Chicken Coop 101: Get Your Ideal Coop (2021 Buyer’s Guide)

Raising backyard chickens is incredibly rewarding, so to ensure the health and happiness of your flock, you should provide a secure chicken coop.

Chickens need a place where they feel safe, can rest at night, and are protected against predators.

For hens, a place where they can lay their eggs in private is an important part of raising backyard chickens.

In our ultimate guide to chicken coops, we look at the top fencing products of 2021 to help you choose the right coop for your chickens.

The Best 3 Chicken Coops for Backyard Poultry Keeping

Top Pick

Aivituvin Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop

A coop that offers a little bit of everything for small flock chicken owners.

Aivituvin Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop

I chose the Aivituvin Wood Chicken Coop as the top pick of the year because it offers a little bit of everything for small flock chicken owners!

From its cozy interior to two removable trays for quick and easy cleaning, you will find this all-in-one hen house and run simple to maintain and install.

Materials

Aivituvin has kept an all-natural construction with fir wood that’s tough against most changes in weather conditions.

Chickens will be well-protected against the cold and rain while their wire mesh run gives them a ventilated space for the summer.

Best Value

Merax Chicken Coop

A compact, well-built, and economical chicken coop.

Merax Chicken Coop

If you are looking for a compact, well-built, and economical chicken coop, then Merax is the way to go.

While the house is designed for keeping a limited number of chickens or smaller poultry breeds, it is sturdy and tough against all types of weather.

Features

Merax offers an upper level hens can reach by using a fixed ramp, and the coop includes nest boxes for chickens to lay their eggs in private.

You can also use the sliding trays to clear out the nest with ease and convenience.

Best Portable Chicken Coop

Best Choice Products

Great for first-time chicken keepers who want a simple structure to house a tiny flock.

Best Choice Products

Best Choice Wood Coop makes the pick for best portable chicken coop.

Although it does not have wheels, the lightweight frame makes it easy for two people to pick up and move when necessary.

The movable coop has a covered hen house and attached run.

It’s suitable for 3 medium-sized chickens.

Materials

It is made from fir wood with a natural finish, which is almost sure to complement the beauty of any backyard.

Now that we’ve explored the best coops, let’s learn the importance of choosing the right coop and how to maintain the hen house you choose.

The Top 2021 Chicken Coops

Top Pick

Aivituvin Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop

A coop that offers a little bit of everything for small flock chicken owners.

Aivituvin Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop

Aivituvin provides a sturdy coop to comfortably house 8 bantam or 4 mature chickens.

It can be erected in less than 30 minutes with its dimensions of 115.1″(L) x 50″(W) x 56″(H). 

Build

It could be a great choice for backyard chickens in the city or suburban areas!

The Aivituvin wooden chicken coop is durable and includes a stainless steel mesh; however, it cannot protect against large predators.

Features

Check the roof, back, and sides for weaknesses.

Something interesting about the coop is the two internal removable sliding trays that make it easy to clean.

Chicken Run

Aivituvin has a run attached to the main hen house.

The metal wire fence surrounding the run provides ventilation so chickens stay cool in the summer and protected in winter.

Specs

  • Material: Fir wood
  • Type: Coop with attached run
  • Roof: Waterproof asphalt tiles

Pros

  • Built-in nesting box divided into 3 parts for laying eggs
  • Hinged roof for egg collecting
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Galvanized wire run
  • Door locks for security

Cons

  • Not for large hens
  • Roof and wiring vulnerable to large predators

Best Portable Chicken Coop

Best Choice Products Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop

Great for first-time chicken keepers who want a simple structure to house a tiny flock.

Best Choice Products Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop

Best Choice Products Wood Coop is a multi-level hen house with a run.

It is great for first-time chicken keepers who want a simple structure to house a tiny flock.

It is made of fir wood and galvanized mesh for durability.

Ventilation

The wire mesh secured to the run will provide ventilation for your chickens.

The deluxe coop is available in dimensions 79.25″(L) x 26.5″(W) x 51.5″(H) and it can accommodate three small to medium chickens.

Features

The sturdy ramp is designed to help hens reach the nest box to lay eggs in private.

The built-in nest box includes a removable divider so hens don’t have to hassle over space.

There is also a lid you can keep open or closed when collecting eggs, and its bottom sliding tray makes cleaning the interior quick and easy – a must if you have some messy chickens!

Specs

  • Material: 100% fir wood and metal wire
  • Type: Multi-level chicken coop
  • Roof: Wood slatted roof

Pros

  • Enclosed with a run
  • Ramp for hens to reach nest boxes
  • Natural wood finish

Cons

  • Roof isn’t fully waterproof
  • Wood finish requires maintenance
  • Not for large breed hens

OverEZ Large Chicken Coop

A standalone hen house without a run. but provides a spacious and fully enclosed interior.

