Where Should I Put a Chicken Coop in My Backyard? - TheDIYPlan (2023)

Where Should I Put a Chicken Coop in My Backyard? - TheDIYPlan (1)

Finding a great place for your chicken coop takes some work, but for the most part, it is not as hard as you would think. Yes, choosing and building a house for your chicken is the key to their happiness, safety, and health, but with a little guidance, you will be enjoying your new chickens in no time. So, where should I put a chicken coop in my backyard?

Chicken coop in your backyard could be placed basically anywhere your heart desires. Chicken is a simple animal and lives in many locations with the bare minimum. You, of course, need space and level ground for the ideal spot. Shade is a plus, but many people do not have a big shade tree in their backyard. If there’s no shade, chickens need a decent size coop for better air circulation.

Building your own chicken coop could save you a lot of money. I’ve made my own DIY chicken coop in our backyard and free plans are available here.

Requirements for Chickens When Building a Coop

  • Sunlight –Chickens need not only shade but also sunlight. Like every living thing, a little sun is good for chickens. They enjoy basking in the sun but also the comfort of the shade from their coop. They enjoy well over ten hours of sun a day.
  • Solid Ground –If your area is known to have predators such as foxes, you need to build your coop on a solid, well-made surface to help deter predators from burrowing into the coop. Some people have placed their coops on concrete, but wood is ideal.
  • A dust patch for a nice bath –Your feathered friends will enjoy a dust patch to bathe themselves, especially if they roam in fields for part of the day. They can clean themselves in a dust bath to help get rid of any unwanted parasites.
  • Chicken Run –If you are like many and do not have a lot of lands to let the chickens roam, a chicken run will be perfect for you. A chicken run is a long rectangle-shaped area right off the coop where your chickens can stretch their legs. It does not need to be huge, just enough for them to get out of the stuffy coop and get some air.
  • Shade –Place the coop under a tree if you can. This is beneficial in many ways. Not only will your chickens get a good amount of shade the tree will also benefit. The birds will fertilize the soil for the tree. Chicken manure contains potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen that enhance the fertility of the soil and plants.
  • Heating and Lighting –Some places with colder climates will need to have heat in their coops and to help their drinking water not to freeze. Heat lamps or flat panel heaters which are not hot to the touch are both great ideas. Chickens need roughly 16 hours of daylight to lay eggs, so in some cases, artificial light will be needed.

How Big Should Your Coop Be?

A good rule of thumb is each chicken needs roughly four square feet of space, not including the chicken run, which requires an additional four square feet of space per chicken. The size of your coop will depend on the number of chickens you would like to get.

You can start small and add onto your coop as your flock starts to grow, but it is best to go bigger than what you need first, so there’s no need to alter your coop down the road.

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The more space your chickens have, the happier and healthier they will be. The four-square foot is ideal, but a bigger coop is never a bad idea, it will give you plenty of room to grow.

It may be called a coop, but the chickens definitely do not want to be cooped up together. Being crammed up together can cause behavioral problems. Chickens have known to become aggressive and constantly pecking each other.

If your chickens must stay in the coop for most of the year (mainly during winter), then aim to give them five to eight square feet per chicken instead. Space solely depends on the size and amount of chickens you have.

Check City Guidelines for Having Chickens

It is also very smart to check with the city you live in. Many towns/cities have guidelines for having chickens. Some will not allow them, and some places have limits on the amount or kind you can keep.

Not following those guidelines can have all your money and hard work go down the drain if you are made to remove the coop and chickens from the property.

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Chicken Coop Essentials

  • Nesting boxes –All coops need nesting boxes for them to lay their eggs. There should be one box per two to three hens and each box needs to be at least 12” x 12”. Make sure you have space to get into to the eggs comfortably to collect them. Some people put small doors on the back of where the chicken’s roost to be able to reach in and grab the egg without disrupting the chickens.
  • Perches –Chickens also need a roosting area for them to sleep comfortably. Roosts and perches can be as simple as a bar, branch, or planks for them to all have a comfortable night’s rest. You can also stagger them having chickens sleeping above or below each other. Each bird should be six to ten inches in length and about two feet off the ground.
  • Ventilation –This is one of the most important steps that may seem quite simple but must not be overlooked. Proper ventilation prevents harmful gasses from the chicken’s feces from causing respiration issues. Chickens also need fresh air; proper ventilation will keep a nice cool breeze blowing through on a hot day.

