Custom Chicken Coop Design Considerations

Unique materials and good design considerations will help you create a custom chicken coop design that won’t offend your neighbors and will provide a safe, healthy home for your feathered friends.

| July 2012 Web

  • Jennifer Carlson’s modular coop comes apart in three pieces. The roof was designed to have a steep pitch so predators would be less likely to hang out, stressing the flock.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • "Free-Range Chicken Gardens" by Jessi Bloom, offers specific advice on keeping chickens while maintaining a beautiful garden.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • Rachael Vitous and Dan Bauer designed this cozy coop to match their house and built it with salvaged materials.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • Chicken coop floor plan
    Illustration Courtesy Timber Press
  • Prayer flags hang inside this coop.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • This coop has pullout manure trays under the roost bars for easy cleaning.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • This chicken door in a run is opened and closed by a simple pulley system from the other side.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • The clear roofing material over this coop’s attached run lets in natural light and doubles as a drying rack for onions and garlic.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • At the end of the growing season in this vegetable garden, hens are put to work in an A-frame tractor to help clean up.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • A detachable wheel on a chicken tractor makes it easy to move.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press

Free-Range Chicken Gardens (Timber Press, 2012) by award-winning garden designer Jessi Bloom is the essential guide that will bring your dream home to roost. This chicken gardening handbook covers everything you need to know to create a beautiful, chicken-friendly yard including: chicken-keeping basics, simple garden plans to get you started, step-by-step instructions for getting your chicken garden up and running and more. The following excerpt on creating a custom chicken coop design is taken from Chapter 6, “Innovative Chicken Housing.” 

A common concern of neighbors who are antichicken is that they think the presence of a flock will lower their property values. Indeed, a coop that hasn’t been designed properly can be unsightly and cause problems other than just being an eyesore. If you haven’t designed the coop with maintenance and cleaning in mind, you may end up neglecting it and it could smell bad, compared to a coop set up for easy cleaning. If a coop is not rodent proof, the structure can attract pests like rats that can take up residence with the chickens.

These are all valid concerns, but they can be avoided if the coop is thoughtfully planned and built well. So instead of settling for a chicken shanty, why not build a cute, stylish coop that is worthy of your chickens and your garden? There are many things to think about before sitting down at the drawing table or shopping for supplies. If you follow simple design steps, you will be sure to have a coop that is functional for you and for your chicken’s needs, and you will be proud of it.

Chicken Coop Space Requirements

I’ve often heard people say, “I don’t have enough room for chickens.” Usually, they are in an average urban lot of about 6000 square feet, and there is a legal limit of having three birds. My response is, “Why not?” You don’t need a huge amount of space unless you plan on having lots of birds. I’ve met chicken keepers with successful free-range chicken systems in beautiful backyards as small as 800 square feet. But nevertheless, your initial planning should be focused on the footprint of the coop design.

I have read many simple equations regarding number of chickens to available coop space, ranging from 1 hen needs from 3 square feet, to 1 hen needs 10 square feet, and I wonder where these numbers come from. Figuring coop space per chicken really depends on how big your chickens are and how often you allow them outside in a run or to free range. The more free ranging or confined ranging you allow, the smaller the coop needs to be. At night, chickens take up very little space in the coop. They perch on a bar and fall asleep. If your chickens are only using the house at night, then they may need a smaller square footage.

I recommend at least 10 square feet per bird. If a bird is living in a coop with a run attached, it should have an absolute minimum of 10 square feet total, 5 square feet inside and 5 square feet outside. An attached chicken run should be as big as your space allows. The smaller the area, the more the chickens will suffer from pests and social struggles.

4/6/2016 11:00:08 AM

same @ddd

4/6/2016 8:42:07 AM

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