If you’re considering raising chickens, then you probably know that keeping a flock can have benefits beyond having fresh eggs at your disposal. Hens will peck away at unwanted pests, produce natural compost, consume food waste, and also provide a source of companionship and stress relief. If these perks have you ready to take the leap, then you’ll need a good home for your new friends. The best chicken coops can help keep birds healthy, happy, and safe from dangerous predators. Read on to learn about what to take into account before making a purchase along with some great options to consider.
- BEST OVERALL: Tractor Supply Co. Producer’s Pride Coop MDC001
- BEST BUDGET: Petsfit Weatherproof Chicken Coop with Nesting Box
- BEST SMALL: Archie & Oscar Freddy Chicken Coop with Chicken Run
- BEST FOR LARGE FLOCKS: Tractor Supply Co. OverEZ Chicken Coop 46OEZCKCP
- BEST WALK-IN: Roost & Root Round-Top Stand-Up Chicken Coop
- BEST MULTILEVEL: Tractor Supply Co. Petmate Chicken Coop 70401D
- BEST URBAN: Omlet Large Chicken Coop – Eglu Cube
- HONORABLE MENTION: Archie & Oscar Auggie Chicken Coop with Chicken Run
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Chicken Coop
If you’re new to raising chickens, you may be wondering how to choose the best chicken coop for your needs. The size of your flock and the amount of space you have will dictate how big a coop you need and which features it should have, from multiple levels to nesting space and more. To keep your chickens happy and safe, you’ll also want to factor in ventilation, insulation, and security.
The size of coop to buy will depend on how many chickens it needs to house. As a rule of thumb, 3 to 5 square feet of floor space is required for each standard hen inside a coop. If there is too little space, the chickens may competitively pick or peck at one another. If you plan to let your flock range free during the day, less free space is needed than if they are usually contained. Smaller chickens, like bantams, will require less room too, usually about 2 square feet for coop space. Each standard bird should also have 1 square foot of perching and roosting bar space.
A nesting space will provide hens with a safe, private, and quiet place to lay their eggs. Though they will likely all try to fit into one, it’s appropriate to provide one box for every three to four hens. A standard nesting box is a 12-inch cube and can be built from wood, but metal and plastic varieties are more widely available. The boxes are generally available in a row or stacked in two rows. They should be at least 18 inches off the ground and placed away from noisy and busy areas, as chickens prefer privacy when nesting.
If you are short on ample outdoor space to accommodate the square footage of a large coop but want to have a decent size flock, consider a coop with multiple levels. Multilevel coops usually have two floors with a ramp from the lower level to the upper level. This way, some chickens can easily hang out upstairs, while others peck away on the lower floor. Often the nesting boxes will be housed on the upper level so they’re quiet and away from the action.
Good chicken coop ventilation is important for the health of your birds. Ammonia fumes created by a buildup of manure can have adverse effects on their health, such as respiratory issues and eye irritation. Good ventilation will also keep humidity out, providing a drier environment that will help your hens stay comfortable in cold temperatures. Ventilation holes should be located at the top of the coop near where the wall meets the ceiling. Fancier coops might have vents located in the same place.
When it’s cold outside, you’ll want to make sure your chickens aren’t getting a chill. In order to avoid drafts, which will disrupt the heat collection within their feathers, make sure there are no gaps in your coop’s walls or areas where a draft can enter. If you find gaps, make sure to fill them with caulk. For added protection from cold drafts, you can line your coop with cardboard.
When temperatures drop, the coop door should be closed overnight. Some more elaborate winterized coop options even feature foam insulation or storm doors. A thermometer is also handy for keeping tabs on the temperature inside the coop.
If you aren’t able to let your chickens roam during the day, consider getting a coop with room for a chicken run, which usually requires 8 to 10 square feet of space per standard bird. Bantams only need about 4 square feet since they are quite a bit smaller and can fly, allowing them to hang out on higher perches. Chicken runs, which are usually attached to the coop, allow hens a contained outdoor space where they can enjoy the sun, dust bathe, or forage in grass or dirt. The more space they have to do this, the happier your hens will be.
