Designing Backyard Chicken Coops

When designing backyard chicken coops, there are several considerations. Are you intending to breed chickens for your own use only? Are you intending to sell chickens and eggs to others? How much space do you have to work with? How much can you spend? Your answers will determine the required sizes of any backyard coops. Coops will suit small breeders who intend to raise only a few chickens and have limited space, whereas medium coops can be used to conduct business with more chickens. Backyard chicken coops may or may not be appropriate for larger serious businesses; you will need to determine this yourself.

When breeders have decided on the size of their backyard housing, they must also determine whether or not the coops must be permanent or portable. Permanent backyard coops can be built more sturdily and with a greater number of amenities. Portable backyard fowl coops can be built so that they can be easily moved around the property, reducing the amount of toxic soil created over time.

Backyard chicken houses will contain as many amenities as is possible given space, size, and cost restraints. Nesting boxes are required to allow an area where the chickens can lay eggs. Roosts are required in order to provide a safe sleeping area overnight, secure from predators. Access for the breeder is needed; a human-sized entry door is standard on many backyard chicken coops, and hinged access doors to the nesting boxes and roost are a good idea for cleaning and egg retrieval. Backyard chicken coops may also include a small exercise area, either within the coop itself or just outside. Breeders may fence off a small area on one side of the building where the chickens can roam freely during the day.

Entry to the exercise area can be from the main access door, or from a small chicken-sized door that can be opened and closed as needed. Feeding areas in backyard chicken coops may be either permanent parts of the coop itself, or can be units that are hung within the coop. Hung units can be removed as needed.

Chickens make an enticing meal for many predators, and a potential chicken breeder quickly learns about all the possible animals from which they need to provide protection. Rodents are notorious at chewing through wood and wire, and can enter through the smallest openings. Once inside backyard chicken coops, they can wreak havoc with any eggs inside, as well as injuring the chickens themselves. Foxes are extremely agile and intelligent creatures that can easily figure out simple latches and exploit weaknesses in wire mesh.

Foxes will kill and eat any chickens they find, so backyard chicken coops must be built to protect against them. Even dogs cannot resist the lure of an easy meal, and many dogs are capable diggers, getting underneath a mesh fence and exploiting any backyard chicken coops that have been built without floors.

Designing Backyard Chicken Coops requires a thorough understanding of the purpose and challenges that exist. If a potential designer and/or buyer is able to understand the purpose of the coop and the environment where they will be placed, the best possible coops can be designed.