perfect for beginners. The coop features several panels that provide access to the interior including both sides of the roof. Your chickens roost on one side and nest on the other with a ramp in the middle of the main coop that leads down to a wire-mesh enclosed area. Another ramp may be opened from the living area down to your yard. Dimensions of the chicken coop are 41.3″ x 35.6″ x 47.2″ overall with room for four birds, six if they’re a small breed.

    The Omitree Deluxe is painted up like a little barn to add a little rural charm to your new backyard poultry ranch. The coop is made of plywood atop a lumber frame and metal hardware. The kit is all pre-drilled so you could, if you wished, put it together with just a screwdriver. According to the manufacturer, you don’t need to be professional to build it but it would be a good idea to know your way around tools. 

    This is a great beginner kit for anyone just getting into raising chickens. To make sure your birds get the attention they need, you’re going to need some sort of fencing and other equipment for feeding and watering. Those items really won’t fit into the main coop. Chickens like to move around so keep in mind that if you live in a colder climate, they’re not going to be happy shut into a small coop like this all winter long.

  3. 3. Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop

    • Good for chickens, rabbits, or ducks
    • Clear instruction manual
    • Wire mesh secure and well-designed
    • Needs time for stain fumes to dissapate after unpacking
    • Material quality should be higher
    • Two small for more than two birds

    The Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop is large enough for a maximum of two hens, maybe three if you’re thinking of raising bantam chickens. It measures 3′ x 5′, features instructions that are simple to follow, and a pre-fab construction that makes it easy for one person to build in around an hour with just a screwdriver (although I’d recommend a cordless drill with a screw bit). This is a nice-looking house for your birds with stained wood clapboard siding and sturdy wire-mesh screening.

    There are two large doors in front allowing for easy access to the interior of the coop. A pull-out tray for catching droppings makes cleaning the coop a lot easier. The white window and door trim make for a good contrast adding to the overall good look of the structure. An access ramp leads down from the living quarters to a large scratching area however larger birds will have a tough time accessing the portion underneath the main coop.

    Some things to keep in mind with the Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop: build the coop at its final location or at least before attaching the roof. It’s fairly heavy. You may want to consider adding wire mesh or hardware cloth to the underside of the frame to prevent burrowing animals like squirrels, moles, etc. Finally, consider adding ventilation to the upper portion of the coop. 

    All that said, this is a great, compact chicken coop kit for a couple of birds for your backyard farm.

  4. 4. Lazy Buddy Chicken Coop

    • Great sliding door for ventilation with small screen holes
    • Waterproof asphalt roof
    • Living area raised off ground and rests on four plastic feet
    • A raccoon could probably get into the pen fairly easily
    • Use anchor stakes to fix to the ground
    • Needs sealant for true weather protection
    This might be the best-looking chicken coop that I’ve looked at. The different roofline with the greenish-black asphalt roof and cedar-colored wood finish is incredible. The Lazy Buddy Chicken Coop is divided into an indoor living area featuring two levels with two large nesting boxes on the second floor, nice and spacious for three to four chickens. The ground level features a floor plate that can be slid out and removed for cleaning.
    Two windows with sliding doors for venting are going to keep your birds perfectly cool and cozy. The attached chicken run gives your cluckers space to play and sunbathe surrounded by galvanized hardware cloth. Assembly is simple utilizing clear, concise instructions. The Lazy Buddy is a big chicken coop that is both sturdy and heavy-duty. If you live in an area with severe weather, consider using sealant to keep out the moisture. Also consider additional hardware or even electric fencing to keep larger predators from breaking in. 
    The Lazy Buddy is an attractive choice at a reasonable price for your backyard poultry palace.
  5. 5. Potby 41 Inch Deluxe Wooden Chicken Coop

    • Larger run space under living area than other coops
    • Pretty wood stain
    • Will enhance your backyard style
    • Plan on adding a few things to make this coop more secure
    • Suitable for two chickens at most
    • You'll have to add your own perch for your chickens to roost

    This coop from Potby features a living area for two chickens, a nesting box, and a ramp down to the attached run. The footprint is roughly 65″ x 30″ so while it’s a cute addition for your suburban yard, you’ll want to think about a larger area for your hens to scratch around. Plan on making a few modifications to this kit such as adding a perch rod in the living quarters, securing the bottom with wire mesh screening to prevent access by cats or raccoons, and maybe adding some more ventilation. Still, the basics are here.

