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How to Find the Right Chicken Nesting Boxes For Your Flock

How To Find the Right Chicken Nesting Boxes for Your Flock

chicken nesting boxes

Do your ladies require some privacy?

Chicken nesting boxes help encourage your hens to lay eggs in a clean location.

They are a great way to offer both privacy and peace for the chicken, and are a popular addition on any chicken coop.

A good nesting box ensures that the eggs are in a clean environment. This means that you won't have to worry about them laying their eggs all over the pen or worse, in chicken poop.

What Makes A Good Chicken Nesting Box?

A good nesting box will have room for the hen to sit comfortably while she lays her eggs.

It should be a decent size that allows for room to sit comfortably but not too large. If it is too big, the hens wont like it becuase there is no feeling of security or privacy for her

Good nesting boxes are also made of durable and easy to clean material. Often several hens will use the same nesting box, so they will get used a lot and can get quite dirty

There isn't necessarily one material (like plastic or wood) that is better than others for your boxes. You can re-purpose materials or you can buy them ready or you can create your own out of reclaimed wood, plastic materials or even milk crates.

Some easy to make alternatives use buckets or baskets to create nesting boxes

NOTE - Scroll down for more information on building your own nesting box​

The Most Popular Nesting Boxes

How Many Chicken Nesting Boxes Do You Need?

Most experts on chickens suggest one nest per four hens. Still other experts will stretch it out to five hens per nesting box. 

Basically, it will depend upon how many chickens you have and how much room you have to work with.

If your chickens get along well and will allow one chicken nesting box per five chickens you can work from there.

Otherwise, stick to one nesting box per three or four hens. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect number of nesting boxes for your ladies.

Chickens want to be able to sit comfortably in the nesting box with just enough room to turn around.

If they have too much room they won't use it and if there isn't enough room they won't use it. The standard size is 12x12x12 inches (30cm).

Getting More Eggs with Your Nesting Box

Chickens like being treated well. If you keep this in mind your chickens will treat you well

It's best to use soft bedding in your nesting box that will allow the chicken to create a nest in it for laying the egg

You don't want to use something like shredded paper that absorbs water as it will stick to the bloom on the egg when it is first laid.

This will then require the egg to be washed which will remove the bloom. (The bloom is a clear coating that protects the egg from bacteria.)

A good way to get more eggs is to give your chickens a bit of privacy in the nesting box. You can do this by creating a curtain or a doorway that allows the chicken to enter the nesting box while protecting her privacy.

Chickens much prefer privacy when laying eggs. It's simple to create and will likely mean you get more eggs

What Are The Average Prices of Chicken Nesting Boxes?

The price is going to be dependent upon whether you buy your nesting boxes ready made or create them yourself from materials that you already have on hand.

On the cheaper side, with a bit of creativity and some time you can build your own nesting box for very little money (sometimes even free).

You can pick up a nesting box for less than $20

On the other end of the scale, the higher quality nesting boxes retail for under $100

What Is The Difference between a Pricey Nesting Box and a Cheap One?

Nesting boxes can be very basic and cheap or they can be relatively elaborate and expensive

It will be dependent upon your budget, what you decide to make your nesting boxes from and if you're re purposing other items for your nesting boxes.

The best nesting boxes are those that can easily be cleaned and sanitized. Metals, plastics and the like are much easier to clean than wood or other materials (although wood and other materials can also be cleaned, it's just more of a challenge).

The Most Recommended Ways to Make Your Own Nesting Box 

Here are some great ideas for Chicken Nesting Boxes:

  • Use a cat litter box with a cover.
  • Old cracked ceramic crocks on their side may work well if they are large enough.
  • Wine or whiskey barrels.
old wine barrel

Old Wine Barrel

  • A 55 gallon drum that is cut into half and put up on legs will work well and can be divided into a few nesting boxes.
  • Shallow trash cans of metal or plastic.
  • Milk crates.
milk crate

Milk Crate

  • Soda crates.
  • Any wooden crates (keep in mind these are more difficult to clean).
  • Medium sized pet crates.
  • Large plastic salad bowls.
large wood salad bowl

Large Wood Salad Bowl

  • Check out the dollar store and see what plastic items they have (remember, you can lay them on their sides).
  • Large plastic planters on their side.

In Summary...

Always remember, happy chickens will lay more eggs than chickens that aren't happy. When chickens are happy they will lay eggs in their proper places (nesting boxes) and you won't have to play hide and seek with them for the eggs.

Keep the bedding clean and comfortable and the chickens should do the rest of the work for you by providing you with plenty of eggs.

If you have any comments, queries or questions please use the contact page.

The Pros & Cons of Chicken Pens, and are They A Good Option for Your Flock?

The Pros & Cons of Chicken Pens, and are They A Good Option for Your Flock?

Chicken pens give your chickens the benefit of being out in the yard and enjoying the elements while staying safe

They provide protection from predators getting in, as well as chickens getting lost. Chicken pens also offer your chickens an additional safety net when compared to free range chickens, and chickens that are let loose in a backyard

What Exactly Is Chicken Pen And How Is It Different From A Chicken Coop?

Many people are easily confused when it comes to the difference between a chicken coop and a chicken pen. A chicken coop is a safe place that provides warmth, safety and a nest for the chickens to lay eggs. A chicken pen is a fenced in area of your yard where the chickens can get out and get some exercise while they are exploring and enjoying their freedom while still remaining safe from predators.

It's kind of like the difference between your home and your yard. You live in your home, and go out and play in the yard. By the same token, your chickens live in the coop and go out and play in the pen.

Typically, the backyard chicken pen is for providing shelter as well as food and a safe location for them to lay eggs. It keeps predators out thus protecting your chickens from harm and you can use the feces to fertilize your yard and garden by moving the pen around or simply by cleaning the pen out.

Benefits Of Chicken Pen Compared To Other Options

A chicken pen is an ideal option if you're in an area that is subject to inclement weather. If your area is subject to flash floods, gale force winds or other weather patterns, you can easily move your pen if you've designed it properly.

What Makes A Good Chicken Pen?

  • A good chicken pen will keep your chickens from harm. It will help them to stay in a specific area and it will keep them safe from predators. It will offer your chickens a place to roost, peck at the gravel or dirt and offer some free range and sunshine.
  • A good pen will be sturdy enough to withstand predators yet comfortable enough for your chickens to safely enjoy their day out of doors.

Where Can You find Supplies?

  • There are many places that you can produce supplies for your chicken coop. If you have the money and wish to buy everything brand new you can go to a farm store, feed store, home improvement store, big box store or the like.
  • If you're into recycling you may wish to go a slightly different route and find recycled wood and fencing to build your pen with. You can stop at construction sites and ask what they do with their leftover wood, many will simply give it to you. It certainly can't hurt to ask, the worse they can say is "no".

Should You Build or Buy A Chicken Pen?

There are many things that must be considered before purchasing or building a chicken pen

Before you ever begin your quest for a chicken pen you'll want to know the options and the pros and cons of building your own chicken pen or buying a ready made one

Pros & Cons In Buying A Chicken Pen 

Pros 

  • No need to procure supplies.
  • Ready made.
  • Pre assembled.
  • Choose from many styles.

Cons 

  • Your options may be limited.
  • You may need a larger pen but not be able to add to it readily.
  • Some components may be sub par in quality.
  • May be pricey.
  • May not be as easy to clean.

Portable Pens

Portable pens are ideal if you have to worry about predators as you can simply move the pen closer to your house or barn if you need to.

Designing your own pen allows you the opportunity to create it to your own specific designs and specifications allowing you the freedom to move the pen or keep it stationary.

There are some good examples of chicken pens on the Internet that you can look over if you so desire

They are reasonably priced and come in a variety of shapes and sizes or you can simply buy your own pet fencing and create your own chicken pen. From large to small you can create the ideal chicken pen for your chickens.

