Chicken Coop 101: Thirteen Lessons Learned


You can make a chicken coop from just about anything.  I've seen rabbit hutches, tool sheds, and portions of barns turned into areas for chickens.  But is the coop functional?  If you're lucky enough to start from scratch, here are a few things we've learned you might want to take into consideration.  If you have a coop but it's just not working quite as you hoped, this article may give you a few simple ideas to change.


The photo above of the little red shed was the existing chicken coop and tiny outdoor run when we purchased our farmhouse.  We knew we wanted to build a new, larger coop and run, and had hoped to do so prior to bringing chickens home.  It didn't happen as planned and I am now very thankful.  We learned a lot while using this small coop that we wouldn't have thought about otherwise.  Those are the things I'd like to share with you.

As a start, regarding the size of your coop, the general number seems to be 3 feet to every chicken.  (Our coop is 8 foot by 10 foot and around 8 foot tall) Remember to also keep in mind you want a roost area, feeding area and egg laying area.  Think through the feeding area, because if it's too close to the roost area you'll end up with feeders full of manure. 

You also want to make sure that the coop is safe from predators.  Whether your chickens are in their run or free-range during the day, they need a safe haven to sleep in.  Make sure nothing can get underneath the coop or through the door or windows.  We use two types of locks on all our doors (hoping that if they can get one open they can't get the other) and every window has a barrel-lock on the inside.  We also added a strong wire to all the windows so they can remain open during the hot summer days and evenings.


Here's a few more things we learned. 

Lesson One: you want to make sure you can get in the coop to clean it.  Whether you want a portable house or a large coop as we have, make sure there is access to the indoor and outdoor areas.  You can see from the photo above we chose a shed-style coop that my husband designed and built.  We had to build an outdoor run because of loose dogs and wild animals in our area.  We have a small solar panel that runs the light, however, we also ran electricity to it to run the heated waterer and the flat panel heaters (shown further down) in the winter months. 


The photo above shows the outdoor run.  It has a "people" door as well as a chicken tractor door.  The idea of the latter is so you can pull the chicken tractor up to the small door and let them in.  What I would change about this are 2 things:  The people door isn't quite tall enough, so you have to duck as you enter and the chicken tractor door opens out not in.

We built sloped roofs in preparation of the snow we get in the Northeast.  We also chose metal roofing to go with the rest of the outbuildings on the property. 

 Lesson Two:  If you have an outdoor run, you want the chickens door to open from the run.  In the original little coop we had to wade through the mob of chickens, all yelling to be let out, to open the door because it opened in.  I love the door on the new coop.  We put a latch on the door in addition to a clip to keep smart racoons and other critters out at night. 

Lesson Three:  If you have an outdoor run offer lots of roosting space.  They absolutely love it.


Jay made the handy little ramp, including the wood strips so they could get traction on their way down.


All chickens love a spot to dust bath and a large litter pan filled with play sand and some wood ash is like a day at the spa!

Let's go inside.

You can see in the photo above, the small solar light.  Jay designed and built the nesting boxes with a small perch in the front.

Lesson Four:  Plan one nesting box for every four to five chickens.  Also, the nesting boxes don't have to be large, although Jay wanted the girls to have plenty of room so he built ours a little bigger than necessary.  Generally, 12x12x12 is plenty of room.  We fill the boxes with straw that the girls enjoy rearranging while waiting to lay their egg. 

Our nesting boxes are purposely positioned below the window, because you want a dark, quiet area for them.  We also added a slant roof to the top to deter the girls from roosting on top.  Although it hasn't stopped them completely it does make it more difficult.

You can also see, in the photos above and below, we used all available space.  We put the nesting boxes up high enough to have storage space underneath for small cans of feed.  Also, the door to the outdoor run is tucked underneath.

Although we use the deep litter method, I still rake the manure in the mornings after a night's roost.  I purchased the rake from our local hardware store and had Jay put 2 nails in the wall to hold it.  It works perfectly for letting the litter fall thru but holds the manure to throw in the compost bin.


We built lots of roosting space as well as 2 shelves.  We found from the original coop that the girls love the shelves and fight over them every night.  Jay wanted them to be happy, so he put 2 in the new coop.  Make sure you use something such as a 2x4 for the roost so they are comfortable wrapping their feet around it, and sand it, if needed to prevent small cuts on their feet.