    The roofs are covered with asphalt sheeting for weather protection. Gather your eggs by lifting the slanted top on the nesting box. Some decorative touches like the dragonfly-shaped door clatches are nice but aren’t going to protect your birds at all. The removable tray made of galvanized steel is easy to slide out and clean. Instructions to put together the coop provide Allen screw-type furniture guidance with no words so be aware there may be some cursing when assembling. 

    Here’s the thing: if you’re the type that understands what you’re getting into with raising farm animals, you’ll be just fine with putting together the Potby Chicken Coop kit and modifying it as needed. It’s a charming little chicken barn for your backyard; just make sure you do what’s necessary to keep your birds cozy and comfy. 

  6. 6. Pets Imperial Monmouth Deluxe Chicken Coop

    • Almost seven feet long
    • Lockable hardware
    • Tongue-in-groove clapboard siding
    • Not as large as online photos will have you believe
    • Unsteady structure
    • Shipped in two separately delivered boxes

    The Pets Imperial Monmouth Deluxe Chicken Coop is a solid option to keep your chickens safe and comfortable in your backyard or garden. The entire roof lifts up for easy access to the birdhouse and chicken run at the same time. This is a nice feature however the sturdiness of the structure suffers slightly because of it. At 6’7″ x 2’5″ x 3’4″, it’s a decent size for two to three average-sized chickens or a couple more of a smaller breed. This chicken house is one of many from this vendor that is packaged and sent in two separate boxes, doubling the chances that your shipment may be damaged. Why this occurs is a mystery and an unfortunate inconvenience that I hope they rectify in the future. 

    Other coops this size with a house and scratching area have a sloped roof leading down over the ramp; the Monmouth is one rectangular box which gives the chickens a lot more headroom. The large door leading into the run is a nice feature. Keep in mind that the entire structure is only 3’4″ so it doesn’t dominate your yard but for hens clucking around it’s a nice change of pace. The galvanized metal floor tray can be slid out from the front of the hen house however there is a second floor underneath, allowing the birds to stay in place while cleaning. The Monmouth coop comes with two ventilation slots which can be covered in winter. The house is made with tongue-in-groove boards which are of fairly good quality and the stain used looks great.

  7. 7. Pets Imperial Clarence Chicken Coop

    • Hinged roof and nesting box
    • Decent ventilation
    • Galvanized pull-out drawer
    • Small for price
    • Reports of damage in shipping
    • Poor instructions

    Right off the bat, allow me to say that the Pets Imperial Clarence Chicken Coop is great looking. I love the lightly stained (animal-friendly!) tongue-in-groove siding and the compact footprint. Good for two average-sized birds, there is more than enough comfort for your chickens to cozily lay their eggs and perch at night. A decent-sized chicken run is open and airy with galvanized wire screens to keep out the bad guys looking for a free meal.

    What I liked most about the Clarence is how many access points it has to service the coop. The roof, the nesting box, the front, back, and sides all have doors and lids to open it wide. Pets Imperial would do well to cut down on the hype included in their sales verbiage (“enhance its outstanding, awesome, fantastic build quality”) as this is a prefab chicken coop. That said, this chicken coop kit is a good choice to house your girls. Understand that, like all kits, you will need a rudimentary knowledge of tools and materials when putting it together. 