Probably the most important function of a coop is to keep your chickens safe from predators while they sleep. The coop’s vents and windows should be covered in ½-inch welded wire, and all latches made with predator-proof latches like carabiners. You may also consider locking all entrances of your coop or investing in automated doors that open and lock at preprogrammed times of the day. If you live in an area where hawks and owls are prevalent, it’s important to cover the top of your chicken run as well. This can be done with wire mesh so that there is still plenty of light and ventilation. One final tip for keeping predators at bay: Collect your eggs regularly and remove leftover food scraps at the end of the day.
Ease of Cleaning
In order to keep your chickens healthy, it’s important to clean their coop regularly. The larger the coop, the more time it will take to clean. What makes for difficult cleaning is the bending and reaching needed to access small and stinky dark spaces. If the doors and roof can be opened, that will provide easier access and more light. Another key feature that will help hasten the cleaning process is removable floors or trays, especially beneath the roosts, which makes it much easier to clean collected droppings. It will also save you some discomfort if you choose a coop that features nest boxes that slide out for cleaning.
Our Top Picks
The best chicken coops are made with solid materials and include features such as ample space, insulation, and ventilation that keep your birds safe and healthy. Beyond functionality, there are plenty of attractive options that will also look appealing on your property. The following chicken coops are well made, look good, and offer the features that are sure to keep you and your hens happy.
With room for six chickens, this coop is built to last with a powder coated, rust-resistant steel frame and reinforced thick wood panels. At the entrance there is a sliding door with latches that have to be moved through two positions to open, making it safe from predators. The coop’s raised design keeps unwanted visitors at bay, while a solid wood ramp provides easy access from the chicken run into the coop.
Extra access doors on both sides of the coop and a roof opening allow for easy interior cleaning, while a removable metal slide-out tray makes removing droppings a cinch. An asphalt roof reinforced with wood covers the coop as well as the spacious run, and can be held open by child-safety hinges to prevent accidents. The coop is easy to assemble with predrilled holes and pre-assembled panels.
The main area of this coop can accommodate three or four chickens. An adjacent nesting box with a hinged roof has space for two more and also offers easy removal of eggs. Made with rain-resistant, solid fir wood, the coop has two doors in front and one with stairs making it easy for the chickens to go in and out. The doors can be closed and locked to keep predators out. The raised design also helps with safety. Airflow moves from gaps in the bottom slabs for ventilation.
Three removable floor panels make the coop easy to clean. The coop’s downsides are that the top cannot be opened and if you want a roost and run for the birds, you’ll have to add them yourself. Assembly for this model is fairly easy, given that it comes with clear instructions and the holes in the structure’s walls are predrilled.
Constructed from wood with metal hardware and fitted with an asphalt roof, this coop is durable and weather-resistant. It features two levels and can accommodate two standard chickens or four bantams. A ramp allows the chickens easy access from the wire mesh-enclosed run into the indoor area, which includes two nesting boxes. The hinged roof is easy to open to collect eggs or clean the interior; a pull-out tray and removable roosting pole make cleanup even easier. The coop features three doors with locks and one window, which is covered with wire mesh to keep predators out.
Made to hold up to all weather conditions, this chicken coop is constructed of treated resin flooring and siding, which is designed for moisture resistance. The roof allows rainwater to run off the back away from the coop’s five nesting boxes, while the ceiling has radiant barrier sheathing to keep it cool in summer heat. The coop also has plenty of ventilation including two screened windows and two vents at the upper point of each gable. The OverEZ has one chicken door with a wood ramp and a tall entryway where owners can get easy access for cleaning. It comes in nine pieces and because it has fitted panels and predrilled holes, it is easy to assemble.
Made with cedar wood and galvanized metal hardware, this coop is naturally durable but designed in a modern style. It can house up to six hens and features plenty of roost space and nesting boxes, both of which can be accessed from the inside or out.
Heavy-duty, 16-gauge galvanized welded wire will protect chickens from predators, as will the steel locks with carabiners. The back of the coop can be outfitted with an automatic door (sold separately) and can accommodate an attached run. Optional integrated waterers and feeders can be added on at an additional cost, as can storm doors for added weatherproofing. As a fun perk, have your family name carved above the door.