Lesson Five:  We put four windows in our coop for plenty of ventilation.  We have 2 small windows on the North and South sides of the coop that are up high enough it won't be breezy on them as they roost.  One is kept open all the time for ventilation.  We open both when we want a breeze or cross ventilation.  All the windows are recycled windows that Jay made work.  He attached hinges to them so they could open/close, and he put cleats by each and a string on each so we can open them as little or as much as we want to.  The photos below show this in more detail. 

Also to note, if you're going to have windows open you probably want to put wire on them to keep other birds and critters out.  We used a pretty rugged square wire on ours.  We also used barrel-locks on all the windows so they can close tight in the winter.


Lesson Six:  If you live in an area with freezing temp.'s through a good portion of the winter, you may want to look at a heater for the water (in the photo above to the left).  After a few mornings of trying to thaw out the waterer you will be thankful.

Lesson Seven:  Chickens are messy and they love to scratch.  Because of this, if you don't want their feed all over the place, raise their feeders.  Jay built wooden platforms for each, but we've also used strings attached to the ceiling as in the photo above.  Just make sure it's easy to remove for filling and cleaning.  Also, try to have more than one feeder.  The girls tend to gang up on one or two chickens and prevent them from feeding.  With an additional feeder, everyone can eat.

Many people have asked me about the cold temp.'s in our area and how to keep the coop warm.  The simple truth is, if you have a small coop and enough chickens to fill it, their body heat alone will keep them warm.  They deal with the cold better than the heat. 

Our coop is large and tall for the amount of birds we have, so although it stays warmer inside than outside, it still seems chilly.  We did 2 things:  we insulated the coop (walls, ceiling, door and floor) and we purchased 2 flat panel heaters and a thermostatic outlet.  (The insulation helps in the summer as well so the coop can stay a little cooler, especially with the box fans going.)

The heaters we purchased were from Melanie at Shop The Coop.com and they work great.  She also sells the thermostatic outlet, which allows the heaters to operate similar to your thermostat in the house.  We are very happy with them.  Yes, it definitely raises our electric bill, but we only turn them on during the coldest parts of the winter.

If you're going to use heaters, flat panel is the way to go because they're safe and cool to the touch.


Lesson Eight:  Do you have an area to keep chickens who need to be separated from the rest?  We realized we didn't want sick chickens in the same coop, and haven't yet built a small hutch-style coop for that purpose.  Currently, they get quarrantined in the craft room in a dog crate.

But we did realize, when Mama Claire hatched 2 eggs and again when we adopted the new chicks, we needed an area for the babies where the big girls couldn't pick at them until they could defend themselves.  Enter my handyman again to construct a temporary coop within the coop. 

The photo above to the left is the box method we started with.  With five chicks, they outgrew it quickly.  We wanted to keep them with the other chickens so there would be no need for introductions later when they were released to the rest of the flock.  So my very handy husband constructed a portable coop within the coop.  He boxed in one corner of the coop and made the walls portable so we can take them down and put them up when needed.  Brilliant!!  It has worked out great.

Lesson Nine:  Think through what you store inside the coop area.  You can also see from the photos above, we started out with a shelving area in part of the coop to keep litter, straw and extra feed.  We realized how bad an idea this was when we had a mite infestation this past summer and had to toss it all out.  I would suggest only storing tightly sealed items (such as the small trash cans of food) just in case of a lice, mite, or any other infestation.

Lesson Ten:  Electricity, to us, has been one of the most important things.  We didn't really think much about it initially, and I'm sure Jay was wishing the decision was to not power it, but in the end we are both so thankful we did.  He had to dig a trench and run the wire, while the girls and Clyde supervised, but it has allowed us to run the electric heater for the water; run the flat panel heaters; and run a box fan (we put in the windows) in the summer.  The girls get up on the roosts, spread out their wings, and take in that wonderful breeze.  Their happiness is thanks enough.

Lesson Eleven:  Where there are chickens there will be a lot of dust.  This is inevitable.  I've seen wonderful coop designs with chandeliers, curtains, painted walls, etc.  Remember, chickens poop where they want and create dust constantly.

Lesson Twelve:  If there is a 1-1/2" or larger ledge, a chicken will find it and roost on it.  When you build your coop look around and think about this.  We have a small windowsill all the way up at the top of the coop where our ventilation window is.  They found it and there was no keeping them off of it.  We are unable to get up there to clean off the manure, so we had to create obstacles to keep them off.  To read more about roosts, visit my All You Need To Know About Chicken Roosts post.

