If you are ready to start your own backyard chicken flock, you know your chickens need somewhere comfortable to live so they don’t “fly the coop.” So what should you consider when buying or building your chicken coop? Here are the top three things you should consider for your coop. 

Healthy Feet

You want your chickens to have healthy feet, and if you live in colder climates, this means the chickens need to have their feet fully covered when they sleep, and you want a coop that is easy to clean.

Protection from Elements

You also want your chickens to have protection from the elements, but your coop needs good ventilation and each chicken needs enough space – both inside the coop itself and outside space. You want to provide at least 3 square feet of space per chicken inside the coop and about 8-10 square feet of roaming space for the flock. This is very important to take into consideration if your roaming space needs to be enclosed!

Laying and Roosting Arrangements

The average chicken can lay somewhere between 200-300 eggs per year, so before you choose your coop, know how big you want your flock to be. Chickens are social, so two birds is probably the minimum you want to have. As mentioned above, chickens need space and the ability to keep their feet warm and dry while they sleep. In colder climates, this means you probably want nesting boxes as opposed to perches – although if you can have both, your chickens will benefit.

Which coop?

If you are a DIY-er, this writer at Morning Chores has waded through the 3,000+ plans on BackyardChicken and narrowed it down to the 61 “best-looking, easiest-to-build” coops.

If DIY is not your thing, here are a couple of the best recommended coops: OverEZ Large Chicken Coop – though expensive, this coop can hold up to 15 full-grown chickens, has good ventilation and insulation, and is easy to clean. One other downside is that it does not come with an enclosed roaming area, so this would need to be added by you. OverEZ also has a medium sized coop

Multi-Level Hen House: This coop is good for a smaller flock – about 4 birds – and is on the cheaper end of the scale – this also means it is not quite as sturdy or secure as more expensive options. But it does include an enclosed roaming area, easy access to the nesting boxes, and is easy to clean.

ecoFLEX New Age Jumbo Fontana Chicken Coop Barn – If you are looking for a sustainable coop, this one is non-toxic and eco-friendly. It can hold 6-8 chickens, comes with both nesting boxes and perches, is easy to assemble and clean. It does not come with an enclosed roaming area, and it is not as easy to adjust the ventilation.