    VideoVideo related to pets imperial clarence chicken coop2020-05-19T14:29:40-04:00

  8. 8. Gojooasis Wooden Chicken Coop

    • Lockable door hardware
    • Hinged nesting box roof
    • Larger run available for purchase to increase your bird's living footprint
    • Cheap construction
    • You will need to customize for winter months
    • No door on hutch

    If you’re looking to get into raising chickens but you’re not sure how much you want to initially invest in your setup, the Gojooasis Wooden Chicken Coop offers a potential, low-cost, housing solution. Keep in mind that because it doesn’t cost as much as other coop kits, you need to keep your expectations reasonable. This coop checks all of the boxes including suitable wood materials, wire-mesh fencing, a removable sliding tray, etc., but the tolerances aren’t quite as tight and the hardware isn’t as shiny as higher-priced options.

    The size is comparable to other similar chicken houses but Gojooasis offers a larger chicken run for purchase that can be attached to the existing run that makes for a large, enclosed poultry playground. That’s a great idea for folks looking to give their birds a larger area to scratch around in. The window in the house allows for decent ventilation. The roof is covered with a green asphalt to keep out the water and other elements.

    With this GoJooasis Wooden Chicken Coop, you should plan on covering the windows with transparent plastic for colder months and providing some wire mesh under the coop footprint to keep out critters but if you’re just kicking the tires, this is a good entry-level house for your chickens. 

  9. 9. Aivituvin Chicken Coop

    • Egg-cellent for two to three small breeds
    • House is situated in the middle with run on either side and underneath
    • Removable PVC bottom layer for easy exterior cleaning
    • Hardware quality is inconsistent
    • Difficult to assemble
    • No nesting boxes or perch poles included

    If you’re thinking of raising a small breed of chicken like a bantam, the Aivituvin Chicken Coop might be the perfect solution for you. It’s primarily designed to act as a rabbit hutch however it’s layout, size, and access points make it a great candidate to raise small birds. The main house is large enough for two to three small chickens and features a ramp on either side into a roomy chicken run. Multiple doors with metal latches allow for plenty of access into the coop. 

    The Aivituvin is an attractive grey color with matching asphalt roof panels giving it a nice contrast to your lawn and vegetable garden. It’s a good looking coop. To keep your chickens happy, you will most likely want to install a small perch post and something to act as a nesting box. That aside, this is a nice size for any backyard and a good part of your suburban farm.

  10. 10. Little Cottage Company Gambrel Barn Coop

    • Window features tempered glass and screen
    • High quality siding and trim
    • Large enough for six chickens or more
    • Shingles, drip edge, and paint are an additional purchase
    • You'll need two or three people to unload and build
    • Shipping is an additional charge

    Having a little red barn in the backyard is just the thing to make your chickens happy. The Gambrel Barn Coop is a kit made by the Little Cottage Company; they make all sorts of great sheds, playhouses, and structures made of heavy-duty wooden panels, lumber, and trim. The Gambrel includes a 14″ X 21″ window with tempered glass and screens, a chicken door, four nesting boxes of six to eight hens, a ventilation bar, a chicken ramp, and a person door.

    Because the structure measures 4 feet wide by 6 feet long by roughly 8 feet tall, you definitely have some elbow room to maintain the coop (and your chickens will have plenty of room for that square dance later). The kit comes shipped flat with all the hardware and pieces ready to go. You’ll have to supply the shingles and drip edge to finish the roof and paint it after you’ve built it. This isn’t a thin-walled hobby kit; this is an honest-to-goodness shed. By the time it’s done, you’ll have an 820-pound structure on your property. You’ll have an actual farm and the barn to prove it.

  11. 11. PawHut Wood Indoor Outdoor Chicken Coop

    • Waterproof roof and sides made of insulated, polycarbonate panels
    • Lockable doors
    • Hardware to assemble coop included
    • Smaller than advertised
    • Reports of damage in shipping
    • Difficult feeder access

    Your feathered friends will find a comfortable space to live in with the PawHut Wood Indoor Outdoor Chicken Coop. I’m not sure why anyone would have a chicken coop inside but that’s what the PawHut people call it. This coop is made of a whitewashed fir frame and gray, polycarbonate side panels. The roof is hinged and waterproof so you can check on how your cluck club is doing.

