The Anatomy of a Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop Basics

Happy, low-stress chickens stay healthy longer and lay a lot more eggs. Your chicken coop should be designed to provide your chickens with a sense of security and a safe place to rest and lay eggs. Here are some simple guidelines of a great chicken coop.

  1. Enough space. If chickens feel cramped they will start pecking each other and fighting. This can cause stress, injury or infections that hurt your chicken’s health. A chicken coop should have 3-4 square feet per chicken to avoid overcrowding. 

For example, if a 4’X6’ chicken coop that is 6 feet tall will give you enough room for 6-12 chickens. It's better to have a coop that is a little too big than one that is too small. 

Here is a handy size chart: 

3’X4’    -  6 Chickens

4’X6’    -  6-12 Chickens

5’X7’    -  7-15 Chickens

6’X8’    -  12-24 Chickens

7’X8’    -  14-28 Chickens

8’X8’    -  16-32 Chickens

8’X10’  -  20-40 Chickens

  1. Nesting Boxes. Nesting boxes are where the chickens will lay their eggs and need to be comfortable and semi-private. A little bit of straw or coarse sawdust will add comfort and a space that is about 1.5 square feet with walls on three sides will create a sense of security for your hens. 

  1. Roosting Perches. Chickens prefer to sleep and rest on perches rather than on the ground. Round wooden rods make great perches. This is also where they will poop so make sure the area under the perches is easy to clean 

  1. Good ventilation. Chickens produce a lot of ammonia and their coops need to be well ventilated. During the day, you can leave the door open to get plenty of airflow, but make sure there are vents for when the doors are closed at night. 

  1. Secure door. At night you’ll want to lock your chickens into their coop to keep them safe from predators and to help them sleep. A strong door with a good latch is critical. For extra convenience, check out the latest solar power doors with timers built in so that your chickens are always safe, even if you’re out of town or unable to check on them at night. 

Follow these guidelines and your chickens will be happy and healthy for years to come. They’ll reward you with plenty of eggs.