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Important tips for traveling with chickens, sometimes you need to move your chickens from one point to another, so keep these things in mind when traveling with your birds., housing hints, environment, familiarity.

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Posted by admin | Posted on 27-03-2011

Category : Chicken Coops

Tags: Movable Coops , Portable Chicken Coops

Portable chicken coops are usually smaller in size than their fixed counterparts, but if you do not need a larger number of hens in your backyard then you should definitely go with the portable. Do not cram too many birds into a small of space. Just make sure that each chicken has at least 3-4 ft of space to move around. Otherwise you may endanger your hens’ health, and as a result also the egg production. On the other hand, if your coop turns out to be too big, though there isn’t really a “too” big, you can always add another hen.

Large chicken Coop, Portable, for 5 to 7 Hens

Safety: A portable chicken coop will allow you to protect your birds from unwanted predators. It will keep your chicken safe and ensure they are protected from harm’s way and even changes in climatic conditions.

Convenience: When you have a portable chicken coop you can move it around as and when you please. If your coop was firmly fixed in the ground and you wanted to build a storage shed in that same area given the leveling and electrical fittings, you would have to uproot the structure entirety. Sometimes it’s just time for a change and with a portable coop you can simply move it from one corner to another.

Lawn maintenance: When you have a portable chicken coop and you move it around often, you can be sure that the lawn or portions of grass that have been trampled upon by the flock running up and down the back yard can have sufficient time to recover.

Fertilizer: If gardening is a hobby and you wish to fertilize some soil to grow certain vegetables or flowers, you can easily move the coop over these areas and let the chicken droppings fertilize the soil.

Portable chicken coops are best for starters since you’re still learning. You’re going to be testing the temperature, location and weather conditions suitable for your poultry. Since you’re doing this, you’re going to make adjustments and transfer things around every now and then. To make moving a little bit easier, it’s better to own chicken coops that are portable. You can easily dismantle it when you need to make a change.

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Portable chicken coop plans: easy to move ideas.

Chicken coops come in all shapes and sizes to help provide the space your poultry needs to live a healthy, productive life. What is important to consider when building your own coop is the room you are providing your chickens and the style of coop that fits your particular needs. We all want the best chicken coop for our flock, so why not build your own?

Smaller flocks often allow you to be a bit more flexible in your coop designs, and a popular option is the use of a chicken tractor - or mobile coop. If you have the space, you can easily build a small coop that you can wheel around from day to day to provide fresh ground for them to scratch on. The following portable chicken coop plans provide free inspiration, ideas, tips, and step-by-step instructions to make your very own.

Basic Components of a Portable Chicken Coop

If you have ever wondered how to put wheels on a chicken coop, this is the article for you. Although a portable chicken coop doesn’t need to have wheels, it does make it easier to move from one spot to another. The basic component of a chicken tractor, the common name for a mobile coop, includes a coop for roosting and laying , a run of some sort for exercise, and a rigid enough structure to move them with relative ease.

Setting the "tractor" on wheels or skids is a popular way to move the coop and run combo from one area to another every 24 to 48 hours. Generally, these structures are more compact in nature and are for 6 chickens or less on average, but if you are looking to provide space for 12 chickens or more - you definitely can alter plans to make something work.

Who a Portable Coop Is For

Chicken tractors are best for large yards and smaller flocks. This way you can provide a new area for your hens to forage in each day without putting too much stress on the landscape. Even if you do not have a large area, they can be a great compact alternative to a larger coop. Just be sure to provide an extra run so the chickens have a little more space for exercise.

The Ultimate Chicken DIY-er

Get the Book Here

For everything you need to know about DIY chicken coops, look no further. This book has 20 plans for you to build everything your backyard flock could need. From mobile chicken tractors to egg recipes. Complete with color photos and a shopping list for each plan. This could be a good place to start if you're not too sure what kind of coop would fit your flock.

Image credits: BackYardChickens

An A-frame design is a popular choice for those looking to make their chicken coop portable. Most of the weight lies near the bottom portion of the structure, making it easier to move. The space is designed efficiently by placing the run under the coop itself.

Basic Frame

Image credits and full tutorial: Ana White

Another simple A-frame, this option allows you easy access to the roosting and nesting boxes for simple cleaning and egg collection. It's a design that can be made to fit a wide variety of flock sizes and can also be easily connected to an additional run if needed.

Nothing Fancy

Get It Here

Simple, sturdy, straightforward. This chicken tractor has everything your chickens need, and nothing else. It's designed to house four to six chickens, is not too heavy, and the optional wheels make it easy to move around your yard.

Rolling Coop

Image credits and full tutorial: Wesley Tyler via Instructables

Many portable coops do not sit flush to the ground in order to make them easier to move. These plans allow for 4 wheels so you can simply push it from one area to the next without having to lift or strain.