Lesson Thirteen:  If there's a wire or something sticking out, a chicken will likely injure themselves on it.  Also, if there's something to peck at (exposed insulation, etc), they will.  Again, take a look around your coop and think of it from a chicken's perspective.

Additional information is with regard to the flooring of the coop, which really depends on your preference.  Our first little coop had a dirt floor.  My concern was that something would be able to dig underneath the coop and get at them.  We now have a wood insulated floor.  Cement is a good choice as well.

Additional posts that may be of interest:

My hope is that you come away with an idea or two, or perhaps you can share an idea with us.  If so, please leave a comment, we'd love to hear from you!

**An edit to the original post. **
First, I forgot to state we do have a locking screen door on our coop (removed in winter) so the girls get plenty of ventilation in the summer.

Second, I forgot I had 2 photos of coops found at the South County Museum in Narragansett, Rhode Island I wanted to share.  It's a wonderful little museum to visit if you ever find yourself in the beautiful state of Rhode Island.

The first photo is of their portable coops.  You can see the ladders/roosts on each side of the coop that lead to a nesting box.

This second photo is of a stationary coop.  I thought the doors being open instead of having windows was a great idea.

69 comments:

veggiegobbler said...

Wow that is so informative. And your chickens certainly have a fantastic chicken coop. Thanks for sharing.

texwisgirl said...

This needs to be flagged for all the websurfers who are considering getting chickens. I sure hope folks find it because you did a great job.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much to both of you. I am hoping it helps out - I wanted to write about things I wish I had been able to find when we were building our coop.
Staci

mountain mama said...

i love the information and pics on your blog!

passing on the stylish blogger award your way if you'd like to accept it!

God bless, have a restful weekend~

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much for the award! So sweet.
Staci

Rural Revival said...

This is a really informative post Staci, especially for a newbie like me. We are currently in the design stage right now and you've really given me a lot of food for thought. Thanks!

~Andrea~

Cindy said...

Very well written and illustrated post on what to include in a coop. Well done!

Tree Hugger said...

Thank you for he wonderful information. I want some back yard chickens so badly and as I was mowing today--- was trying to figure out how and where to put the chicken house! Your's seems perfect. I need to check our county policies to see if it is possible!! Great post --- I'll need to refer back later!

Cr said...

Thank you for the wonderful post! As my husband, Chris, posted to you previously, we're in the same NY area as you and are considering ways to build our coop. Info on heating panels, electricity and the rest are so very helpful. I do have a question - do you have trouble with the rain blowing in when the windows are open? We're thinking of having ours hinge out and up to provide a weather break but weren't sure if there was a reason not to. Maybe just an aesthetic choice? Thanks again for the post. We really enjoy your site.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks for the question Cr. We haven't had a problem with the rain blowing in, it could be the way it's situated on the property too. We get snow blowing into the outside coop which really upsets the girls, but so far no rain on the inside when the windows are open.
I'm very happy this post is so well received and helpful.
Staci

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Also, Cr, since you live so close if you and your husband ever want to come and look at our coop just email me at jaynstaci@aol.com. We are more than happy to share what we've done.
Staci

Lilla said...

Great advice and photos, Staci! Your chickens have a fabulous coop...

Mary Ann said...

Wow, we just laid out our new coop yesterday, and though I have kept chickens for at least 14 years now, this will be my first all new coop. You reminded me a lot of things we need to think about! I appreciate your pictures, too.
Your chickens look healthy and happy, and I'm going to refer back to this article frequently.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much for the positive comments everyone and glad the post could help you Andrea, TreeHugger and Mary Ann.
Staci

Enid said...

Ohh my what a great post...I need to do the roof in top of the nest..what a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!
Enid

Our Cedar Cottage said...

Thank you for this very excellent post. We are looking forward to the delivery of our first-ever chicken order. Meanwhile we are preparing the coop and a couple of your points will improve on our plans!

I came here via the Barn Hop. :-)

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Staci, this is an excellent post and I am convinced we must be kindred spirits! I went about designing my coop in exactly the same way - starting off with a small temporary coop and then learning what I would need in the long run. I still have a few things to finish up on our own coop this spring, but it's almost identical! That said, I got some good tips from you - especially about utilizing the area under the nesting boxes! If necessary, I'm going to have my husband raise them a bit so I can stick my storage cans under them. You'll find that second area for the chicks inside works well for breaking up a broody hen if you don't want her sitting on eggs.

Love those tractors - I'd love to see a post detailing them as well!

