Updated: May 16, 2106

building chicken coops

Chicken Coop Reviews:

  • What is a chicken coop?
  • Benefits of chicken nest boxes
  • How much do chicken coops cost? Which should I buy?

Maybe your neighbors are already doing it - raising chickens in their yard. What might have seemed like a foreign topic 10 years ago, is now quite common in many neighborhoods here in Portland, Oregon. The younger generation appears ready to raise chickens in their backyards and have fresh eggs daily. We see chicken coops in yards all over the Portland metro area. Some cities and towns have tried to play catchup with rules and regulations. Often you are allowed a set amount of chickens (or poultry) based on city regulations. For years no one really followed those rules until neighbors started hearing the sound of a rooster early in the morning within city limits. Chicken coops are relatively easy to build, many have DIY building plans you can get right online. Even Amazon.com has entered the mix with a variety of coops for sale.

Not only are homeowners investing in chicken coops, they are incubating fertilized eggs and selling them to other people looking to do the same. We did some research with our local city to find out just what kind of chicken coop is legal in our area. With all the different sizes and shapes, we wanted to know just which models we could put in our yard. Also, how many chickens (or roosters) are allowed per yard. In talking with several surrounding jurisdictions it's not really about the chicken coop as much as it is about the noise ordinances. Sure, you can't just plop down 3 chicken coops in your front yard. Be considerate of your neighbors and let them know your plans. You might be surprised how supportive they will be.

The video below shows Backyard chickens - Chicken coop tour- Easy to clean:

What to look for in a chicken coop?

Poultry housing should really come down to a few things - ventilation, nest boxes, and perches. There are some chicken coops that are basic floorless wood frames with chicken wire and a roof. You will also see extravagent multi-story chicken coops fit for a king. Coops should offer about 3 to 4 square feet of space inside for each chicken. Often, a chicken run is a good idea outside the coop so they can get out and get exercise. Extended runs aren't always a part of the actual chicken coop purchase. Check with the manufacturer to see if they offer it as an add-on feature.

Nesting boxes typically are meant for darker areas. You want the nest boxes above the ground and they should measure about 1 square foot. The box should have a lid and you'll want easy access to the eggs. Happy hens will definitely produce more eggs - which is probably what you want. Chickens tend to roost in high up areas, so having the perches up above the nest boxes is best. Two feet off the ground is fine. If they are too high up the chickens can get hurt when they come back down to the ground. Six to 10 inches of roost space should be fine per chicken. We saw some chicken coops with ramps that lead up to the roosting bar.

Ventilation is an important part of any coop. Most are designed to have chicken wire on the sides to allow for constant flow of fresh air. Others have solid wood exteriors with minimal air flow. Ideally you have a wood constructed frame with wire mesh on the sides. Safety is a big concern in some areas as predators are always on the prowl. The wire mesh or wood construction should be solid and resistant to most predators.

The roof or covered area of the coop should be substantial enough. Chickens are not fond of rain so having a solid roof will keep them dry and safe. Top brands of chicken coops are Trixie, Pawhut, Best Choice, and Merax. There are countless DIY chicken coop plans online that you can download and build yourself. With basic materials needed, it's one of the easiest projects you could take on. We have included a link to This Old House and their 'building a chicken coop' show. We have always liked the way that Bob Vila breaks down projects and shows consumers how to take on things themselves. You can browse the top selling chicken coops online here.

best chicken coops

Best Chicken Coop:

The Pawhut Wooden Backyard Poultry Hen House Chicken Coop is the most popular model and one that offers everything you need for less than $275. The green color will fit in with most backyard environments and look natural. The indoor nesting area is large and the outdoor run is perfect for your birds. The heavy duty wire mesh will protect your chickens from predators. Features like the removable droppings tray make cleaning the coop easy. Worried about the wood not lasting? Not to worry as the wood has been treated to last for years. There is a dual sectioned nesting box, multiple doors for easy owner access, and a solid green asphalt composite roof so the birds stay dry during the winter months. Most agree the coop is perfect for 4 standard chickens or 5 to 6 bantams. Assembly is easy.

The drawbacks on the Pawhut are the overall size. Some owners say the pictures make it appear much larger when in reality it's not that big. Others mention fortifying the coop with construction adhesive to joints and using additional screws to secure weak spots. Still, for the money it's not a bad deal.

To check out how to build a Chicken Coop in your backyard - click the image below to go to video.

chicken coop

Top Rated Chicken Nest Boxes:

The Best Choice Products 80" Wooden Chicken Coop is designed with fir wood and looks great anywhere. It's very similar to the Pawhut listed above. The wood hen house is ideal for 2-4 chickens. It can also house ducks, rabbits, roosters, etc. The ramp allows your chickens to enter into the raised housing space. The removable bottom sliding tray in the housing area lets you remove animal waste easily. The metal wire fencing provides plenty of ventilation as well as protects your birds from predators. The poultry cage hutch has a nesting box with a roof that opens/closes. Easy to collect the chicken eggs that way. We recommend sealing the cage so it will give you a longer life. The doors having locking mechanisms and there is a sliding window above the wooden door for added ventilation. Assembly takes about 2 hours and you can reinforce some of the joints if needed.

chicken coops diy chicken coops

Budget/Value Chicken Coop:

The Petsfit Outdoor Chicken Barn is priced below $160. The one drawback is that there is no chicken run included with this model. You get the wine red barn with white trim. The nesting box and roof are weatherproof. This coop is not as sturdy or durable as some of the others we researched. You will still need to figure out a chicken run for your birds. They will need a place to roam before returning to the coop. Assembly is fairly simple, although we heard that you'll need to 'lightly tighten bolts' so that you don't rip right through the wood.

More videos and resources are here on our Chicken Coop Resource Page.

chicken nest boxes

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