Pros & Cons In Building Your Own Chicken Pen

Pros 

  • By designing your own chicken pen you can make it as large or small as desired.
  • You can add to it if desired.
  • You're more in control of the overall cost of building your pen.
  • Can be designed for easier cleaning.
  • Building your own chicken pen can allow you the freedom of making it portable or stationary.

Cons 

  • You must procure supplies.
  • Some supplies may be difficult to locate.
  • Some supplies be be costly.
  • It takes more time to build your own pen.
  • You must have the proper tools to build your own pen.
  • You'll need to have a proper chicken pen design in mind.

How Big Should A Chicken Pen Be?

Your chicken pen should allow for, 2 to 5 feet squared per chicken. If you have 4 chickens you're going to want it to be at least 8 feet squared, many people prefer to go up to 5 feet squared per chicken.

It won't matter what the breed of your chickens is when considering size of the chicken pen.

It's important to recognize that the size of the chicken pen will be dependent upon how many chickens you have and its goal is to protect your chickens from predators while they are out in the yard.

In order for your chickens to be productive and healthy you're going to want them to have plenty of room for exercising.

Tips for Chicken Husbands Who Use Chicken Pens

  • Remember that you want your pen to be easy to clean out. Excessive amounts of ammonia can cause your chickens to have respiratory illnesses so be sure that you keep this in mind when you're setting up your pen.
  • Your pen should be cleaned out every month or every two months at the most. Use the feces for fertilizer (mix it in and allow it to decompose or it will actually burn your plants). If you have a movable pen you can move it when you clean it.
  • Always lock your pen up at night, chickens are easy prey for dogs, coyotes, wolves, possums, foxes and raccoons. Ensure that the latches can't be flicked open easily. Consider a barrel bolt latch or some other more complicated means of latching your coop for extra protection.
  • Consider adding hardware cloth to your pen as well. This can add an extra measure of protection keeping predators out.
  • Remember that your chicken pen is only as strong as you make it so make it a strong safe haven for your chickens.

Warnings

  • Avoid using particle board or strand board in your pen. It has harsh chemicals that can harm you chickens.
  • Check all laws and regulations if you're within the city limits. Some cities will allow you a few chickens but no roosters.

If you have any comments, queries or questions please use the contact page.

The 10 Best Chicken Coop Bedding Options – Reviewed

The 10 Best Chicken Coop Bedding Options - Reviewed

Laying down some new best chicken coop bedding

Bedding and litter in the chicken coop, nesting boxes, run and other areas of the enclosure isn't for luxury. It's to help give the chickens a foundation for their legs and to provide for a safe landing for the eggs they're going to lay.

Deciding which type of litter to use can be a bit confusing. To make things a bit easier for you, we've gone over some of your options so that you'll have a better understanding of what each type of litter can provide.

As a chicken owner, you may be doing a bit of hemming and hawing over what animal bedding to use. You'll want to consider the price of the bedding as well as how well it works on odor and of course, how clean it's going to keep your chicken coop.

best chicken coop bedding - chicken laying eggs in nesting box

Many people seem to think that cheaper is better. With chicken bedding options there are good cheap options, but you typically get what you pay for.

As a chicken owner, chicken bedding doesn't stop at nesting. Some types of bedding may cause respiratory illness and possibly even death. This guide is designed to give you an excellent place to begin your search on which bedding is best suited for your chickens.

What Exactly Is Animal Bedding?

Animal bedding is the substrate that you'll be putting into your chicken coop to help absorb liquids and cushion their feet as they walk and the eggs as they're laid. It will help the chickens to safely walk in and around the cage.

Many chicken farmers have used hay and straw for animal bedding, however, there are many more cost effective options for bedding on the market today.

How Frequently Should I Change My Chicken Bedding?

Typically speaking, the animal bedding should be exchanged when the odor begins to build up around the chicken coop.

If you are plugging your nose and having a difficult time breathing while out in the chicken coop, it's time to change the bedding. It won't harm the chickens to change the bedding in fact, it may help to prevent other health issues.

While changing the bedding, it's also a good time to disinfect the coop with an all natural cleaner like apple cider vinegar to help prevent any bacterial buildup that could make your chickens ill.

What Does The Bedding Do?

A clean chicken coop ensures healthier chickens. If your chickens are walking in chicken poop and moldy bedding, The mold spores can lead to health issues and diseases and other upper respiratory illnesses.

Many chicken owners are extremely vigilant about keeping their coops clean and will “spot clean or poo pick” the bedding daily or each time they are in the coop. While this extreme isn't really necessary, it will certainly help to maintain the level of cleanliness that will help to ensure that the chickens remain healthy.

Cleaning the coop daily isn't quite necessary but it should definitely be cleaned every 2 weeks to maintain and ensure a level of cleanliness that will help to maintain a healthy coop.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Bedding And How Do They Differ?

There are a wide variety of different kinds of bedding and each type has its own pros and cons. Here is a list to help you understand the differences between the different kinds of bedding.

Bedding TypePriceEase to useHow often have to change
Straw and Hay$$$$★★★Once per week
Pine Shavings$$★★Once per quarter
Excelsior Fiber$$$$★★★★★Only when overly soiled
Sand$$$$★★★★★Once or twice per year
Grass Clippings$Every few days
Shredded Leaves$★★★Every few days
Recycled Paper/ Newspaper$★★Every few days
Shredded Cardboard$$★★★Every few days
Sawdust$Frequently
Hemp$$$$$★★★★★Once or twice per year

- Straw And Hay

Straw & Hay

Many chicken owners like straw for its earthy smell and texture. It's an ideal option made from wheat, barley, oats or rye or any other such grasses that are available.

Many, such as oat and wheat are more absorbent which will make it easier to clean out the coop. Unfortunately, straw is notorious for not holding up very well in the rain and it may be moldy which can lead to other issues. All though it's affordable, it's not really very economical due to how it holds up in inclement weather.

Hay is very similar to straw in composition, however, it's much more expensive. It's also not the most durable and may break down in inclement weather as well. It develops mold spores easily and this in turn may make for some very sick chickens.

Straw and hay are very well suited to animals who enjoy nibbling on hay however it's not the best choice for your chickens for their bedding.

- Pine Shavings

pine shavings bedding for chicken coop

Another popular option is to use pine shavings. These are readily available at feed supply stores as well as pet supply stores, large box stores and specialty stores.

They are very expensive, don't break down readily and dry quickly.

The scent of pine is amazing however, it will break down over the course of time.

best chicken coop bedding - excelsior nesting pads

Excelsior fibre pads are becoming a popular bedding material for chicken husbands.

- Excelsior Fiber

Also known as 'wood wool' a newer option is to use excelsior fiber pads as a bedding option for your chickens in their nesting boxes.

Some chicken husbands love them because they leave the eggs on top and absorb any fluids, feces etc down and away from the laying area.

Chickens like sitting on these pads and they are as easy as kitchen sponges to replace, just pull it out and put in another one. Although they have the possibility to become a little expensive

- Wood Shavings

Wood Shavings

There are a few different kinds of wood shavings. They should have already have had the dust removed so that your chickens won't have to deal with any respiratory issues.

Usually these will be absorbent and hygienic however, they may have other issues such as pesticides or larger sized chunks as well as sawdust so be sure that you're getting all natural and that it's had the dust extracted. Cedar and other woods may make up the shavings.

Always read labels and ask questions of the sales staff prior to purchase. Keep in mind that when using cedar, Cedar shavings have been known to cause respiratory problems in chickens so use at your own risk.

- Sand

Sand

Excellent and very clean, it's expensive to start out with however, it will only need to be replaced about two times per year. It dries out quickly and as long as it's being raked out frequently it shouldn't pose any issues.

Many chicken farmers use a cat litter scoop to keep their coop clean when they use sand. It won't break down and dries out quickly which makes it an ideal option. Keep in mind that the finer the sand the more likely it is to clump when moistened.

