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The Basics of a Chicken Coop 101

Chicken coopChicken coops come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Some are structural works of art with windows and flower boxes and fancy or homey or funny touches added to personalize them. They can be purchased pre-built, as kits, or made from scratch. Chicken coops can be re-claimed or recycled dog houses, kids playhouses, sheds, or any other suitable box like structure that will keep your chickens secure (safe from preditors) and protected from the weather.

Although there are as many chicken coop possibilities out there as there are chickens (or at least pretty close!), each coop needs to include some basic features.


The Hen House:
Chickens need a covered and enclosed area to call their home with a roof and walls.

The Chicken Run:
This is a secure place for chickens to be when not in the chicken coop and it usually 'fenced' with chicken wire.

The Perch or Roost:
This is a bar or piece of plywood that is installed 2 feet or so off the ground where chickens like to hang out and sit (roost). Being off the ground helps them feel safer and keeps them dry.

The Nest Box:
This space is where the chickens will lay their eggs. A chicken coop will often have several nest box spaces tucked away for privacy in laying. The boxes themselves are generally about the size of a shoebox or a bit bigger. Large enough for the chicken to be inside and not feel crowded.

The Chicken Feeder:
A container that holds food for the chickens. This can be free standing or hanging in the hen house or in a covered area of the chicken run.

The Chicken Waterer:
A container that holds water for the chickens. This can also be free standing or hanging in the hen house or out in the chicken run.

Before building your chicken coop, there are a few more things to consider such as location, size, and easy of coop clean up.

If you're planning on building your chicken coop from scratch, here are some free plans for building a chicken coop to get you started.












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