    Cozy nesting boxes make for a great place for your girls to lay eggs; simply raise the roof and gather when ready. The simple look and feel will be a handsome addition to your backyard efforts. The structure has multiple openings for your chickens to go in and out and for you to access for cleaning, replacing bedding, food, and water. A sliding drawer beneath the perch is great to keep the coop clean and is virtually invisible when closed.

    The size of the chicken coop is not as large as a misleading promotional photo would have you believe. It’s good for two large chickens at most or maybe four or five smaller breeds. The coop measures 63″ x 29.5″ x 31.5″. That said, I like the proportions of the coop kit with the simple living area and large, open chicken run.

  12. 12. PawHut Wooden Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run

    • Asphalt shingle roof
    • Slide-out pan tray
    • Lockable door hardware
    • Slightly smaller than advertised
    • No hutch door
    • Requires anchor stakes or it could be tipped over by critters

    The PawHut Wooden Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run will provide your chickens with a simple style that’s also functional. This chicken chateau features indoor and outdoor spaces for your birds to enjoy and protection from predators and weather. The nesting box has a hinged roof panel so you can access the interior to harvest your eggs easily. Doors on the front of the house and the run are lockable but unfortunately there’s not a door on the hutch as well. The taller run underneath the house is a nice touch for your chickens.

    This coop kit has an elevated house, nesting box, chicken run, ramp, and doors, all made of fir that’s a faded, natural wood color that looks nice without the flash. The main house has a raised perch to keep your chickens safe and dry and a removable, sliding tray for easy cleaning. Depending on your size of chickens, the PawHut coop is large enough for two average birds and four to five small ones. The house window allows light and fresh air into the interior although you may want to install a hard transparent material for the winter.

    Assembly is simple with the included tool kit however I’m sure you have better tools of your own to use! Do yourself a favor and pre-drill holes before installing the hardware. One more thing: it would be advisable to anchor your coop down in some fashion. Because of its proportions, I could see your average trash panda tipping this coop over with no problem whatsoever!

  13. 13. Petsfit Weatherproof Outdoor Chicken Coop

    • Good value for the price
    • Quick to assemble
    • Very easy to move
    • No attached chicken run
    • You'll need to add more security options if you live around predators
    • It's not exactly weatherproof

    Extremely easy to put together, the Petsfit Weatherproof Outdoor Chicken Coop won’t take you more than 30 minutes to build. This kit is a great value for the purchase price. Although your chickens will need either to be free-range or a chicken run, this is a nice overnight coop for your girls for protection from predators and the elements. This coop looks great and comes in a red or a gray color. The interior is very easy to clean especially if you install a hinge on the roof rather than nailing it down. Including the nesting box, it’s a perfect size for four to five chickens. Online reviews claim as many as eight to nine chickens like to sleep in just one of these coops! Your chickens’ size and breed will dictate what makes sense to use with the Petsfit Weatherproof Outdoor Chicken Coop. 

  14. 14. PawHut 91-Inch Deluxe Large Grey Chicken Coop

    • Easy to access chicken house
    • Large 91-inch footprint
    • Pleasing wood color with green asphalt shingles
    • Thin wood used in construction
    • Run isn't very accessible for cleaning
    • You'll need to install a perch for your chickens

    This rustic PawHut 91-inch Deluxe Chicken Coop is a cottage-type hutch that is good for two small hens or other small animals. The two-level setup gives your chickens room to move around and rest while the wire enclosed area keeps them contained and away from predators. Multiple doors and a slide-out middle tray give access to the interior structure for cleaning.

    The two external ramps allow your birds to enter the raised housing area on both sides. Crafted from fir and steel wire for superior strength and durability with green asphalt roof shingles that provide some weatherproofing, this chicken house is sealed with non-toxic, environmentally friendly paint.

    While the footprint of the chicken coop is 89.5″ L x 27.5″ W x 39.5″ H, keep in mind that this is going to be suitable for two small chickens at most. You would do well to further secure the security wire and take some steps to weatherproof the house but the PawHut 91-inch Deluxe Chicken Coop is of reasonable quality for the price.