OverEZ Large Chicken Coop

If you are looking for an extra large coop that can house up to 15 chickens, then the OverEZ chicken coop is for you.

It is a standalone hen house without a run. but provides a spacious and fully enclosed interior of 74” (L) x 60” (W).

Build

OverEZ has opted for a natural wood floor and waterproof, non-toxic paint.

The ceiling is insulated to maintain a cool interior in summer.

You can simply add a quality bedding product to prevent stains from bird waste and to improve the insulation in winter!

Design

The OverEZ coop can be used for ducks, geese, and chickens.

It keeps birds comfortable and prevents dampness with two screen windows and two vents for airflow.

The windows and doors are painted white adding to the quaint design.

It is also perfect for laying hens with 5 nest boxes to accommodate their needs.

Specs

  • Material: Wood floor
  • Type: Enclosed coop
  • Roof: Slanted metal roof panel

Pros

  • Spacious interior
  • Exterior waterproof coat
  • Ramp to nest boxes
  • Windows and vents for airflow
  • Simple to assemble

Cons

  • High cost

Best Value

Merax Chicken Coop

A compact, well-built, and economical chicken coop

Merax Chicken Coop

For bantam chickens, the Mera Chicken Coop provides a quality structure with durable construction.

Owing to its open bottom design, you can have chickens nest inside the hen house or forage along the ground.

The wood-built hen house measures 67″(L) x 26″(W) x 47″(H).

Design

It consists of a wire mesh run to keep predators out.

For protection against coyotes or raccoons, reinforcement of the wire mesh is necessary. The enclosed little run will keep chickens safe against hawks and smaller critters looking for some easy prey.

Nest Box

Merax has a built-in nest box that chickens can reach by using the attached ramp.

Chickens can take shelter in the hen house or use the nest box to lay eggs.

It also offers a slide-out tray for no-fuss cleaning.

All of the parts fit together pretty well, making for a sturdy coop that is simple to install.

Specs

  • Material: Wood and wire mesh
  • Type: Small coop with run
  • Roof: Green asphalt

Pros

  • Steel slide pole to control the ramp and hen house access door
  • Natural fir wood construction
  • Waterproof paint for outdoor use

Cons

  • Only suitable for young chickens or bantams

PawHut 83" Wooden Backyard Chicken Coop

A chicken coop that neatly designed, weatherproof, and pleasing to the eye!

PawHut 83" Wooden Backyard Chicken Coop

PawHut introduces its durable chicken coop and run painted in a waterproof and unique shade of emerald green.

This quaint hen house is neatly designed, weatherproof, and pleasing to the eye! It is quick to put together and its lightweight design makes it a breeze to move around.

Build

What is great about the PawHut hen house is the compact build.

The little structure won’t take up too much space, making it suitable for most urban backyards.

Its wire outdoor run is designed to keep your chooks inside; however, reinforcement is needed against persistent and strong predators.

It is always better to take extra safety precautions!

Size

The wooden hen house is ideal for bantams or two medium-sized chickens. It includes a nest box with a hinged top for quick egg collection and simple maintenance.

PawHut has made the pen with a ramp to the nest box and screened windows for air circulation.

Specs

  • Material: Treated fir wood
  • Type: Coop, nesting box and run
  • Roof: Green asphalt composite roof

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Easy to clean
  • Quick to install and move around

Cons

  • Pen needs reinforcement against predators
  • Let’s take a look at ready-to-assemble pet coops that made our best-rated list!

What is a Chicken Coop?

Chickens Inside a Run
Chickens Inside a Run

When I first decided to keep backyard chickens, I had a tiny 35”x55” wireframe run to enclose two 12 week old chicks.

I quickly realized that the hand-made enclosure would be no match for a predator.

It also didn’t offer my little flock much space.

As soon as I started looking for a hen house, I was confused by what size I would need and which materials were best.

Maintenance

How would I keep the coop clean, and would my chickens be safe if it rained?

A chicken coop is a structure that is designed to secure and house chickens.

For hens, it should have a fully enclosed nest box.

NOTE

Most coops have a wire mesh run attached, allowing the flock to free roam in a secure space.

The Best Features in Hen Houses

Brown Hen Brooding on Eggs
Brown Hen Brooding on Eggs

Chicken houses are meant to prevent predators from reaching the birds and their eggs.

The last thing you need is to visit the chicken coop only to find injured or dead birds.

Coops should have the following features:

  • Waterproofing
  • Space (based on chicken breed and size)
  • Ventilation
  • Comfort
  • Security against predators
  • Ease of maintenance

To help you address the needs of your chickens, we answer some common chicken coop FAQs down below…

FAQS

How much coop space per chicken?

Too cramped a space for chickens can lead to stress, pecking, and sick chickens.

To make your chickens comfortable, you’ll need 3 square feet per chicken when inside the hen house.

This differs from a chicken run.

An outdoor run should generally provide 8 square feet of space per chicken.