Classic Coop

Image credits and full tutorial: BackYardChickens

This classic A-frame idea has ALL the amenities, including a handle for lifting and pushing, durable wheels, and a large living area. This type of A-frame also works well in harsh weather as it is easy to cover the bottom areas for further protection and place food and water in the coop itself.

Geodesic Dome

Image credits and full tutorial: Kirsten Bradley via Milkwood

Although you may have to get creative in how you move this style of coop, it is a great option for when you are looking to move a coop seasonally to take advantage of dormant garden areas or fresh grass. A bonus of this practice is free fertilizer for next year’s garden!

Vacation Home

This little coop looks like it would be right at home on a beachfront. With a porch-style run and cute raised living area, both handles and wheels make it easy to move from location to location. The great thing about DIY projects is you can make exactly what you want.

The Walk In

If you're looking for something that you move less frequently, these plans could be what you're looking for. Because this is a fully DIY option you could easily add wheels to the bottom for more mobility. You could also leave the bottom open so the chickens can scratch on the ground. The original plans house eight hens, have a full-sized door for easy access, and offer plenty of natural light and ventilation with the open roof design.

Making the Rounds

Image credits and full tutorial: Backyard Poultry

This coop on wheels forgoes the traditional attached run (although it is easy to add one on) and can be moved to wherever you need it! Built as the perfect, compact mobile henhouse, it can be closed up each night for safety, brought into a shed or garage, and then wheeled back out each day.

Compact Hen House

Compact, upright, and perfect for a few hens, this design is made to minimize space while still allowing enough room for your chicken’s creature comforts. The great thing about chickens is that they roost in perches above the ground, so you can take advantage of vertical space.

Traditional Design

Image credits and full tutorial: Simple Savings

PVC pipe is incredibly lightweight and easy to move. This traditional style coop may not be the best design for day-to-day movement, but it certainly is easy enough to move from time to time, season to season, or whenever you decide to give your chickens a new view.

The Chicken Ark

If you're short on space and need a small coop to fit your flock, you're in luck. This compact, lightweight chicken coop houses up to three hens. Small enough to fit in the bed of your pickup truck and mobile enough to move around your yard (it has wheels), these chicken coop plans are ideal for the small backyard chicken flock.

Cottage Classic

This mini cottage on wheels is exactly why you may want to embrace DIY chicken tractor plans. The amount of freedom you have to create exactly what you want is endless. Want your chickens to live the high life? You’ve got it! Looking to make a miniature version of your own home? Totally doable!

Perfectly Portable

[embed width="640"]https://youtu.be/EKMO3m5uTQI

Basic, adorable, and easy to build, take a look at how simple this perfectly portable A-frame style coop is to build. This is a great design that is spacious and allows your flock room to grow over time, or add a larger run when needed.

Image credits and full tutorial: Abundant Permaculture

Take your chickens just about anywhere with these durable, large ties and strong, supportive frames. This coop is made to mimic a hutch and is completely enclosed with both an indoor and outdoor area. You can open an external door to allow them to forage and free-range before returning to the safety of the coop to rest and lay.

Chicken Tractor

The plans for this chicken tractor come with all the usual bells and whistles; predator-proof, easy egg collection, and easy clean-up. But this one is specifically designed to be lightweight and easy to move so that you can move your flock to a new patch of grass every day. Or more often if you wish. This chicken tractor fits six to seven chickens.

Chicken Wagon

An old trailer frame is the perfect option for a coop foundation. Why let it rust away or be trashed at a dump when you can repurpose it into your very own mobile chicken wagon? Versatile, this idea has a ton of potential for placement and run additions.

A House in the Woods

Image credits and full tutorial: floadto via Instructables

Build your chickens a little cabin in the woods that you have always dreamed of. Although these plans work with a more permanent location, it can easily be built on skids or a low trailer to move from one area to another. The height lends itself to adding an additional run as well.

Budget Planning

Image credits and full tutorial: Maat van Uitert via The Frugal Chicken

On a bit of a budget and looking for some frugal chicken coop solutions? This article has all you need to start envisioning what you want with what you have. It also helps you plan out your budget to ensure you can get what you need.

Barn Inspired

Image credits and full tutorial: Brookvalley Farm via Instructables

Want your chickens to have a barn of their own, but don’t want the size and heft of the design? Take a look at these plans to get the look you desire without all the weight and work. This style is also an excellent option for simple customization, such as outside access to nesting boxes, windows, and decor.

PVC Run Framework

Image credits and full tutorial: Sean Graver via D.I.Y. Coop Builder

PVC is an excellent material for a lightweight, portable framework. It is durable, can withstand a wide variety of weather conditions, and is simple to piece together and take apart. You can make an easy run to attach to any sort of chicken coop you may have.

