How to Choose the Right Chicken Coop for Raising Chickens

chicken coop

So you’ve decided to add chickens to your backyard. You’ve picked out the right spot, spent hours looking up how to care for your chickens, and you’ve visited all the online forums.

Now it’s time for the big decision–how are you going to pick the right backyard chicken coop?

Each type of coop comes in countless different sizes, shapes, and styles to choose from. It’s hard to choose which coop is right for you, especially if you’re new to raising chickens.

So what makes the perfect chicken house? How can you be sure you’re making the right decision?

Let’s get into some of the things you should consider before committing to a chicken coop.

chicken coop

What Kind of Chickens Are You Raising?

Picking the right chicken coop all comes down to the chickens themselves.

What kind of chickens are you raising and how many do you plan to raise? Keep in mind, each chicken needs a minimum of 2-4 square feet in an indoor house and 10 square feet outside for foraging.

Overcrowding can lead to fighting, disease, or other health issues. Make sure you pick a chicken house that’s right for the size of your flock.

What Kind of Predators Live Near You?

If you live in an area with predators like foxes, weasels, raccoons, coyotes, or more, safety should be one of your top concerns.

The kinds of predators that live nearby will dictate how secure your chicken coop should be, as well as the kind of material used. Heavy-duty wire and locks for any external doors are a must.

For some of the more crafty predators–like bears or raccoons–you might want to avoid having any external doors to the outdoor area at all. They’re notoriously dexterous and could open the pen themselves to get at your chickens.

What Climate Do You Live In?

If you live in a hot, dry climate, having a large outdoor space is vital. For colder climates, a large indoor space with proper insulation will help your chickens stay warm.

Regardless of where you live, make sure that your indoor space is properly protected from the rain and humidity.

Chickens are surprisingly resilient to both cold and heat. But it’s important that you keep them comfortable–and healthy.

What Are Your Needs?

Why did you decide to have chickens in the first place? What are you hoping to get out of this?

These questions can influence the shape and design of your coop.

If you’re hoping to collect eggs from your hens, having a roomy indoor space with a high ceiling will be important. Having clean, roomy nesting boxes will help streamline the process and keep everything sanitary.

Choosing the Right Chicken Coop

Now that you’ve considered some of the background questions, it’s time to get to work!

It’s important that you pick a coop with the right specifications for your needs—and the needs of your chickens. To help simplify the process, check out this handy checklist for analyzing your chicken coop options.

Just remember, you can always alter your coop later down the line, or replace it altogether. Learning how to raise chickens is a process–you won’t get it down perfectly the first time.

Looking for more advice on picking your first chicken coop? Take a look at our chicken coop buying guide for more information.