People are looking for information on building chicken coops. I know, because, many visitors to this site click on “A Chicken Coop for a Garden”and “A Space for Chickens”. I think that building your coop is one of the most important steps you’ll take to ensure success in backyard chicken keeping and a little research before beginning the project, is in order. Due to space limitations, some folks are looking for a coop that will fit into their yard and garden, but still fulfill minimum requirements for healthy, active hens.
Most books and articles advise you to have at least 3-4 square feet of floor space for each hen and 10 square feet per hen if restricted to an indoor environment. Our little henhouse is a compact 20 square feet. It was designed for four hens and we have six. Opps, I got carried away and couldn’t stop bringing home those cute little fluffballs. There are two four-foot roosts, two nest boxes which hens can enter from the inside, and a bar for them to hop up on to get into the next boxes. This tiny henhouse would not have adequate space if the hens had to be closed in during the day.
The outside run measures 8′ x 16′. We put in a ladder for vertical space, which the hens love. The hen spend the day outdoors. In this mild coastal climate, they need only be locked in from dusk to dawn, and only to be secure from predators. As I walk down the path at daybreak, I can hear their low agitated clucking, scolding me, for sleeping beyond first light. They scurry past my legs as soon as I lift the hatch. They are like children being released for recess. The run is partially covered, providing shelter on rainy days.
There are many ideas and recommendations for building coops on the Backyard Chickens website. For years, people have been posting designs and pictures of their chicken coops to share with others. On their forum, you can post individual questions about coop design and you will have a group of chicken enthusiasts to give you advice.