What to put on the floor of a chicken coop?

Hens Inside a Coop
Hens Inside a Coop

Chickens are lovable but messy creatures!

They need dry bedding to absorb fecal matter and insulate the floor.

Make your coop comfortable and hygienic with the following materials:

Straw

Straw insulates the bottom of the chicken house in winter and will make cleaning quick and simple.

Pine Shavings

Pine shavings are absorbent, quick to clean, and effective when used as insulation.

Sand

Soft sand is recommended for fixed coops (A hen house that cannot be moved).

It absorbs waste and is easily removed.

How to insulate a chicken coop?

Winterizing a hen house is an important part of keeping your flock happy!

A cold and wet chicken is a sick chicken.

Here’s a video to give you an idea…

-40° | Cold Climate Chicken Coop | How To Winterize a Chicken Coop

Season

So, insulation, especially in frost-prone regions, is a must for the chicken coop.

Costly methods of insulating a hen house include the use of spray foam or fiberglass.

TIP

DIY alternatives such as cardboard are affordable and keep the cold out – simply take 3 to 4 layers of cardboard and tape it to the back, sides, and floor of the interior.

Straw

A popular choice of insulation is straw.

Bales of straw covering the walls and floor are ideal for larger coops, but smaller structures need some creativity.

You can make dense clutches of straw to line a tiny hen house.

How to heat a chicken coop without electricity

If you can’t use a heating lamp in winter, you can try the following techniques to warm the hen house:

Move the structure to an undercover location such as a garage.

  • Insulate the interior with thick layers of material such as straw bales.
  • Look for drafts and repair them.
  • Add dense bedding to the floor.
  • Make the hen house smaller

How to keep predators from digging under chicken coop?

Fox Staring Through a Fence
Fox Staring Through a Fence

You will need a galvanized mesh or wire fence to prevent predators such as raccoons, foxes, or coyotes from digging under the base.

Prepare the area by digging a 2 to 4 foot trench around the structure and secure the mesh inside the trench.

How to clean a chicken coop?

Keeping coops clean is a necessary part of maintaining the health of your chickens.

Start cleaning the hen house by removing all bedding and dirt.

TIP

If droppings are stuck to the floor, use a spade or pressure washer to remove it.

Why does a chicken coop have only two doors?

Because if it had four, it would be a chicken sedan!

While the two door question is a popular online joke, the real reason coops have two doors is because one allows the birds to leave the roost or nest and the other is meant for you to use to access freshly laid eggs or to clean the interior.

How to keep rats out of chicken coop?

Rats are every chicken keeper’s nightmare!

Keep rats away by clearing bits of uneaten food and bird matter at least three times a week.

TIP

Lift food bowls and water bowls off the ground and use galvanized mesh with ¼ to ½ inch hole size to prevent rats from getting inside.

How to get rid of flies in chicken coop?

The easiest way to get rid of flies is to remove fecal matter, wasted food, and dirty bedding.

Wash the interior once a week with a natural disinfectant.

You can also spray the outside of coops with apple cider vinegar and water for optimal results.

How to disinfect a chicken coop?

Disinfecting coops can be a monumental but necessary task.

Again, you will have to remove all bedding and dirt before thoroughly washing the floor, walls, and nest boxes.

Here’s are some tips on deep cleaning a chicken coop…

You can use pet-friendly disinfectant products or apply natural remedies, such as vinegar.

TIP

Mix equal parts vinegar to water and scrub all parts of the hen house.

How often to clean chicken coop

Coops should be deep cleaned every two to three months.

General maintenance such as the removal of dirty bedding and food waste are best cleared every second or third day to avoid attracting flies and rats.

Conclusion

Keeping chickens is great fun and truly rewarding but to manage the health of your birds, you need to choose the best chicken coop.

Coops are available in all shapes, sizes, and designs.

Convenient

If you don’t want to make your own hen house, you have the option of buying coops to suit the number of backyard chickens you own and your pocket.

When I decided to make a coop, I didn’t think of how I would reach the eggs in the nest box or how to maintain it!

Top Pick

Fortunately, ready-built coops make life so much easier!

For a little hen house and run, my top pick was the Aivituvin Outdoor Wood Coop with an attached run.

Best Portable Chicken Coop

If you need a coop you can easily move around, then the Best Choice Wood Coop is for you. It is a solid lightweight coop with a covered hen house and an attached run.

Best Value

Start the search for the best hen house by considering your budget – remember, the best value coop is the Merax.

The chicken coop should be spacious and secure to protect against predators.

Remember, chickens love to free-range, but they can’t keep themselves warm in winter or take on the local fox! They need shelter to stay healthy, safe, and happy.

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Jess Woods
Jess Woods
Founder of Chickens & You. I love raising chickens and creating a self sustainable homestead for my family. I like to spend my time writing and teaching skills for homesteading and self sufficient living. 🐓 👩‍🌾