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thank you Enid, Cedar Cottage and Amy. Yes, Amy, I hope to do a post on chicken tractors as well. Glad you could come away with some ideas.
Staci

Jessica said...

Superb post. We still have a long way to go on our hen house, and I'm sure we'll use a lot of your suggestions. You have an amazing coop.

Meredith said...

Great ideas - thanks!!! I like the litter box idea, but my outdoor area does not have a solid roof. Maybe I will build them a little hutch in there to keep it dry.

Jill @ The Prairie Homestead said...

What a great informative post! Your coop is lovely and really enjoyed your tips and ideas. Thanks for sharing this with the Homestead Barn HOp!

The Owl Nest said...

Enjoyed reading your post - and will also be implementing some of the things you mentioned :-)

~Val

Ginger said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing all that helpful info...I'll be using a lot of those tips for sure as we gear up to make some changes to our shed/coop conversio & then build a second coop.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

So happy this post has been so useful. Thank you Jessica, Meredith, Jill, Val and Ginger.
Staci

happy momma said...

Very nice, full of information. I'll have to come back and take my time and take notes. We are in the process of building our first coop. God Bless

Mrs. Bartos said...

Love the coop! We are in the process of building ours. Can you tell me what you insulated with? Thank you!

Melissa said...

So chuck full of information here! Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful ideas :)

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks happy momma, Mrs. Bartos and Melissa! Mrs. Bartos - we found some insulation for sale from a few different people who had purchased too much {much cheaper than purchasing it new} so there's a few different "R" values in there, but the roof, door, floor and walls are all insulated.

Inspire Me Heather said...

Awesome post - thank you! I linked this to my chicken coops project post too, it's a keeper!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much Heather, and thanks for linking to this post!!

Emmie said...

I am so glad I read your 13 things you have learned. My question is - is the nesting area the same as the egg laying area?

Emmie said...

Your 13 things learned have really helped me in the planning stages of my upcoming chicken coop project.

Thank you for sharing.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Emmie - yes, the nesting boxes are the areas for laying eggs. They need something slightly dark (which is why we positioned ours under the windows).

Anonymous said...

Hi. Your article is such a blessing to me as I just ordered my first ever 27 chicks and my life will be changing completely around Feb 13 when they arrive. So of course we are using this time now to research and learn and build. I SO appreciate your tips while we are in this stage. Perfect timing.

One question I have for you and hope I can find the answer if you reply (ha). Would you recommend having the access to getting to the eggs from nest on the outside of the coop? We have seen that often in some coops and it seems really handy. Just wondered what your thoughts on that would be. Thank you so much. Kim Riggs. (I will have to sign anonymous unfortunately. :)

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Kim - thank you so very much for your kind words. Regarding the access from outside the coop to the nesting box, yes it is very handy. Here's how I look at it: if you're coop is large enough to comfortable go in and out regularly, it's not necessary. If you have a smaller coop where going in and out is tight (particularly because the girls are very nosy) then I would highly recommend the outside access. One reason we did not choose to do this is because it gets very cold here in the winter and we wanted to coop to close up tight (except for the vent at the top) so they would keep warm and it wouldn't get drafty on them in the boxes.
Hope this helps! :)
Staci

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Brilliant post - found via Pinterest btw.

We're building a coop this spring so your own lessons learned will be carefully considered. Thanks very much for posting this :)

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much Tanya! What a nice thing to say. :) I'm so happy you found us.

mark s. said...

Am just starting work on our coop,being in construction I have realized that the sample replacement windows that I show prospective clients are the perfect size for our coup.Anyone can get them free at your local building material supplier such as ABC.They come apart from the sample case and are ready to be installed,just a mini version of what I install all the time on homes.Just need to fabricate a safer screen. MARK

Hello from me, StacieT - DIY Girl! said...

Found your 13 things post via pinterest last night as I was searching for chicken coops. THANK YOU for taking time from your busy life to SHARE such valuable information. Within the next year or two, I would like to be the proud owner of my own egg-laying girls! I would love to hear from you and followers of your blog as to what breeds are the most quiet. I live in town with no zoning and on a dead end street so I can legally have chickens, but I do not plan on having many - size of lot, cost of feed, etc. I am interested in the actually cost of keeping chickens - vaccinations, feed, etc. I am finding mixed information on such things. If there is a source that you trust for chicken med care, please share it with me to assist in my research. Again, thank you so much!

~DIYgirl Stacie

Anonymous said...