With space for eight chickens, this coop features a 72-inch run, giving them space to run around before heading up the ramp to the indoor area. The interior has three nesting boxes with a rear door for egg collecting, and two roosting bars. There is one additional bar in the run for outdoor roosting. Adjustable rear ventilation keeps dangerous fumes from building up while a wire-mesh fence and metal locks work to keep predators out. A removable cleaning tray makes for easy maintenance. The wood comes unstained so you can paint or stain it according to your preference.
This coop from Omlet features roosting bars and an integrated nest box to keep your birds happy and comfortable. Sturdy metal caging and locking doors keep predators out, while the plastic-and-metal construction makes it weather-resistant. The twin-wall insulation is ideal for colder temperatures. The Eglu Cube’s ventilation system aims to provide ample air circulation while avoiding drafts.
The integrated nest box can fit up to three hens, and the Eglu Cube features an eggport with a sliding door to make collecting eggs easier. A nonslip ladder offers an easy way for your chickens to get inside. The coop comes with no-spill food and water containers and a large slide-out dropping tray that makes for easy upkeep. The chicken run is extendable if you need more space, and an automated door is available as an add-on option.
The top of this Archie & Oscar pen opens so you can easily refill food and water and clean up leftovers. The nesting box opens to allow for easy egg collecting, and a slide-out tray makes it simple to clean droppings beneath the two included perches.
The coop can accommodate three chickens that can access the house by a sliding door with a ramp. Screened windows provide ventilation and airflow. It has ample protective features to keep predators out, too, including a metal wire-mesh surround and a lockable door with a metal slide bolt.
The Advantages of Owning a Chicken Coop
Owning a chicken coop can have many benefits for both you and your flock. One of the biggest reasons people choose to raise backyard chickens is to enjoy fresh eggs. Did you know that store-bought eggs can be two months old by the time you buy them? Freshly laid eggs are better tasting and have more vitamins and nutrients than store-bought alternatives.
Beyond the eggs, though, owners tend to find stress relief from the interaction and ritualistic behavior that comes with caring for a flock. As mentioned earlier, chickens can also offer pest control and a natural source of compost. Chickens are good hunters of flies, worms, ticks, and other small pests. Their manure can be composted and used for gardening purposes. Chickens are also a lot more self-sufficient than other pets; all they need is food, water, shelter, and some space to peck and run around.
Chicken coops are beneficial to their fowl residents as well, with the biggest advantage being protection from dangerous predators. The best chicken coops also provide birds with a comfortable place to nest and lay their eggs as well as shelter from inclement weather conditions.
- Keeping chickens can provide a regular source of freshly laid eggs.
- Happy and healthy birds equal more and better-quality eggs.
- Chickens can provide pest control and a source of natural compost.
- Owning hens can be a form of companionship and stress relief.
- A secure coop will keep chickens safe from predators.
- A coop will provide your hens shelter from the elements.
FAQs About Chicken Coops
You may still be wondering where to place your coop or what to keep inside it. Get the answers to these and other commonly asked questions about chicken coops.
Q. Where do you place a chicken coop?
Place your coop in partial sunlight so that your chickens can choose to bask in the sun or rest in the shade. You’ll also want to pick a spot with grass for them to peck at and a patch of dust they can bathe in. A solid level ground underneath your coop will help keep out predators that can slip under narrow gaps.
Q. What should be inside a chicken coop?
The best chicken coops will include a roosting perch, nesting boxes, insulation, lighting, litter trays, bedding material (such as straw), and food and water supplies.
Q. How do you insulate a chicken coop?
Eliminating gaps or areas where drafts can enter is an important way to keep your coop comfortable. Some winterized coops feature foam insulation and storm doors. For DIY insulation, consider lining your coop with cardboard and covering openings with blankets.
Q. How do you heat a chicken coop?
A chicken coop can be heated by using either heat lamps, flat-panel wall heaters, and/or infrared heaters hung overhead.
Q. How often should you clean a chicken coop?
How often you clean your coop will depend on the size of your flock and how much space they have. In general, you’ll want to dispose of droppings and replace bedding weekly, while a deeper scrubbing can be limited to two to three times a year. Leftover food and water should be disposed of nightly.
Q. How do you keep rats out of a chicken coop?
Keep rats away by disposing of leftover food and storing feeds at night as well as collecting eggs daily. The coop should be made with durable wood and fitted with mesh wire, high-quality locks, and elevated nesting boxes.