- Grass Clippings

Grass Clippings

If you have a large enough yard, you may opt to use your grass clippings. They work well, however there are a few reasons you may opt to not use them. They do tend to stay wet when it rains or they're moistened.

They also break down very quickly, since they are grass they will dry up and begin to smell quickly as well. If you're using grass clippings ensure that there are no pesticides used in the grass that has been mowed as well as any herbicides, chemicals or fungicides.

Chickens will peck at anything and ingest it so be sure there aren't any bits or pieces of anything that could injure your chickens.

- Shredded Leaves

Shredded Leaves

Dry Leaves - can be a good chicken bedding

If you have a lot of trees you could save the leaves in the fall. However, leaves must be finely shredded and require proper preparation.

Whole leaves will take a very long time to break down so they aren't really a good option. Shredded leaves will break down quickly so you'll have to replace them often and they tend to harbor the moisture.

Wet leaves tend to stick together and mat up as well which can make for a slippery walking surface. Leaves tend to work well when mixed in with other types of bedding.

- Recycled Paper

best chicken coop bedding - shredded paper

Best chicken coop bedding - Shredded Paper

Shredded newspaper and other recycled papers are an ideal way to give your chickens a nearly free bedding.

However, be cautious as the papers may contain poisonous inks, staples (if they are from shredded paper in offices) and papers that have chemicals or been chemically processed.

Be mindful of the type of paper being shredded and its former life before choosing this option.

- Newspaper

Another popular option for those who recycle, it may be an effective form of bedding however there are still inks to consider as well as the fact that mold may easily develop as it won't fully dry out.

While it may work short term, be aware that you'll have to replace it a few times per week and have a steady supply in order to have it available as often as you're going to need it.

- Hemp

Hemp

Perhaps one of the best options on the market today, hemp is made of the stalk of the cannabis plant. It's an ideal substrate option as it's odorless, fully absorbent and it is an all around organic product.

It can help to keep the coop clean for a longer period of time. It also tends to keep out the creepy crawlies that like to check out your chicken coop. As a natural pesticide it works well and although it tends to be higher priced, many chicken farmers say it's well worth the price.

- Sawdust

Perhaps the most discouraged by seasoned chicken farmers, sawdust is dangerous due to the powdery nature and the dust that it harbors. If you're hoping to avoid upper respiratory issues, this is not the route to go. It's not very absorbent and it tends to harbor maggots. Go for something else if you're concerned about the health.

best chicken coop bedding - sawdust

Obviously the decision is all up to the chicken farmers however it's important to choose one that will keep your chickens healthy without harboring any harmful bacteria, bugs or anything else that can cause problems.

Many choose to change the bedding frequently and that can never hurt. By keeping the bedding fresh and healthy the chickens are going to be healthier and provide more to the chicken farmer. Remember too that keeping the nesting boxes and the under trays fresh and clean is vital for their health as well.

What are the popular choices for Chicken Coop Bedding in the different areas of my coop?

- Nesting Boxes

Many chicken farmers prefer wood shavings for their nesting boxes. Some prefer hay or straw and change it frequently. Whichever you select, remember to keep it dry and ensure that the chickens aren't suffering from any respiratory issues.

For more scent or to keep it fresh mix in some mint, lavender or rosemary. This will also keep pests at bay. You'll also want to ensure that the scents aren't bothering the chickens respiratory health either.

- Coop

Many farmers prefer pine or cedar for the scent however, keep in mind the respiratory issues regarding the chickens. Obviously, you'll want something that is easy to keep clean and change out as needed and you'll want it to be affordable. Many farmers use the deep litter method in order to avoid wasting the bedding and save on money. Again, keep the health of the flock in mind at all times.

- Run

Outdoor runs are ideal and most chicken farmers prefer sand for outdoor runs. Sand is ideal and works well however, it won't break down so keep this in mind. You'll have to use a cat litter scoop in order to scoop out the debris and manure frequently. Chickens love dust bathing and sand is ideal for this use.

As long as you're willing to clean it frequently, sand will be a fine option for your outdoor run. Remember to avoid very fine sand as it can be aspirated by the chickens. A medium sand grain will be fine to ensure that they're not having respiratory issues.

Summary

As you can see, you get what you pay for with chicken coop bedding. And all the options will suit different chicken coops.

We hope that you choice to find the best chicken coop bedding for you has been made a little easier. Thanks for reading

If you have any comments, queries or questions please use the contact page.

The Ultimate Buyers Guide To Chicken Cages

The Ultimate Buyers Guide to Chicken Cages for the Suburbs (and Hobby Farms)

Chicken in Chicken Cages - Buyers Guide Page

Whether you're looking for a top of the line chicken cage, or something that is simplistic yet functional, there are many new things to learn about what makes a good chicken cage.

What is a Chicken Cage Anyway?

To start with, let's examine the difference between a coop and a cage. Many of the chicken coops are made from soft timbers which do not stand up to harsh weather or time very well.

My idea of a cage is made from metal. Why?

Metal cages are designed to stand the test of time while tending to be much more rugged, tough and durable. Thus offering your chickens much more protection from the elements and predators than a wooden coop.

What To Look For In A Chicken Cage

Keeping your chickens safe from harm and providing them a warm and dry environment is the first thing that should be considered when you're considering a chicken cage. Other things to consider are whether or not you're going to have a mobile cage that can be moved around your yard or property, or if you're going to use a stable cage that isn't moveable.

Whichever route you select will be dependent upon a few factors. Your space (do you have the room to have a movable cage?) and your ability to move a moveable cage yourself (some require two or more persons to move them about the property).

Let's take a moment and examine the pros and cons of mobile vs immobile cages.

Mobile Cages - Pros vs Cons

Pros

  • If you're using a mobile cage you can move it about your yard and garden thus offering fertilizer to various areas of your yard as needed.
  • You can take advantage of exposure to the sun and prevent the chickens from having to be out in an area that may receive a lot of the wind or even rain.

Cons

  • If there are weather related issues such as too much wind or rain you'll have to build a cover or wind brace for the cage.
  • Size limited - You can only build a movable cage so big
  • Can be less secure and more prone to predator attacks

Immobile Cages - Pros vs Cons

Pros

  • If you're using a mobile cage you can move it about your yard and garden thus offering fertilizer to various areas of your yard as needed.
  • You can take advantage of exposure to the sun and prevent the chickens from having to be out in an area that may receive a lot of the wind or even rain.
  • Tend to be more secure (you can even build it above ground to stop predators digging to get in)

Cons

  • You'll have to clean out your chicken cage more frequently and then turn your chicken manure and used bedding into compost.
  • You'll need an area to store your used bedding and manure while it's turned into compost.
  • You're stuck with the cage where it's built.

So What Should You Choose?

If you're in a more rural area with more space you're much more likely to want the stable, immovable type of cage that you can set up easily somewhere on your property. This can be a very small cage to a large cage that rivals the size of a small bedroom. It's all up to you and how many chickens you plan to keep.

Smaller blocks tend to be more suited toward a movable cage. Predators are less of an issue in suburbs and having a movable cage is great for your lawn and doesn't take up a large section of your yard.

If you are selecting a movable cage to be sure that it's all set up so that you can see what it will look like after you put it together. You'll want to see the type of construction as well as the type of materials that it's constructed from.

Can I still be free range if I have a stationary chicken cage?

Even if you have an immovable structure, you can still allow your chickens to free-range by simply opening the pen up during the day. Chickens that are free range will enjoy dining on bugs, grasses, plants, seeds (from weeds and the like) and whatever else they may find in and about the property.

This benefits your property in a myriad of ways so it is something that is important to consider prior to beginning construction on your chicken cage.

Special Notes On Free Range Chickens

If you're planning to free range your chickens you can use either of the above-mentioned methods. You'll want to keep your chickens penned up for a few days so that they know where “home” is and then you can allow them out during the day to range about the property picking at bugs and the like.