Should you build, buy, or reuse?

If you have a shed or a doghouse at home, you can repurpose it into a coop. If you do not have a large budget repurpose old items that are lying around. It is a simple enough DIY project that even beginners have completed.Check out these free plans for a DIY chicken coop.

Suppose you are not able or not up to the task of building a coop by yourself. You can search online for available coop structures that are small and can be brought to your place. There are do-it-yourself kits to take all the guesswork out or even prebuilt coops you can get delivered. All you need is to add a few ventilation holes or windows, a fresh coating of paint, and install the required number of roosts and nest boxes, and you are good to go.

Should You Build A Stationary or A Less Permanent Coop?

Whether you want to go for a stationary coop or one that can be moved when needed will solely depend on whether your birds will stay full-time in the coop. If you are building a large elaborate coop with a run it is best to make it permanent. If you own a decent amount of land and let your chickens roam free most of the day, then there is no issue having a coop that can move around as needed.

Chicken coops come in all shapes and sizes. From dirt floors to nice wooden boards, wood roofs to metal roofs. The cost can be fit easily into your budget. Trying to find scrap wood and fencing for free or cheap will also help with the cost.

Placing Chicken Coop Away from the House

You should keep the coop a decent distance from your house. Coops can smell, especially in the summer or on rainy days, chicken feces on a hot summer day is not a combo you want coming into your windows. The noise, for the most part, is not an issue unless you have a rooster that you and your neighbors will hear. Also, it’s important to note quite a few towns will not allow roosters for that reason alone.

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Another reason not to have the coop too close to your house is tracking chicken feces into your house can be harmful to you, especially if you have young children. Chicken feces can carry diseases just like animal feces.

Double check with your town if they have any regulations on how close the coop can be to your house and your neighbor’s houses, clean up after your chickens and be courteous to your neighbors.

No matter what you decide on, five chickens or one hundred, wood roof or metal roof, dirt floor or wood floor, chicken run or roaming free, remember chickens will give you eggs and live a great healthy life as long as they are treated right and given all of their needs. It may all seem overwhelming but raising chickens is a fun and fulfilling job. Following these simple steps will have you eating fresh eggs in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best place to put a chicken coop?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, including the climate, the size and layout of your backyard, and your personal preferences. However, some general tips to keep in mind include placing the coop in a sunny spot (for warmth in winter and ventilation in summer), ensuring there is enough space for the chickens to move around freely, and keeping the coop well-ventilated. You may also want to consider putting the coop near your garden so that the chickens can help with pest control. Ultimately, it is important to find a location that works best for you and your chickens.

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Does a chicken run need a roof?

No, a chicken run does not need a roof. Chickens are able to fly short distances, so a roof is not necessary to keep them contained. Additionally, chicken runs are typically outdoors and roofs would provide too much shade, making the run too cold for the chickens.

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Does a chicken coop need windows

No, a chicken coop does not need windows. However, some people choose to add them for Ventilation and/or Aesthetics.


Where is the best place to put a chicken coop? ›

Optimally, you want to position your chicken coop on level, high ground, with the run slightly sloped down away from the coop, if possible, to allow water run off, and to prevent flooding and resulting minimal mud. Low spots in your yard will tend to get muddy, foggy and get covered in more frost in the winter.

Where do you put a coop? ›

Finding higher ground, if possible, or adding drainage to your yard, if necessary, will help keep your hens high and dry and healthy. Foraging areas – No matter how much you feed them, hens love to forage, and placing their coop near good foraging areas will help keep them entertained, exercising, and well-fed.

Which direction should chicken coops face? ›

Many poultry farmers advise to build a chicken coop in the direction facing north. This way, the chooks can receive enough sunlight the entire day. During the cold winter months, the days are shorter, which means there is not enough sunlight.

How many square feet does a chicken need? ›

Try to plan for at least 10 square feet of outdoor space per chicken. But really, the more space you can provide, the happier your chickens will be. In addition to outdoor space, your coop should have roosting bars—preferably at least eight to 12 inches per bird—so they can sleep comfortably at night.