  15. 15. Omitree Deluxe Wooden Backyard Chicken Coop

    • Multiple points of entry
    • Three nesting bays with easy access
    • Roomy interior for roosting and nesting
    • Does not include a chicken run
    • You'll need to weatherproof, especially the floor
    • Shipping package should be sturdier

    The Omitree Deluxe Wooden Backyard Chicken Coop is charming to look at and big enough for four of your fat feathered friends to call home. The chicken house comes with a four-foot-square living area and three roomy nesting boxes. It’s built with tongue-and-groove fir to help avoid splintering. All construction joints are mortise and tenon. While durable and well ventilated, you’ll want to build this kit and plan for additional waterproofing, especially if you live in a northern climate. There are two doors for access and a window. The three nesting boxes feature a roof that lifts up for access to daily eggs. Anyone can build this chicken coop; the holes are all pre-drilled for easy assembly. Plan on building yourself a chicken run or a fence if you’re concerned about your girls running off!

  16. 16. Friday Discount Backyard Farm Chicken Coop

    • Good for a small backyard environment
    • Entire roof opens up for easy access
    • Hinged chicken run top
    • Critters will be able to get into this incredibly easily
    • Hardware is not lockable
    • Run under house is too small for chickens

    The Friday Discount Backyard Chicken Coop is exactly what its name implies: a small house for your hens meant for a backyard setting. It’s cute, opens up like a knife used by that certain European army, and doesn’t take up a lot of room. That said, this coop would be better used for rabbits or other small animals. Someone could raise, at most, two chickens in this coop but that’s it. 

    The coop itself is made of some good quality fir stained with an environmentally-friendly varnish. Green asphalt shingles protect against rain and look good with the wood color. The structure is open on the bottom so also think about getting some hardware cloth to keep the critters out. This particular coop features a pull-out drawer but this one happens to be made of plastic.

    Something to keep in mind with this Friday Discount coop is that it doesn’t include any locking hardware…and I barely call the spinning block of wood that blocks opening the doors “hardware”. Predators, particularly raccoons, are crafty and will open the door latches up with no problem. If you have an inkling that you may have pests in your neighborhood (and you most certainly do), make sure to upgrade to some better hardware. Don’t forget to latch the chicken run top!

  17. 17. Polar Aurora Large Metal Chicken Coop and Poultry Cage

    • Comes packaged with a UV and water-resistant cover
    • Mesh is coated with PVC
    • Door is lockable with a latch and steel wire ties for extra safety
    • Great fenced enclosure but designed to work with a chicken coop
    • Awkward to put together on your own; get a buddy
    • It could use some caster wheels for easier movement

    So let’s say you find the cutest chicken coop that matches your home and garden perfectly…but you need an enclosure so your girls can roam a little freer than you have room for. The Polar Aurora Large Metal Chicken Coop and Poultry Cage is your answer! Featuring a high-quality, galvanized steel frame and PVC-coated wire mesh walls, this large chicken run is a great addition to your birdhouse. It’s light enough to move but you may need another person to help because of its size. The cage has a lockable steel door with a latch and steel wire ties. If you are going to leave it in one place permanently, think about anchoring the cage to the ground and adding an electric fence.

What Should I Think About Before I Purchase A Chicken Coop Kit?

Chickens bring a little more sustainability to your life. They may be raised for food or eggs, of course, but they also provide some amazing benefits to your landscaping. Chickens control pests like crickets, grasshoppers, snails, and slugs, without resorting to chemicals and insecticides.

These hard-working birds will also clear weeds, fallen fruit, and will eat food scraps from salads, vegetable peelings, rice, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Their droppings are very high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all major ingredients in bagged fertilizer. When mixed in with compost, it makes an excellent fertilizer. 

There are many resources available online with knowledgable guides of which birds will work best in your backyard. Different breeds have different attributes including space needed to roam, flying capabilities, and whether they are good egg layers or not.