What Size Chicken Cage Do I need?

On average, you'll need to have 3 to 4 square feet per chicken that you have in your flock.

If you have smaller bantam sized chickens you can get away with 2 to 3 square feet per chicken.

You'll need to plan out their roosts and nesting boxes so that each chicken feels that they have enough space. Typically, you'll need at least one nesting box per 3 chickens so take that into account when you're planning out your chicken cage.

How Much Yard Space Do I Need?

When considering who is buying a chicken cage the farm life often comes to mind, however, as more cities are allowing their residents to raise hens more urban dwellers than ever before are buying and building chicken cages.

If you are located in the suburbs, it's important for to check with your specific city for any specific ordinances regarding raising chickens in town. Many have a limit on the number of chickens (usually from three to six per residence) allowed and typically none will allow a rooster to reside within city limits

The Different Features And Security Measures Of Chicken Cages

Choosing Your Net Or Wire

The wire on the chicken cage can help to keep the chickens in the chicken cage, however, if it's not of a strong enough gauge it may not keep out the fox or the dog that is intent on a nice chicken dinner. So it's imperative to ensure that the gauge of the chicken wire is of such a strength to protect the chickens from such predators.

You'll have many options when it comes to net or wire. Here are some of the options you'll have to make decisions from:

Galvanized Hardware Cloth

For a 24 inch by 50 foot roll (1/2 inch) joins you can expect to pay approx $40. Available here

Galvanized hardware cloth is an ideal choice for enclosing a chicken cage. You'll want this to be at least ½ inch or 19 gauge. The smaller openings may be more brittle and break easily. However, keep in mind that larger openings may allow predators in such as rats or snakes.

Hardware cloth is available in 3, 4, 5 and even 6-foot rolls. Typically, chicken owners choose those that are three to four feet and these will be anywhere from 5, 25, 50 or 100 feet in length.

It is recommended that you not use a power staple gun on this as it tends to not be as strong. Chickens may peck at these. Always opt for a pneumatic staple gun made for this purpose.

Chicken Netting

Chicken Netting is approx $15-$20 for a roll. Sizes Vary from 2-3 foot tall by 50 foot long. Available Here.

Chicken Wire

Perhaps due to the name, most people choose chicken wire for their cages. With thin hexagonal openings made of wire that is woven together, this is fairly inexpensive, but it will rust very easily. Sadly, it won't protect your chickens from raccoons nor will it protect from other predator

It's fine for a daytime cage that you don't have to be concerned about predators in, however, at night, it won't be very secure. Many people choose to use chicken wire only on the upper sections of their coops in order to save a few dollars. However, rodents and raccoons don't mind climbing for a nice chicken dinner.

Chain Link Fence - We found a great resource for putting one up here

Chain Link

Chain link fencing is strong and fairly easy to purchase. Chickens will be kept in and the dog may stay out, however, a sneaky raccoon who is determined to dine on your chickens won't be deterred.

It can cause some chaos and a bit too much excitement for the rest of the chickens or for children to see a baby chick snatched away and eaten. Always ensure that the chickens can retreat to a safe zone within such a cage.

Installing chain link fencing does require some building knowledge (mostly around putting in posts square). Many people get them put in professionally, but you can get what you need from hardware stores like lowes and home depot.

Rabbit Wire Fence

Heavy gauge wire fencing that is welded with 3 to 4-inch squares or rectangular openings will help to provide an additional measure of security to your chicken cage. You can attach it to the floor to give your cage more security. It will prevent predators from tunneling under and allow the chickens to scratch and graze while offering up some protection.

Rabbit wire fence can be also used in chicken cages as extra protection

This rabbit wire fence has reinforcement at the bottom where it is most likely needed. See this and more rabbit wire fence types here.

It works more in the daytime and you'll want to ensure that there is additional security for the pen at night. You can overlap them or choose a smaller mesh in order to prevent visits from predators.

A typical 28 inch by 50 foot roll will cost you around $30 to $50.​

Electric Wire, Do You Need it?

Electric fencing may also be used to add an extra level of protection to the chicken cage. Wild animals such as raccoons and other predators may be dissuaded from pestering and snitching chickens by an electric fence.

Many farmers choose electric fencing and create a wide perimeter in order to allow for some free range without having to worry about predators. By utilizing portable power sources, they can make it as large or as small as desired and keep their chickens safe.

When installing an electric fence you will also need to purchase a charger which plugs into an wall outlet - view a range of fence and chargers here

There is also electric poultry netting that may be purchased if you're residing in an area where hawks or other large predator birds may pose a potential threat to the livelihood of raising chickens.

Tips for Dealing with Predators

Chicken cages are being used to help protect chickens from both the elements and other animals that may bother the chickens such as foxes and dogs.

A sensor light such as this one can deter predators and alert you when there is a cause for concern. More detail here

While many can train a dog to leave the chickens alone, there are times that dogs get the taste of blood and must be kept separated from the chickens for the safety of both the chickens and the dogs (neighboring chicken raisers tend to frown on a neighbor dog that attacks chickens and it's important to keep the neighbor's happy as well).

Seal all of the openings that are more than an inch with hardware cloth, you'd be surprised at how a large sized rodent or predator can squeeze through such a small opening and help themselves to a free chicken dinner.

When sealing openings, be sure to use screws as nails and staples can be manipulated and maneuvered aside to gain easy access.

Lastly, it's recommended that chicken cage owners attach a ½ inch hardware cloth to all of the open sides of the cage and then enclose it in a run to ensure their safety at night. Be sure to consider the top side of the cage and if it's open cover it with something to protect them from climbing predators.

It's important to remember that the cage is only as strong as the owner makes it so be sure to consider all of the possible predators that are relative to the specific area. Cover the exposed areas accordingly to protect your chickens.

dog and chicken

Dogs can protect chickens from other predators, but must be trained properly

Extra Security for Your Chickens

Often a dog can be trained to chase away other potential predators to the chickens. It's usually best to select a dog breed that is easily trainable for such purposes. Train the dog from the time it's a puppy as older dogs do tend to be more challenging when it comes to training them to protect, and not eat the chickens.

Should You Choose a Cage Floor, or a Dirt Floor?

Another consideration is whether or not to have the bottom of the cage as a dirt “floor” or as a drop down opening that can be readily cleaned. Both have their benefits. Drop down openings may leave room for a predator to sneak in and help themselves to a free chicken dinner.

A dirt floor will require a lot of maintenance, especially if the cage is stationary. You'll have to go out and clean it out at least weekly. This will involve raking out the old scratch, manure and other debris that may accumulate in the pen.

There are a variety of different features within a chicken cage. The cage has several main purposes and some sub-purposes. One of the main purposes of the chicken cage it to provide the chickens with some security from predators and the weather elements.

Always consider just how much work you really want to do on your cage and take it from there. If you're looking for a fairly maintenance free chicken cage you're going to want to consider all of the potential angles of your care and maintenance program for your chickens.

What Else is Needed to Keep Chickens in a Chicken Cage?

Perches

Chickens love to have a perch to sit on and peruse their surroundings. These are inside of the cage and will provide for a place that they can sit comfortably off of the ground. These should be at least 2 or more inches off of the ground. It should also be higher than the entry to the nesting box as the chickens like to perch higher than the nesting box.

If the perch isn't high enough, the chickens will roost in the nesting box and this can become very messy very quickly. When chickens are on the perch roosting is when they tend to produce the most poop so keep this in mind on the placement of the perch.

Roosting in the nesting box can cause very soiled eggs and a lot of hassle for the chicken farmer. Keep all of this in mind when determining the actual level of the chicken perches.

Perches should be low enough to the ground that when the chickens awaken they simply step off of the perch and safely to the ground. Leg injuries can be catastrophic to the chicken so keep this in mind.