How far should my chicken coop be from my house? ›

Typically such laws will specify that chickens must be housed some distance from residences, as few as 10 feet or as many as 150 feet. Requirements also vary depending on whether the home in question is that of the chickens' owner or of a neighbor.

Should my chicken coop be in the sun or shade? ›

Should you build your chicken coop in the sun or in the shade? For most climates, your chickens will prefer a coop that is built in the shade, because chickens generally suffer more from heat than cold. Additionally, hot coops are difficult to cool down, whereas cold coops can be warmed up.

Can I put my chicken coop on grass? ›

Many people start out with their chicken coop and run on grass, but as we chicken people know, grass will not last long around chickens. Wood chips help keep the run from getting muddy, especially since we have an open section with our pergola.

Should a coop be off the ground? ›

Not all chicken coops need to be off the ground, but there are many benefits to having an elevated coop, including the prevention of high moisture in the coop (particularly in areas with run-off or flooding), protection from burrowing predators and rodents, extension of the size of the run, and shelter in the run from ...

Where should a chicken house be placed? ›

It's a good idea to put the coop somewhere where it is partially shaded, and partially in the sun. This means your chickens can beat the heat when it's getting a bit toasty, as well as bask in the sunlight when they want to catch some rays.

Do chickens like lights in their coop? ›

Chickens have poor night vision and cannot find their roosts in the dark. Adding supplemental light at the end of the day, allows no transition time for them to get positioned for sleeping. Sudden darkness can cause confusion, stress and possible panic leading to injuries.

Do chickens go back to their coop at night? ›

Chickens are creatures of habit, and once they know where their roost is, they will return to it every night–like clockwork.

How many nesting boxes do I need for 8 chickens? ›

Usually, one nest box for every 4-5 hens is enough. It is not uncommon for all the hens to lay in one or two favorite nesting boxes, even when you've provided many other nesting options!

How many nesting boxes do I need for 6 chickens? ›

A good rule of thumb is to provide one nesting box per 4-6 hens.

How many chickens will fit in a 10x10 coop? ›

A chicken needs about 4 square-feet per bird inside the coop. That means a 10x10 coop would comfortably hold 25 birds. Remember, they also need about 10-12 inches per bird to roost on at night.

Can you put a chicken coop next to a house? ›

There will be some flies and other flying insects and the occasional odors. For this reason – you don't want to place the chicken house directly next to your house. Keep them close enough to be convenient, but just not directly on top of your own home.

Should I put my chicken coop under a tree? ›

Shade – Place the coop under a tree if you can. This is beneficial in many ways. Not only will your chickens get a good amount of shade the tree will also benefit. The birds will fertilize the soil for the tree.

Can chickens sleep outside the coop? ›

Your chickens must sleep inside their coop for their wellbeing and safety. We hope these tips help you figure out what may be causing your hens to sleep outside, and what you can do to get them back inside where it's safe.

Can chicken Poop affect well water? ›

Oversaturating the soil with chicken manure has the opposite effect and harms both plants and the water. Nitrogen: The over-concentration of nitrogen in drinking water harms the water source's purity and, subsequently, the people who drink it.

Why do chicken coops face south? ›

In warm conditions keep the sun off the coop and in the cold weather a south facing window will help warm the insides. For example a southern facing coop with windows on the east and west sides and a big door or windows on the south side will help your coop to stay warmer.

Should your chicken coop have a floor? ›

Not all chicken coops need floors, particularly those that use the deep litter method, have soil that drains well, and are well-designed to keep out predators. However, many coops without floors allow easy access for rodents and burrowing predators, are difficult to clean, and add too much moisture to the coop.

How do you keep a chicken coop warm in the winter? ›

To help small coops retain heat, cover them with blankets or tarps during the coldest months. In a huge coop, you might lower the ceiling or erect temporary walls to shrink the space occupied by your chickens. Finally, provide a warm, dry floor with biodegradable bedding.

How cold can chickens tolerate in a coop? ›

Cold weather chickens can withstand temps around or slightly below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit to about ten degrees Fahrenheit).

Do chickens need water inside and outside coop? ›

Drinkers Outside

Having drinkers outdoors in the run encourages more outdoor activity and also makes more room inside the coop for chickens. Providing an extra waterer outdoors is essential in extremely warm weather, because it encourages chickens to drink more and remain hydrated.

