The above was one of our first chicken coops on the farm. It was cheap, easy to set up and very portable, but it left a lot to be desired in other ways. We have gone through a number of chicken coop designs since this photo was taken; I've shared below the lessons we've learned along the way.
Chicken coops and poultry housing in general would seem to be very straightforward topics. Adult chickens don’t actually need a lot of specialized care – something dry, sheltered, clean, safe and comfortable, in terms of adequate feeding, roosting, preening and laying space. So why are there so many different styles of chicken coop? The most common reason has nothing to do with the birds’ needs, but rather with the flock owner’s needs. Sometimes the owner needs something compact, or inexpensive, or built from surplus materials. Sometimes the owner needs to comply with certain regulations. Sometimes neighborhood aesthetics dictate a fancier coop than would otherwise be justified. Perhaps the flock owner needs the dimensions need to be a little smaller, a little bigger, a little brighter or a little broader in order to be a more comfortable working environment. Sometimes the climate presents certain conditions – a lot of wind, a lot of rain, a lot of heat or cold or snow – which the coop must accommodate. Different regions have different predator pressures. And if nothing else, different people have different preferences. Which is why each coop is probably unique.
In this section of the website, we’ll review some of the principles of poultry coop design and construction. We’ll look not only at what the birds need, but what the flock owners need, or want, or merely enjoy. Specifically, we’ll review the following, with each topic on its own page:
We ask your patience as we complete all the above pages and add them to the website. As those pages are completed, we hope they will answer readers’ questions about poultry housing. We invite readers to send us any additional questions, and/or propose new categories which we can add to the above.
All the above categories are important for flock owners to consider as they build, or refurbish, a building for use as a chicken coop. Yet each of those topic pages could only cover the most basic summary of information. We wanted to offer more. So in early 2014, we released a self-published book called The Chicken Coop Manual. That Manual covers all the above topics, plus more, to give flock owners a very comprehensive source of information on coop design, function, features, and options. If the various pages on our website leave you hungry for more information, we invite you to consider The Chicken Coop Manual as the next logical step in designing, building and using your very own chicken coop.
In our years of owning and managing birds, we have learned a lot about what works, and what doesn't. Sometimes, we've learned things the hard way when we tried something that didn't go the way we planned. Each of the above topics is explored in some detail on our website. However, we rarely have all the room we need for each topic, on just one webpage. So we have compiled everything we've learned into a new self-published book, called The Chicken Coop Manual. It covers all the topics above in great detail, plus quite a few more. We also review 20 different coop designs and describe their various advantages and disadvantages. Visit our Chicken Coop Manual page for more information about the book. Thank you for your support - 100% of book sales go back to supporting our farm!