Also, perches should allow for at least 8 to 12 inches of personal space per chicken. While they do tend to cozy up together, they don't appreciate having their beak in the neighbors tail feathers.

Nesting Boxes

The nesting boxes should be up off of the ground and in a dark corner of the chicken cage. It should offer plenty of ventilation so that there won't be any condensation build up even in colder or wet weather.

How many do you need?

When it comes to nesting boxes there should be at least one nesting box for every 3 chickens.

How important is Ventilation?

Chicken nesting box

A happy chicken in a nesting box. This one and other like it are available here.

Keep in mind that ventilation operates on the principle that warm air should leave via the higher gap of the nesting box and draw the cooler air in from the lower portion of the nesting box. These ventilation holes aren't on the opposite sides of the nesting box nor are they at the same level. This creates a draft for the air to freely flow through the nesting box.

What is the best Size of Nesting Boxes

Nesting boxes should be no more than 1 foot by 1 foot in size. Any large may feel insecure to the chickens and any smaller and you risk your chickens feeling crowded. Use a landing board or ramp to ensure that the nesting materials remain in the nesting box.

Many chicken farmers also have an outside access to the nesting boxes for the purpose of gathering eggs and changing the bedding materials.

Chicken Run

Lastly, you'll want to consider the run. The chicken run should be of ample area for the chickens to be out and about. If you have free range chickens you won't need to worry about this as you'll be letting them out in the mornings and putting them back inside in the evenings.

However, if you're using a method in which your chickens aren't given free range you'll want to ensure that they have plenty of area to move about freely and comfortably. On average, one chicken per every 4 feet should be sufficient.

If you buy the right sized cage you're going to enjoy it for a long time to come, however, if you buy too small of a cage you're going to run into issues from the start. Count your chickens and make the appropriate decisions for space when you're considering your chicken cage.

As long as the chickens have plenty of space you won't have to worry much about bullying or egg eating chickens. If they are stressed or don't have enough space you'll know it quickly by these specific behaviors.

What is The Average Price Of A Chicken Cage?

More details on ready made chicken cages just like this one can be found here

Although chicken cages can be readily bought pre-made, you'll want to consider your specific needs and wants and compare pricing side by side. You can purchase the appropriate wire or mesh fabric and create your own cage, or you can go with a prefabricated cage.

Here are some basic pricing structures to keep in mind when you're deciding which route to go.

Prices of a chicken cage are going to be dependent upon how large or small of a cage is purchased. On average, chicken cage prices will range from as low as $150 upwards to $500 or $600 or even a few thousand for a larger sized cage with all of the amenities.

Again, it's important to keep in mind that a cheaper cage may be made of wood that hasn't fully seasoned yet and it may be very cheaply made. This means that when it rains the wood will be damaged and as the sun heats it back up you may have to deal with splintering wood that a good wind could easily destroy.

Another example of a ready made cage suitable for chickens. More detail here

What to Look for in a Good Chicken Cage

The main differences in chicken cages are portability and durability. Both of which can be had at a reasonable price. Look for the gauge of metal (thickness), look how it's put together and if possible ask and/or read reviews of people who have that chicken cage (one of the benefits of buying a ready made is you can use reviews)

Always opt for quality over quantity and remember that it's not unusual to upgrade periodically once the main chicken cage has been established.

Roosts and perches may be replaced periodically and ramps and wire may also be replaced over the lifetime of the cage. Runs should be upgraded to larger areas if more chickens are purchased or hatched.

What Are The Most Recommended Ones?

To find the most recommended chicken cages you'll want to get to know some of the other chicken farmers in your area. Ask around at the local grange. Check with the local feed and seed stores, get to know your neighbors and find out what features they suggest are the most important.

Each region will have its own specifics so keep this in mind as you peruse your options. Take into account your surroundings as well as what you do have available on your own property. For some, this may mean redesigning an outbuilding on the property itself, for others, it may mean starting at the beginning and creating your own design or buying a prefab chicken cage.

Where to Find Chicken Cages

You can start looking online at places like Amazon and Walmart. Home Depot, Lowes and your local hardware store is likely to sell equipment for you to put together your cage.

You can also walk into any feed and seed store and you're sure to find a myriad of options for chicken cages, especially if you're going in during the early spring months of the year. They will also have a variety of chicks to select from.

After considering all of your options you'll have some ideas in mind of what you're looking for. Many offer a variety of chicken cages from the stable shed type building with a run to the more mobile type building for your chickens.

Where to go from here...

Now that you know the difference between a cage and a coop, wire mesh, galvanized wire and mesh fabric, mobile and immobile cages, you can go ahead and buy or create your own masterpiece.

Remember to consider all of the variables and that you can always start small and work your way up to a larger sized cage. Be sure to pay special attention to how much space each chicken will have so that they don't feel insecure or overcrowded. Your primary concern should be the safety of your chickens and ease of managing them on a daily basis.

Keeping and tending to your chickens should be a fun adventure and once you have it up and running you shouldn't have to do much more than ensure that they are safe in their pen at night and have plenty of scratch and a fresh water supply.

Thanks for reading​.

If you have any questions, queries or comments please use the contact form.​

How to Keep Chickens in 4 Easy to Understand Steps

How To Keep Chickens In 4 Easy Steps...

and

What You Can Expect From Your Future Flock

how to keep chickens

Keeping chickens isn't as complicated as it may seem

There are 4 main steps that are key. Abide by these, and your on your way to becoming the 'husband' of a healthy flock. To make it easy, follow the plan below and don't be afraid to click on a link if you need more information.

1. Regulations

As more people turn to raising chickens in town to help make ends meet, garner eggs and meat, it's important to note that many areas have regulations regarding how many chickens you can raise. They also tend to regulate whether or not you can have a rooster (it seems to be greatly frowned upon to have a rooster residing in town).

If your zoning area is urban you may be fine to have some chickens. However, if you're residing in a residential area you may have to have a permit or only be allowed to have a certain amount of chickens.

women-with-young-chicken

If you're living in a rental you may also have to have permission from your landlord regarding whether or not you can raise chickens on the property.

If you're unsure of how your specific neighborhood is classified you can check with your local city hall. They should have records on each and every home in the area and be able to tell you if your home is inside or outside of the city limits.

To know whether you can legally keep chickens at your home residence, you need to explore the zoning laws for your location. Then, take a look at any special regulations in that zoning district that may affect either chicken-keeping or building chicken housing. Each area will be slightly different.

To know whether you can legally keep chickens at your home residence, you need to explore the zoning laws for your location. Then, take a look at any special regulations in that zoning district that may affect either chicken-keeping or building chicken housing. Each area will be slightly different.

Your property may be zoned as agricultural, residential, business, or any number of subcategories.

2. The Set Up

Raising your chickens means that you're going to be caring for them from the fluff ball stage to the end. Here's how to start those little balls of puff off right.

Brooder: Your little fluff balls are going to require a brooder. This brooder should be about 18 inches tall so that they can't sneak out and to prevent drafts. You'll need a source of heat, a heat lamp works very nicely for this. You'll also need to have at least 6 inches of space per chick. Keep your brooder away from predators by protecting it wherever you put it.

chicken-brooder

You'll want to cover the floor of the brooder with pine shavings or some other kind of bedding. Avoid kitty litter and cedar shavings as these can emit too strong of a scent. Newsprint is too absorbing and will remain wet. You may wish to cover the litter with a towel or something to keep the chicks from eating the litter during the first few days. After that you can remove it, they will know where their food source is by then.

Keep your brooder plenty warm. The first week of life it should be kept at 95 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. You can then reduce the temperature by 5 degrees until the temperature reaches the surrounding temperature or 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Always use chick starter feed unless you're raising chicks for meat in which case you should use a meat starter feed. You can use paper towels or white paper the first week or so to teach the chicks where to eat at.