Be courteous and let your neighbors know that you're going to raise chickens. More likely than not they will be good with it (especially when farm fresh eggs might be available!) but understand that chickens can be noisy in the early morning.

You’ll also need to check local regulations and zoning restrictions for your municipality. Are chickens allowed? How many per acre? Are roosters approved? 

Make no mistake: taking care of a new flock of chickens is a big job. They are animals that require a varied diet, more water than you’d think, room to roam around and scratch, and, ideally, entertainment (I’m not kidding). They can be loud, dirty, and even a little ornery.

You’ll need to clean up after them and keep their feed in pest-proof containers. And your chickens will look to you for protection from predators like foxes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and coyotes. 

On top of that, chickens are farm animals and should be treated as such. Always wash your hands and keep yourself, your birds, and your surroundings clean. Read this recent report from the Center of Disease Control regarding the safe handling of your animals.

However, just like other pets, chickens provide a large number of benefits both tangible and not. They’re social, lively, and actually quite affectionate. Once you have some experience with them in your backyard, chickens may cluck their way up to the number one spot in your heart. 

What Features Should A Good Chicken Coop Have?

Like all animals, chickens have basic needs. A good hen house should address these needs and also provide a few extras for their (and your) happiness. Your new coop should have a secure house that protects against the elements and predators and also some sort of penned area (chicken run) where they may dig and scratch during the day.

Chickens, depending on the breed and the particular weather where you live, are hearty animals and can handle temperature changes accordingly. They will still need some shelter that your coop will provide. Make sure it is well ventilated.

Heat, humidity, and moisture inside the coop will make your birds uncomfortable, or worse, sick. The coop should feature a strong mesh all around to keep out unwanted visitors and a tightly-woven, wire mesh floor to prevent snakes and other predators that may burrow in.

In the wild, chickens perch in high branches for security. Domesticated birds are no different and prefer to sleep at the highest point in their coop. Make sure the perches in your birdhouse encourage this and are higher than the nesting boxes in your coop. Your birds will most likely not lay eggs all at once but plan on having one nesting box for every three chickens anyway.

Chickens, while being social animals, require space of their own to stretch their legs. Whichever space you provide will need to have enough room to roost and scratch around. Plan on three square feet per bird inside your coop and ten in the chicken run. Small yards can accommodate two to five chickens while medium yards may have space for ten.

Look for a chicken coop kit that is easy to assemble, features detailed instructions (hopefully with online videos), and is packed flat for simple transport. Consider how you’ll clean the coop because you will be doing it a lot. Some coops, called tractors, have wheels that enable movement to different parts of the yard giving the chickens a change of scenery (and your lawn a break from the scratching).

Your new chicken ranch should complement your backyard and your landscaping. You got into this for some amount of fun, right? Paint your coop with exterior house paint to create a fun, clucky oasis for your new birds.

What Else Will I Need With My Chicken Coop?

Consider some extra amenities for your hen house that will make caring for your birds a whole lot easier. Floor trays that can be removed and cleaned are absolutely necessary. Understand that the bedding will need to be changed often; a compostable material such as these bedding liners made of aspen shavings is a must.

Will your chickens roam freely? You’ll need some poultry fencing to keep your birds in check...and also to protect your vegetable garden. Make sure it’s easy to set up and move as your needs change during the year. Electric options might be a very good idea depending on what kind of critters you have in your neck of the woods!

Save yourself a great deal of trouble by keeping your chicken feed in pest-free containers. The last thing you want is a mouse problem because of easy access to food. Chickens don’t have the best table manners. They’ll make a real mess at dinnertime. Consider a treadle feeder that prevents spillage and keeps pests away (and saves you money from lost food).

Your chickens will need some TLC here and there; pick up a pet first aid kit to supplement your veterinarian visits. And, believe it or not, chickens will enjoy a chicken swing more than you know. They will love to sway back and forth while pecking at the baubles hanging from it.

And since you most likely got into this to harvest eggs, get an egg skelter to help you organize your harvest and keep it all fresh!

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