What is the best thing to put in the bottom of a chicken coop? ›

What Do You Use on the Floor of the Coop? For the deep litter method, use pine shavings or hemp bedding as your bottom layer since they are small pieces and compost fairly quickly. Pine shavings are inexpensive and available online or at your local feed store in bales.

How often should you clean a chicken run? ›

How often you should be cleaning a chicken coop? You should provide fresh food and fresh water every day, and you should clean the bedding out once a week or once a month(the deeper the bedding layer the less often you have to clean it out). It's best practice to do a total clean-out at least twice a year.

What do you put around a chicken coop? ›

To deter digging predators, dig a 12″ trench all the way around the perimeter of the coop, burying the hardware cloth. Dirt floors should have hardware cloth buried at least 12″ beneath them. An alternative to a trench is to extend a 12″ hardware cloth apron out from the perimeter of the run.

Do backyard chicken coops attract rats? ›

Do Chickens attract rats? Rats are not attracted to chickens. However, they are attracted to chicken feed, and love stealing a freshly laid egg. Rats are also attracted to nice, warm, cozy places to live, especially if there is a reliable food source nearby.

Should food be inside or outside the chicken coop? ›

It is done both ways. My personal preference is to keep feeders and waterers inside, if the coop is large enough to allow it. The reason is that outdoor food can get rained on, and wet food can mold. Bad for your birds!

What is the best floor for chicken Run? ›

Choosing the right flooring for your chicken run
  • Sand.
  • Wood Chippings.
  • Pea Gravel.
  • Wood Shavings.

Does it smell living near chicken houses? ›

Mary Marshall says the odor and pollution from nearby chicken farms can make it hard to breathe. The waste is a combination of manure, feed and carcasses — which can cause harmful gas emissions. Mary says there are dust particles in the air and it can be hard to breathe.

What do you put on the floor of a chicken house? ›

What To Put On The Floor Of A Chicken Coop? You can put wood shavings, wood pellets, straw, shredded newspaper, and even sand on the floor of a chicken coop. Whatever chicken bedding your choose, remember that it's vital for comfort, added insulation, and odor control.

What do chickens need in their coop at night? ›

Roosting Perch

Chickens sleep best in the air, so providing a roost for your chickens inside the coop is very important. In unprotected environments, chickens sleep on roosts to protect themselves from predators.

How do chickens know to go in the coop at night? ›

The pineal gland sits above her midbrain behind her eyes, and allows a chicken to sense daylight as well as the changing seasons. So as the day draws to a close, and it starts to get dark, the hens already sense that it is time to go home – to the warmth and safety of the coop.

Do chickens need a dust bath? ›

Dust helps to control parasites by making a chicken's body less habitable. As a backyard chicken owner, it is crucial to encourage dust bathing as part of your coop management and hygiene plan. Chickens are well and truly able to make their own dust bath. They love making their dust bath in the chicken run.

Do you put food and water in chicken coop at night? ›

Chickens do not generally need food and water at night. During the night, chickens will sleep on their roost until morning, and are unlikely to get up to eat and drink. In fact, their poor night-time vision makes it increasingly unlikely for a chicken to leave the safety of the roost to do so.

What time should chickens go to bed? ›

Chickens will usually roost around dusk and will be asleep by sundown. The exact time will vary through the year. If your chickens won't go to bed there is a variety of reasons and solutions. Except when it's seriously overcast and rainy bedtime for chickens begins 30 minutes before sundown.

How long does it take chickens to get used to a new coop? ›

The sooner you push your chickens to adjust to their new coop, the better. Let them settle into their coop for at least 24 hours after the move, then allow access to the run. Ideally, three to four days is a great amount of time to keep your chickens in their new coop.

How high off the ground should nesting boxes be? ›

The height of the nest box should be no less than 18 inches from the floor and can be as high as a few feet off the ground. They should not be at the same height as your roosting bars, or you may find your hens sleeping in the boxes!

What time of day do chickens lay eggs? ›

Most hens lay their eggs in the morning! Although, you may find one or two hens get started later in the day. Chickens are diurnal creatures, though. So, they won't produce any eggs or even ovulate during the night, even if they do spend most of it tucked up in a cozy nesting box.

Where do chickens sleep in the coop? ›

Where do chickens sleep? Most chickens prefer to sleep on a roost rather than on the floor or in a nesting box. And trying to do the right thing, many backyard chicken keepers provide roosts in the form of broom handles or round bars.