Water should be in a shallow pan or narrow container to prevent drowning. They need to be able to gently dip their beaks into the water and you may have to show them once or twice to ensure that they understand.

Avoid handling baby chicks unless absolutely necessary. It stresses them and may wind up killing them.

Troubleshooting is fairly easy. Happy chicks are quiet and content and unhappy chicks are noisy. If they are noisy you'll know that something is amiss. It could as simple as the temperature is too cool or there isn't enough space.

When chicks are older you'll want to have the nesting boxes ready so you might want to look into those while they're young and in the brooder.

Consider your cages or pens while the chicks are in the brooder as well. This is the time to begin designing and building it.

3. Start Your Flock

chicken-eggs

With so many breeds it may seem overwhelming to decide which chickens you wish to raise. It's vital to select the right breed for your purpose.

If you're concentrating on egg layers, our chart below will help you to choose which breed will suit your needs. There are many to choose from. If you're looking for a specific egg color we've listed those as well.

It can be fun and educational for everyone in the family to raise chickens. From selecting the chicks to gathering the eggs everyone in the family can be involved.

The question that remains now is which breed of chickens to select. There are breeds for egg layers, meat or exhibition. We've listed out some of the more popular egg laying breeds.

leghorn-chicken

There are many things to consider before selecting a chicken breed for your flock. The kind of chicken you select depends on whether you want meat, eggs, or exhibition poultry. Hens from chicken breeds developed specifically for egg production lay year round and can produce more than 300 eggs in a year.

Leghorns are the most common egg producer and can produce up to 260 eggs in a year. They are light in weight and easy to care for.

If brown eggs are what you're seeking, you may wish to consider a Plymouth Rock or a Rhode Island Red. These will both produce many eggs however, they also require more feed than do the Leghorns.

Chicken BreedChicken ColorEgg Laying/Color
AnconasYellowYes/White
BarneveldersYellowYes/Dark brown
LeghornsYellowYes/White
Sicilian ButtercupYellowYes/White
Sumatras,YellowYes/ Black White or lightly tinted
WelsummersYellowYes/Dark Brown
Plymouth RockYellowVery Light to Dark Brown
Andalusians, BlueWhiteChalk White
Rhode Island RedWhiteBrown to Dark Brown
Rhode Island WhiteWhiteBrown to Dark Brown
CampinesWhiteWhite
HamburgsWhiteWhite
LakenveldersWhiteWhite (sometimes slightly tinted)
MinorcasWhiteChalk White
Naked NecksWhiteBrown
White Faced SpanishWhiteChalk White

4. Maintenance and Collecting Eggs

There are many places that you can buy your chicks. Once you decide which breed you're seeking, you can then check with a hatchery approved by the National Poultry Improvement Plan, your local feed store or other feed companies. It is safe to send day old chicks via Priority Post.

Where To Buy Chickens

Caring for chickens requires daily chores. The chicks must be fed and watered on a daily basis for them to grow healthy and begin laying eggs.

As your chicks grow you'll need to adjust the type of feed and the amount of feed that you're feeding them. You will need a heat source when they are young until they can maintain their own body temperatures.

In order to have healthy egg producing chickens you'll need their feed to have plenty of protein and address their calcium needs. They can have scraps and odd grains however, these may lead to nutritional deficiencies if they aren't feed regular feed as well.

Chickens must always be protected from extreme weather. This could be extreme hot or cold issues. They should have a well ventilated area so that they won't develop lung issues.

chicken-poultry

Each chicken must have its own space. For full grown chicks this is at least 2 feet to 3 feet. For chicks it's just about six inches per chick. If they're too crowded it can lead to stress.

If you’re raising chickens, remembering what feed you need for different types and ages of chickens can get confusing. What you feed a young layer is different than what you feed a mature meat bird. The following table gives you the essentials:

Chicken Type (Age)FeedProtein Ratio
Pet, show, and layer chicks (0 to 6 weeks)Chick starter18 to 20%
Pet and show chicks (6 weeks on, if not laying)Chicken feed12 to 14%
Laying hens (6 weeks until laying begins)Layer finisher or grower12%
Laying hens (through laying years)Layer feed16% protein + correct calcium and mineral balances
Meat birds (0 to 6 weeks)Broiler or meat bird starter23 to 24%
Meat birds (6 weeks to butchering)Broiler grower-finisher or meat bird grower-finisher18 to 20%


What people can expect with maintenance including time/money investment.

If you're investing in chickens, you can expect a good return dependent upon the breed you buy and how many. Certain breeds are better egg layers than others so you'll want to ensure that you're choosing a breed that will lay you plenty of eggs in lieu of one that will only lay about a dozen eggs per year.

What it's like to live with chickens

Life chickens are a huge responsibility but it can be very rewarding. It's fun for children to see the entire process of raising them from fluff balls to full grown egg laying chicks. They'll learn how to feed and care for the chicks and how to collect eggs.

Eggs can be stored on the counter as long as the bloom hasn't been washed off, once the bloom is removed it's time to refrigerate the eggs. To preserve the bloom simply brush off any debris and avoid using any water or cloth on the eggs. Both will remove the bloom.

Eggs should be rinsed off before breaking them open to cook. This will remove any debris or bacteria that may have gotten onto the egg.

Summary

Chickens are a great to have and provide many benefits. We believe that more homes should have chickens in their backyards! If you feel the same way, or you just want more information on chicken husbandry feel free to look around the site. You can also sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know about new articles, and get new tips about chickens.

Thanks for reading

Resources

The 10 Best Cheap Chicken Coops Online for 2019

Cheap chicken coops for your backyard

Fresh eggs every morning …

NOTHING CAN BEAT a freshly collected, perfectly prepared, free-ranging chicken’s egg on the breakfast table. It’s one of the simple luxuries that prepares a man for whatever hassles the day has in store.

If you’re beginning to feel like the only family on the block without a chicken shed it’s probably time to INVEST IN A COOP OF YOUR OWN.

Like so many of us, we know that you haven’t got time to build the darned thing from scratch, so we've pulled together ten of the best Cheap Chicken Coops that we could find online.

These are all self-assembly kits that take only a couple of hours to build … So let's get started!

Chicken Coop Comparison Table

Pawhut Green Backyard Chicken Coop

Pawhut wooden backyard poultry house - green

PROS

CONS

Easy to Clean

Poor Assembly Instructions

Good Ventilation

Small Run Area

4 Star accommodation for a bunch of lucky chickens!

This good looking coop is pretty large for a budget model. There’s a two section nest box with a lid that props open for easy egg collection. The pitched roof above the living area is also hinged, allowing full access for cleaning, watering and feeding.

The living and laying areas will take three or four hens, but the wire meshed run may be a little cramped. The weight is around 132 pounds; the dimensions are 88 x 37 x 56.25 inches.

The coop has all kinds of doors and windows – that’s great for access and ventilation, but it does make assembly a bit of a chore.

Overall:

A classy looking coop for a small number of birds. This one’s movable and really easy to clean. Click here for a guided tour of this stately home for chickens.

Chicken Coop Plans

Chicken coop plans

PROS

CONS

Save Money

Takes More Time

Get Exactly What You Want

Can Make Mistakes Reading Plans

Build your coop on your budget... whatever that is

Want to save money on your coop? Have you considered building it yourself?

There are some easy to follow chicken coop plans available to help you build exactly what you need. Good plans should include material lists, helpful diagrams and drawings, easy to interpret step by step guides to help you through the process

This way you can source the lumber and other building materials yourself and save a bundle... even if you only have a little woodwork and building experience you will be able to follow these coop plans

Overall:

This can be a great project for the whole family. Click here to see some detailed chicken coop plans

2 Hen Deluxe Wooden Chicken Coop

Pawhut Delux wooden chicken coop

PROS

CONS

Raised Living Area

Poor Assembly Instructions

Good Ventilation

Small Run Area

Easy To Clean

May Need Extra Weatherproofing

A cosy, easy to clean hen-house for two …

Pawhut offer a range of self-assembly chicken coop styles at reasonable prices. This model will house two fully-grown chickens comfortably, but the meshed run that comes with the unit doesn’t give the ladies much room to roam.