Found your blog from pinterest...and just in time. We got our first chicks on Saturday and will be converting an old shed into their new coop. Hubby will be happier building a new shed for himself while working on the coop for the new girls! a win-win.. Thank you so much for your blog great points for us newbie's.

Clucking away in Michigan

Rebekah H. said...

What wonderful advice; thank you for sharing. My boyfriend and I have eight baby chicks and have just finished building our chicken shack! We are getting ready to move them out to the shack, but now we are questioning the type of flooring/board we used all inside of the coop. What kind of wood/paneling did you use for the inside? We put down OSB that we got at Home Depot and does not contain any toxins. Do you think that's ok for our coop? Thanks Staci!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Rebekah - thanks so much! You should be fine with OSB. Be careful with the babies if you have a penned-in outdoor coop. It's amazing how small of holes they can fit through. We put an additional mesh around the bottom 24 inches of ours. The mesh was very small squares and we used it just until they were big enough to not escape. Good luck! You'll love having them. They're hysterical to watch. :)

Anonymous said...

This was great... gave me some new ideas for the coop we are building. I'm sure my husband will be pleased! LOL! The one thing we did that i'm excited about is put the roosts on 2x4 hangers. The roosts are easily removed for cleaning. Makes that job a little easier!

A Little Bowerbird said...

Wow, I am in Australia and I wish I had more space to achieve something similar. Mine are under our childrens cubby house with an extended run added on. They ARE hilarious pets and give us so many hours of entertainment. When they want food ( ie greens and other food) they climb onto their coop roof, up to the cubby house and then fly down into the garden, only to come and peck on my glass doors to let me kow they want food!! At the moment their run is not enclosed, ie. they are locked away at night so it is only daytime antics we laugh at.

Lots of great ideas here and great to see a dedicated house unit for them. I love my chickens!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Anonymous - great idea about the roosts! Thanks for sharing. I couldn't agree more A Little Bowerbird, I just love watching our girls. :)

Anne Kimball said...

Hi Staci, I'm Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com). Just found your blog thru this post on Pinterest. It's terrific! I am relatively new to chickens myself, and I love them, but am always looking for ways to improve. Thanks!

Pammy said...

I'm so glad I just came across this blog! I am a city girl that has just moved to a smaller town for my husband's job. He wants to get a house with lots of acres so we can have things like chickens and horses. I know nothing about doing this, so I have a lot to research and learn about! Your information is definitely going to help me! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My husband put the water and feed on a pulley system so it was easy for me to hang them up. Prior to the pully we hung them from a rope or chain but the weight made it difficulty for me to lift onto the hook. Pully works great! We use red heat lamps in we inter keeps chickens warm and doesnt disrupt their sleep

Tara said...

I came across your post on Pinterest and just wanted to say how great it is! My husband and I are getting ready to start raising chickens this spring and I'm looking for all the help I can with all of the start-up stuff that goes with chickens. I've got a few books and now your blog as a really great reference point. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much Anne and Pammy! Anonymous - great info about the pulley system!! Thank you for sharing. Be careful with the heat lamps as they can get burned from them. Tara - I'm so happy you found us. Hooray that you're getting chickens this spring! I hope you come back again. :)

tom | tall clover farm said...

A big thank you for such detailed instructions and insight. In my neck of the woods, the rural Pacific Northwest, we really have to surround the coop with electrical fence netting. The weasels, minks and raccoon out here have college degrees and regular support groups to exchange break-in tips. The way to keep them out is with a little zap to the schnoz.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all the detailed info. We will be getting our little chicks soon and are building our own chicken coop. I'm glad I found your blog post! I'm so excited! :)

andrea6479 said...

I love your blog! Seriously, I have been reading every single thing on here, lol. I love your personality and your ideas are so great! I'm so jealous of you! Lol. I have 10 baby chicks (that are currently in my house) and am in the process of perfecting my coop. I decided my original coop was too small and am not going to our 8x11 shed! I'm so excited! I need to insulate it and it seems to be extremely pricey. I also need to add the nesting boxes and windows. I love your coop and plan to do a lot of things you have done. But.. my lovely boyfriend isn't quite as handy as your hubby. I'm trying to make things perfect for my girls, I'm just having a bit of trouble getting my ideas from paper to real life. Do you have any tips on how do simplify anything or how to do things in a less expensive way? I appologize for this long comment but I truly love the way you do things! Advice from you would really make my day! Thank you for all your great information and I love reading about your hilarious family! I love Jackson and Clyde and, well all of them really! Thanks again! From your newest blog addict, Andrea.

