Coop Design

6 Responses to “Coop Design”

  • Mia:

    Thanks so much for this blog. I hope to have a small backyard flock in the near future and have already started reading/learning as much as I can. Would love your suggestions on getting started AND coup design. Also, how to decide flock size.

  • Mia,
    Great question. And thanks foryour patience as we build the content of this site.

    So much about coop design depends on the variables of your property and needs. There are, however, some basic elements that need to be considered. Your chickens basically need a place to go to get shelter from the weather, protection from predators and a safe place to nest and lay their eggs.

    Basic requirements are at least one nest box for every 8 to 10 hens, with a minimum of 2 nest boxes regardless of flock size, roost bar space of about 10inches per standard sized bird in your flock, and about 1.5 sq.ft. of floor space per bird inside the coop. (Total space needed per bird to be humane is a minimum of 4 sq.ft. with an optimal 10 sq.ft. per bird. That’s coop and run combined.)

    Your roost bar(s) need to be higher than your nest boxes. Otherwise the birds will roost on the nest box edges. (They like to get to the highest poiont possible inside the coop.)

    Your coop needs to have plenty of ventilation, with the ability of making it draft free, particularly in the winter.

    Finally, you need to pick your design with sanitation in mind. Your coop needs to be easy to clean. Particularly under the roost bar. About 60 to 70% of their droppings are deposited at night while they are on the roost.

    Flock size definitely influences the coop you choose. And size of the flock depends on what your goals are as a chicken owner. If you are primarily wanting to raise chickens to provide eggs for yourself and family, a good rule of thumb is one chicken per household member. If you want to provide eggs for the neighborhood…. Well the sky’s the limit.

    For the small urban flock, the concept of the chicken tractor is ideal. A chicken tractor is a small coop that holds between 3 and 12 birds that is designed to be moved every day or so. It provides fresh pasture to your flock and yet keeps them contained and protected from predators. You also get the benefits of them de-bugging your yard, while depositing free fertilizer. One design that I find very good for up to 6 birds is the Catawba Coop. Complete plans are available through our hatchery website:, following the links.

    If your flock is going to be larger than a dozen, then you should consider a fixed coop. There are literally hundreds of ideas on what to build. Whatever you choose, pick an area of the yard that is not too far away from the house, that drains well and that has decent shade.

    When we designed our permanent house I spent hours looking at different coop designs on the web. The most comprehensive site I’ve found for coop design suggestions is: Keep in mind that people who post here, tend to go all out. Chickens really don’t need chandeliers in their house. They only need to things listed above, no matter how crude or fancy.

    Let us know what you decide and send a picture when it’s complete.

    Poultry Professor

  • Adam Hall:

    Do u have a coop ready that I can purchase from you today? 9103089927

  • Dan Haygeman:

    Your video on building a Cawtaba coop asks me to go to this site and use a link to get to plans for the coop. . . so you can get coop marketing credit. I don’t see any link to plans. Could you send it to me please?

    Dan H.

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