The living area is raised off the ground which is great, but this model isn’t mounted on wheels. Weighing in at around 60 pounds, it’s quite a hassle to regularly move the whole unit. The overall dimensions are 75” long x 32” deep x 41” high.

There’s a pull-out droppings tray for easy cleaning, and the living area roof can be propped open for access or ventilation. The side-mounted laying area also opens up for easy access. This coop will be fine in an area with a warm or mild climate, but it would probably benefit from extra weather proofing in cooler, wetter areas.

Overall:

A smart looking coop for a couple of hens, with easy cleaning and great ventilation. Check the images and specifications here to see if it will work in your garden.

TRIXIE Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run

Trixie chicken coop with run

PROS

CONS

Has Easy Access to Laying Box

Limited Space in the Run

Raised Sleeping Area

Not Easy to Move

Nicely Built & Good Looking Coop

Needs Better Locks & Catches For Protection From Predators

A nicely built and designed fair-weather coop

With this good looking chicken house Trixie take a step up out of the ‘pet’ style coops into a more practical alternative. This model has a lightly weatherproofed nest box and roof, both of which lift for easy access and cleaning.

After assembly, the actual dimensions are about 68” long x 30” wide x 41” high. Trixie tell us that this size is about right for two big chickens or four bantams. As with most of the offerings at the budget end of the market, the in-built run is a little too small for your birds to forage effectively. This coop is designed to be left in a fixed position.

What do we think? Well, we like it. There may be a little work needed to adapt the coop for your local conditions, but that shouldn't be too difficult or expensive.

Overall:

A good looking coop with all of the features needed to guarantee fresh eggs on the breakfast table. Click here to check out the reviews and discounted price.

96" Wheeled Tractor Hen House

Pawhut Wheeled Tractor Hen House

PROS

CONS

Raised Living Area

Poor Assembly Instructions

Easy For One Person To Move

Ventilation Open To Elements

An airy coop with an authentic ‘farmyard’ look …

This Pawhut model is definitely worth considering if you like the ‘farmyard’ look of a freewheeling hen-house.

If you’re new to self-assembly it’s worth doing some up-front preparation to identify and label the various parts in this kit. Once assembled, you’ve got a nice looking coop that will house about four big, happy chickens. The overall dimensions of the unit are approximately 97” long x 38” wide x 46” high.

In traditional style, there’s a laying box on the side of the living area with a prop-up lid. There’s a large, wired air vent above the nest box that gives us a little concern. The extra ventilation is great in a warm climate, but that vent will allow wind and rain to enter the coop in bad weather conditions. A custom cover would be easy to fit.

This model is easy to access and clean, with a good quality droppings tray. It comes with a moderate level of predator security, which is easy (and cheap) to improve.

Overall:

An authentic looking, freewheeling coop that can be managed by one person. Go here to check out pictures of the run and living space.

TRIXIE Chicken Coop with a View

Trixie chicken cook with view

PROS

CONS

Has A Practical Laying Box

Limited Space In The Run

Easy Daily Cleaning

Not Easy To Move

Run Extension Available As An Extra

Limited Protection From Some Predators

A cute playhouse for your chickens

The kids would just love tucking-in the chickens at night in this cute little hen-house from Trixie. The laying and sleeping boxes work well for two full-size hens, maybe three at a push. The wire-meshed run is definitely a tad small, but an extension kit is available from the manufacturer. The actual dimensions of the self-assembled coop are about 69” long x 31” wide x 42” high.

The droppings tray is kid-friendly, so daily cleaning isn’t too much of a chore. The roof lifts for a deep-clean, but this should be supervised. It would be way too easy to get small fingers trapped in the edging.

The raised living area and close-mesh run offer some protection against predators. As a handy tip, we suggest that you beef up the security all-round with some ‘off the shelf’ bolts and fasteners.

Overall:

A cute, practical nesting coop for a couple of cheerful chickens. Go here to see why your kids and neighbors will adore this lovable hen-house.

Rambler Backyard Chicken Coop

Rambler Backyard Chicken Coop

PROS

CONS

Adaptable Living Areas

Close to Ground Level

Easy to Access & Clean

May Need Extra Bolts & Locks

Handsome, free standing coop with adaptable living space …

With its pitched roof and side-mounted laying boxes this looks just like the stylish coop that you would design and scratch-build yourself if only you had the time!

After assembly, the laying boxes are partitioned to house three chickens on each side. The partitions and roosting bars are easily adjusted to suit your own birds. There are access doors front and rear, and an easy to clean, metal droppings tray. Really nice features!

The coop comes with a set of adjustable height, plastic feet which attach to the short, pine legs. The feet allow you to easily level the hut. They also protect the legs from rotting over time. The overall dimensions of the unit are 64” long x 38” wide x 44.5” high.

It may be worth investing in a few extra bolts or locks to deter unwanted, overnight visitors.

Overall:

A classic, practical coop with some very thoughtful details. Click here to work out if you’d need extra predator protection on the tray or doors.

Deluxe Large Wooden Chicken Coop

Pawhut Deluxe Chicken Coop

PROS

CONS

Makes Good Use Of Space For Run

Living Area Open To Bad Weather

Pitched, Weatherproof Roofing

Not Supplied With Nest Boxes

Easy To Customize

Needs Improved Predator Protection

This lavish, five star rabbit hotel is also offered as a feasible chicken coop …

This model looks really stylish; the raised, central living area has a nicely covered, pitched roof, and the run actually looks fairly useful. The one thing we noticed right away was the lack of a built-in laying box or roosting perches: You’d need to add these yourself as a custom project.

The overall dimensions are about 90” long x 27” wide x 40” high. The clever design gives you just over 17 square feet of foraging space. OK, that’s useful space – but this model is really meant to stay put, so you may need to think about adding handles to make it easier to move.

Lastly, we spotted the wired ventilation windows each side of the living area doors. These are great in warm, sunny conditions, but the wind and rain are going to howl through those holes in a storm.

Overall:

We think that this is a cleverly designed shell to use as a basis of an easy ‘build-on’ project to house 4 or 5 chickens. Click here to see if you’re up to the challenge.

Ware Premium+ Chick-N-Lodge

Ware Premium Chick-N-Lodge

PROS

CONS

Can Sleep Up To 6 Full-Size Hens

Needs Improved Predator Protection

Easy Access For Cleaning

Optional Nest Box Is An Additional Expense

Higher Than Some Similar Coops

Surface Area Of Run Is A Little Small For 6 Chickens

Premium, pitched roof accommodation for your backyard chicken flock …

Ware’s Premium+ coop is aimed at enthusiasts with a small flock of up to six full-size hens. It’s delivered as a self-build kit requiring pretty straightforward construction. The finished unit measures around 63” long x 43” deep x 55” high. The extra height lifts the roosting box way up above ground level.

For the basic price you get a sleeping area with adjustable roosting bars. You’ll need to pay extra for an easy-fitting laying box. Access is good, with doors on the back and one side

The floor area is open, with an all-round gap that really needs to be dealt with after assembly. The coop is designed to be sited in a fixed position, so you’ll need to work out how to give your flock more space for foraging.

Overall:

An effective, good looking coop with a few minor flaws. Click here to weigh up the pros and cons of this premium model.

New Age Pet Fontana Chicken Barn

New Age Pet Fontana Chicken Barn

PROS

CONS

Made From Recyclable Plastic

Poor Ventilation

Doesn't Rot Over Time Like Wood

Optional Small Run Is An Additional Expense

A modern, environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional wooden coop...

We know that this plain, clinical looking coop is going to appeal to a lot of backyard chicken enthusiasts looking for neater, cleaner alternative to wood.