Ps. I live in Wisconsin and our winters are very cold and quite long. Any advice on how to make the girls happy in the cold months would be great.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Tom - so happy this post has been a source of information. I hear you about the critters having college degrees and such.....I have woodchucks that don't bother the girls but sure bother my garden and are very difficult to outsmart. :)

Anonymous - congratulations on the new chicks! You will have a great amount of fun with them.

Andrea - you have left such lovely comments - a heartfelt thank you to you. I'm so happy you're enjoying the posts and finding them helpful. Congratulations on the chicks!! As far as simplifying, the girls (chicks) will not be picky and will love anything you put together. Giving them nesting boxes that are not too high and out of direct sunlight would be key. You could even use old wooden crates if you found some, and mount them on the wall. If you have any specific questions I can certainly try to help - feel free to email me.

Thanks so much again!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Andrea - sorry, forgot to address the cold months question. You will definitely want a heater for the water if your coop has electricity to it. If it doesn't, make sure the water is located away from any drafts and make sure to break up any ice forming in it periodically throughout the day in below freezing temps.
For the most part, as long as you have cold hardy birds, they will do ok through winter - they do better in cold than in heat. If your coop is insulated and completely shut at night they should keep themselves warm with their combined body heat. If it's not insulated, as long as the coop is not too large they should be fine. I give ours a morning treat of cracked corn during the winter months since corn raises their body temperature. (summer we give them oats which lowers it)
Hope this helps!

andrea6479 said...

Thank you for the response! My coop is large because I love my girls :) but that was a concern of mine, it being too large. But with your advice I think we will be just fine :) I'm loving every minute of raising chicks and look forward to watching them grow! Thanks again

Kathi said...

Genious! I'm going to change the girls' door to open OUT instead of IN!

I once visited a place that used an old oven rack as a summer door for the hens, hinged at the top.

Stacie Byers said...

Staci,
Thank you for your informative article. My husband and I are going to be raising chickens in the near future and are just starting our research. Your post will be invaluable to us!

Thanks again,
Stacie

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much Stacie and congratulations on getting chickens very soon!!! You'll love having them around. :)

Anonymous said...

I learned a lot, but don't disregard painting the inside of your coop, if you live in the north (we are in Alaska, and have to light our chickens in the winter), white walls will make your coop look brighter! (and happier chickens :) )

maureen said...

Great post, many thanks for your advice as we are just building our coop. Your thoughts on external access to the nesting/egg laying area.

turtleinseattle said...

Thank you for a great article Staci! My husband and I are just starting on our homestead jouney and are so excited to have chickens in the spring. I had some growing up and have been dreaming of the eggs ever since. Do you have plans for your coop, and an estimated cost to build this one? Many thanks!

Lauren

Gordon said...

Well written and thought out! We've got about 80 chicks here in CT. We lined the floors of our coops with chicken wire. We may tack surplus wool blankets along the walls for added warmth once snow comes. Good luck!

Julia Higginson said...

I just wanted to say thanks for this post! We got our chickens in the summer and despite googling and pinning like mad I missed your blog! I have a piece of driftwood not too high off the ground in my coop for roosting but I worry they don't go on it! What do you recommend making the roosts out of (inside & outside would be helpful) thank you so much!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Julia - they are usually pretty adaptable to whatever you use, as long as it's small enough they can wrap their feet around and smooth enough it doesn't leave them with splinters {then they'll get Bumblefoot and that's NO FUN to deal with....}. They like to be up high, so if it's too low they may not be thrilled. Around waist high is usually a pretty good height to make them feel safe. Our indoor roost is made from a piece of 2x4 cut down and then the edges rounded. Our outdoor coop has a similar roost and then a wooden dowel for a roost. They use them all the time. I hope this helps! Thanks so much for your comment and happy you found us!!

hunkerbunker said...

Thank you, i know its an old post but it just helped me and build is tomarrow. Thanks a ton.

Ranch Supplycom said...

I love your blog! Seriously, I have been reading every single thing on here, lol. I love your personality and your ideas are so great! I'm so jealous of you! Lol. I have 10 baby chicks (that are currently in my house) and am in the process of perfecting my coop. I decided my original coop was too small and am not going to our 8x11 shed! I'm so excited chicken coops

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks so much hunkerbunker! I'm so happy this article helps.

Ranch Supply - thank you for such a kind comment! Good luck with the conversion to the shed - I hope it turns out fantastically!! :)

MariaT said...

Great info, thank you!!!