Do chickens poop where they lay eggs? ›

When the process is complete, the shell gland at the bottom end of the oviduct pushes the egg into the cloaca, a chamber just inside the vent where the reproductive and excretory tracts meet — which means, yes, a chicken lays eggs and poops out of the same opening.

Where should nesting boxes be placed? ›

Unless there are trees or buildings which shade the box during the day, face the box between north and east, thus avoiding strong sunlight and the wettest winds. Make sure that the birds have a clear flight path to the nest without any clutter directly in front of the entrance.

Where do nest boxes go in a coop? ›

Place nests in the least traveled part of the coop to prevent disturbances while hens are laying. Elevate the nest to a height of 1 to 3 feet to discourage predators and the collection of debris from the coop floor. Line boxes with bedding to keep chickens comfortable and to protect the egg once it has been laid.

Which way should your chicken coop face? ›

Many poultry farmers advise to build a chicken coop in the direction facing north. This way, the chooks can receive enough sunlight the entire day. During the cold winter months, the days are shorter, which means there is not enough sunlight.

Is a 4x8 Coop big enough for 12 chickens? ›

Light Breeds

For lighter breeds, like the White Leghorn, chickens that are allowed to forage outside during the day should have at least 3 square feet per bird, so a 4′ x 8′ coop could house 10-11 birds.

How many chickens will a 8x10 Coop hold? ›

8x10 Super Coop

This model is the perfect chicken coop for 40-45 chickens.

Is it better to put a chicken coop in the shade or sun? ›

Should you build your chicken coop in the sun or in the shade? For most climates, your chickens will prefer a coop that is built in the shade, because chickens generally suffer more from heat than cold. Additionally, hot coops are difficult to cool down, whereas cold coops can be warmed up.

Is it better to have a chicken coop off the ground? ›

Location of the Coop

A chicken coop should be built on high ground to avoid flooding, mud problems, or any buildup of water and moisture. If you can not find high ground, you'll need to build an elevated coop to keep your birds dry.

Does a chicken coop need to be on grass? ›

The obvious answer might seem to be grass, and if you have a big enough area, grass is ideal. Chickens can spend their day happily scratching around for bugs, and creating their own dustbaths in whatever shade they can find.

Should I put a night light in my chicken coop? ›

Chickens have poor night vision and cannot find their roosts in the dark. Adding supplemental light at the end of the day, allows no transition time for them to get positioned for sleeping. Sudden darkness can cause confusion, stress and possible panic leading to injuries.

Do chickens need light at night coop? ›

Chickens need a combination of both daylight and darkness to stay healthy and produce eggs. Bright light at night will stop them from getting essential sleep, leading to ill health and stress-induced behavioral problems.

Why do you put a red light in a chicken coop? ›

Pro: Calming Red Light

Many chicken keepers choose to install red lights in their coops instead of regular artificial light. Red lights don't supplement daylight—and thus don't help your hens continue to produce eggs—they can keep your birds calm during the winter months.

Will chickens naturally go in coop at night? ›

Chickens that spend nights within an enclosed coop will be protected from predators that prowl after dark. Chickens naturally want to “come home to roost,” although they may need to be taught where home is. Here's how to train your chickens to go into their coop at night.

What do you put under a chicken coop? ›

Ground cover within the coop can be anything from wood chips, straw and grass to bare ground. Organic materials tend to break down quickly and plain sand is a popular choice for its durability. Whatever you choose, make sure the chickens may easily scratch and dig.

Can chickens stay in a coop all day? ›

So yes, chickens can stay inside their coop all day as long as they have everything they need for the entire day, including light. If your coop does not have windows you can put in lights and a timer, but that often requires running electric and many people don't want to do that outside.

Will chickens tear up your yard? ›

Chickens will ruin grass if there is not enough room for them or they are kept on the same spot all the time. Chickens have a habit of producing hard packed ground where they stand around. Below: Chickens can kill lawns and leave bare patches.

Do chicken coops attract mice? ›

In short: yes, but maybe not for the reason you think. It is a common misconception that chickens attract rats and mice, but they aren't actually interested in chickens. Plenty of food and a comfortable place to eat it will attract rats in no time.


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