This easy to build, self-assembly coop is manufactured from ‘Eco FLEX’ which is actually a recyclable, highly durable, rot and moisture resistant plastic. At around 53” long x 28” deep x 29” high this is a small unit which will comfortably hold two or three full size chickens..

Conditions in the coop are pretty Spartan with no obvious sign of ventilation, apart from the door. You may decide to add some custom vents and stronger fasteners after assembly. It should be an easy job.

Overall:

A small, clean but clinical sleeping/laying coop for an environmentally aware family. Click here for the current price of this very affordable option.

In Summary...

Thanks for reading. We have tried to pick a range of chicken coops and we hope this helps answer some of your questions

If you have any suggestions for what should be in this list then please use the contact page.

Related Articles:

Keeping Chickens For Eggs In The Suburbs

There are several benefits to learning to keep chickens in urban areas. It is beneficial to the garden as well as the chickens. Keeping chickens for eggs, is a healthier choice to the mass processed chicken and eggs found in large chain stores. Getting eggs created from battery hens, which are used to provide for the grocery stores, has a danger of food born illness, in addition to getting remaining antibiotics in the meat and eggs.

When you choose you're going to be raising chickens for eggs, you should think about what you're going to need to do and how to start. This article is to give you an overall starting point.

 

Keeping Chickens For Eggs Isn't Usually This Cute

Keeping chickens for eggs isn't usually this cute!

 

What Do Chickens Need?

Attention

Chickens need daily attention. Not a lot, but enough that you simply can not abandon them to get a long time without feeding and watering, and protecting them from predators. Although chickens are relatively low-maintenance, they do require time for daily care. You only need 15 to 20 minutes daily (depending on the number of chickens in your flock) for replenishing their food and water and making sure that their beddings are dry.

This means if you leave town for a few days, you need to have a plan to feed and water them while you are away. You also need to know, how they will be kept safe each evening from predators?

Future chicken husbands, need to consider all these factors, preferably before you start. There are several automated ways to take care of them in addition to the probability of having some one come and care for them, but it is better to feel ahead on this one, especially in case you are actually planning a month-long excursion to Europe.

 

State/Council Rules And Permits

Before starting, you would want to consider your local rules and what constraints you might have to work with. Simply put, is you keeping chickens for eggs allowed in your locality? Unfortunately, not all towns do.

Check your local regulations and ordinances regarding backyard chicken raising, you may need a permit. Note that there typically different rules for domestic and commercial set ups when it comes to different localities. In addition, you also have to find out about noise regulations especially if you plan to have roosters.

Also, check with your neighbors first in order to avoid misunderstandings and future complications regarding your new hobby. You can sway their opinions with the promise of fresh, free range, organic eggs!

 

Do You Have The Space?

Determine how much space you have, and how many hens you'll need to get the egg creation you wish, knowing you'll be able to legitimately keep chickens.

If chickens are cooped (housed) then you have to ensure that they have a place to ‘hang out' and that it is big enough and secure from any predators. Making chickens free range is best. Chickens love to walk, and poke around on the grass. It can create some small maintenance issues, however chickens will keep the grass down where they are.

It is highly recommended that at least three square meters per bird is given, the larger the space the better. The more the chickens are able to forage, the healthier and more contented they will be.

Chickens also fertilize areas where they have been, giving a small boost to your garden. Overall they can be a healthy addition to your garden.

 

Is There A Minimum Number To Get Started?

Because chickens are social birds and do not fare well on their own, you should therefore have a minimum of two for starters. If your family loves eggs then it is best to have two hens per family member; this should be enough to take care of your egg requirements as soon as your chickens start laying eggs.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

There is a significant (but not great) investment involved, depending on your situation. However, when the chickens start laying fresh eggs the up front cost becomes negligible. The largest cost will typically be your chicken coop, however this cost can be offset if you can use an existing outbuilding, or make a coop out of readily made materials.

 

The Chicken Coop

You want to think about chicken house plans that can work nicely in the space you've got available. You can purchase chicken coops, but people find it more cost effective and helpful to build their own from plans. It is important that you use plans from experienced chicken husbands. Chickens can be quite picky about their homes.

 

How Many Eggs Can I Expect?

It's possible to generally figure that three hens should offer you and norm of 2 eggs each day. Chickens usually being laying at about 16-24 weeks old, although it can takes years for some chickens.

The seasons and weather in general has a large impact on chickens and their production rates. In a cold winter, egg creation can slow down as much as 50% per hen per day.

Although if the weather is fine, then a hen can put two healthful eggs every day. Two eggs per day is the optimal production for a hen. If she is laying 3-4 this can be too much for her. So much so that if she doesn't slow down you might want to intervene, before it affects her health.

 

You really are in control of your egg generation. The greater care you take of your birds, the better food source they will provide for you. Keeping chickens for eggs  is beneficial both to your health and your pocket.

The 3 Must Have’s In Your Small Chicken Coop

Chickens are easy to please. They don't ask for fancy or lush, but what they do have some simple needs that have to be met by their owners. These necessities need to be taken into consideration when building or buying a chicken coop.

 

1. Protection

Protection is the most important thing to chickens.

Small chicken coops should be fully enclosed. This stops predators being able to scale the walls to get in. If you are in an open area or suspect predators may be around, then you are also better off enclosing the floor too. Sometimes foxes will try to dig under the walls to get in.

A small chicken coop

If possible, you may want to give your chickens somewhere to hide away from predators. One way is to use corrugated iron or tin sheet and place it on one or two sides of your coop. It should sit approximately one and a half foot high from the ground, creating a fence that predators can't see though. This small addition to any coop, will make your hens feel more relaxed. Corrugated iron and tin sheet can also provide shade for hens, which they enjoy.

Protections isn't just from predators, but also from harsh weather conditions. Chickens easily get frightened in weather situations that include high winds, lightning and thunder. Using implements from around the home like a tarp will help keep the weather out when it is bad. Creating a nice coop for the chickens will also help them feel safer.

Tip If you are looking to design or buy your own chicken coop, it can help if you have the coop off the ground with enough room for the chickens to run around underneath. This underneath area is a great dry area for the chickens, which they like.

 

2. Cleanliness

Chickens aren't clean, but they like clean. Chicken coops need to be well ventilated, and easy and quick for you to clean.

The best coops have flip doors which make it easy to collect eggs and clean nesting areas (change hay etc.) Chickens like loose clean straw to nest and lay eggs in.

 

3. Space

Hens are social creatures, and like to be around other hens. This means that they don't need heaps of space, but they do need some space. Approx 3 feet square of space per bird is fantastic.It is enough so they can preen, peck and walk around with out bumping into each other. If you can let them run around a larger space (like your backyard) every now and then even better.

Chickens don't like feeling enclosed so building your chicken coop to at least 2′ high is best. The only part of the coop which is purposely built small is the door. The door just being big enough for a chicken to get into makes the chickens feel safer.

As for nesting areas a space around one foot by one foot is best.

You don't need to have nesting areas for every chicken you have. just around half or less than half is sufficient.

 

Advanced Must Have's

The better chicken coops have an area where you can easily get the eggs out, and make it easy to clean.

Some coops also have wheels on the bottom of them to make it easier to move around.

 

If you have a small back yard, or a small paddock, you can keep chickens provided that you build the right chicken coop. It is important to consider all aspects of keeping chickens before spending money on materials or birds.

Although Chicken coops can easily be built by DIYers and provide a great sense of accomplishment that goes along with a great project. Designing a chicken coop that will work is not as easy and does require experience.

Along with building the coop, insuring that you maintain it and your chickens is of the utmost importance. And getting quality correct information on planning and maintaining your chicken coop will help you on your way to farm fresh eggs every day.

 

 

If you can do these things, you will have happy healthy chickens producing a high number of great quality eggs. Thanks for reading and good luck with your small chicken coop!