How to Pick the Right Chicken Coop
Here are the most important factors when choosing the correct chicken coop for your situation with details about each.
The Right Chicken Coop Will Be
All areas and all situations have predators if you are a chicken. A sturdy, predator proof coop is a must for every backyard chicken keeper. Windows and vents that open should have strong wire attached with screws over them to keep animals out. Chicken Runs need to have wire under, around or buried in a trench along the perimeter. And, all doors and openings need to latch or lock securely.
Airflow is extremely important for chicken health and well-being. Did you know that chickens can die from being too hot but rarely from cold? Ammonia from droppings can also build up inside coops and not only smell terrible, but can harm your flock too. Cross-ventilation and moving air is key via windows and vents.
Your coop should be spacious enough for your chickens today and tomorrow. If you are buying a quality chicken coop, like an Amish coop, make sure you buy your chicken coop in a size that will work for years to come. Not too big and not too small means knowing if you will keep your chickens and add to your flock once they stop laying eggs. You could end up with three times as many chickens as you started with...or more! There is a link to specifics about the right size chicken coop in the footer.
You will also want a scrape-able, or washable floor, or drop tray and easy access to the chicken door and to collect eggs. Walls will also need to be wiped down so smooth, washable or scrap-able walls are best as well.
Egg collection from outside the coop or from inside a feed room is best for most backyard chicken keepers. Make sure the nest boxes are located on a side of the coop that is accessible so that eggs can easily be gathered daily.
Reaching the chicken door that needs to be opened most every morning and closed each evening may not be top of mind when shopping for a coop, but it will quickly become an issue if ergonomics were not though of during the design phase for your chicken coop. You will want to be able to reach chickens inside the coop in case there is an issue or you need to move them. Make sure all areas of the coop are comfortable reach into and to move around enough to catch a chicken or to clean.
For the safety of your chickens, you will want to ensure that the chicken and people doors, and windows and vents on both the chicken coop and chicken run close and latch tightly.
In colder climates, to prevent frigid air from entering the coop on bitter days, check that the quality of the coop is such that is will not be drafty.
The best quality materials that are designed to hold up to predators and the elements will be least likely to be compromise and leave your flock at risk. Chicken keeping is more fun when there is less worry.