Chicken Barrow

Image credits and full tutorial: scmtngirl via Instructables

Want a unique and totally different look for your chickens to reside in? These instructions for a chicken barrow are easy to follow and only need some basic supplies and tools. It's a budget-friendly idea and can fit well into any backyard flock.

Ready to Scale Up?

If your flock has outgrown your backyard, you might need to upgrade to a large coop. This book is considered by some to be the ultimate guide to scalable chicken tractor plans. If you're interested in pasture-raised chickens and are thinking about scaling up to a commercial scale, then you should consider this book.

At the End of the Day

If you love the idea of having chickens, want to keep them safe, and would like to provide them room to roam, a portable chicken coop could be what you need. Also called a chicken tractor, these mobile coops help utilize the space you have in a yard for a happier, healthier flock.

The styles provided above should help you get started in planning your very own movable space. We’d love to see your ideas, and hear about which models you love! And, as always, please share!

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travelling chicken coop

Traveling (or Moving) with Chickens

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Traveling (or Moving) with Chickens 

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How to Build a Chicken Coop (The Complete Step by Step Guide)

build a chicken coop

Table of Contents

Calling all flock keepers and backyard chicken enthusiasts, prepare for your next DIY adventure… Build Your Own Chicken Coop!

Build a Chicken Coop

  • How can I build a chicken coop?
  • Where do I purchase/find hens?
  • How do I feed and raise my hens?

A chicken coop is a home for your hens. Somewhere to keep them safe from predators, warm during winter, dry during rain, and somewhere safe to lay eggs.

It all starts with the right coop for your hens with step-by-step instructions for those ready to take the DIY chicken coop plunge.

Finished Chicken Coop

The Steps Involved in Building Your Own Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop Checklist

Designs and Plans

Tools and Materials Required

Tools and Materials Required

How-to Build a Chicken Coop

How to Build a Chicken Coop

Finished Coop Pictures

Finished Coop Pictures

Chicken coop checklist (before you start building).

When it comes to building your own coop, there are many advantages.

The first of which being you can build a coop to your and your hens’ exact needs. Want an extra nesting box, perch, or more floor space? – easy, build it yourself!

You will also save money , have fun, and be able to modify your coop in the future; if your flock requires changes.

When building your own coop, you will want to print off this handy checklist below to make sure you build the perfect home for your hens.

Building Your Own Chicken Coop: Designs and Plans

Backyard chicken coop plans can range from small to large, a-frame to barn designs, and many more variations.

The most common style and configuration is a traditional coop, with exterior nesting boxes and an open gable roof.

The most important factor amongst all the variety of sizes, shapes, and styles is to build a coop that works for you and your hens.

The best advice is to browse lots of different coop plans. We have collected 44 free chicken coop plans ; all of which have easy-to-follow instructions and will make selecting a coop design much easier.

Whilst browsing the plans, note down the differences and what you like about them. Once you have selected a plan, remember these important tips :

  • If you have free-range hens they will not require a run or tractor to be built
  • If your hens are not free-range you will need to build a run and you will also require more space inside the coop (see size table below)

You should make sure your coop has the following for each hen.

DIY Tools and Materials Required to Build a Chicken Coop

The fastest and easiest material to build your coop from is wood. All of the materials required are referenced in each stage as a “cut list”.

However, you have probably heard of DIYers making coops from just about anything; wooden pallets, corrugate roofing, and rubber tires.

I would recommend you stick to the basics. Wood is cheap, fast to build with, durable, and easy to paint. Before starting to build your chicken coop, you should prepare a list of all the tools required.

I have listed below the tools I used recently to build my own coop.

How to Build a Chicken Coop (Step-by-step)

Traditional Chicken Coop

The Chicken Coop You Will Learn How to Make

Chapter 1: Building a Frame

Finished Coop Frame

Finished Coop Frame

Once you have chosen your design, the first stage to making your coop is to build the frame. The frame is the structure of your coop.

Step 1: Build Two Sides of Your Coop

Coop Sides Diagram

To make sure the side of the frame is square, place it on a flat surface and measure across the diagonal of the frame. You should measure both of the diagonals (top right to bottom left and top left to bottom right) to check that the diagonal lengths match.

Step 2: Joining Sides Together

To join the sides together you will need to fix all 4 connecting battens on the inside of each joint. Screw through from the side battens into the connecting battens.

Finally, fix the 4 lower lumber battens on the outside of vertical battens 2,3,4 and 5 approximately 19.5” from the floor.

Joining Coop Sides Together Diagram

Congratulations, you have now completed your coop frame.

Chapter 2: Building a Roof for your Coop

Now you have completed the frame of your coop, it’s time to build the roof. Let’s start by making and fitting the roof trusses.

Step 1: Build and Fit Roof Trusses

Take two roof trusses (battens) and screw them together through the 45-degree angle to create triangles (without bases).

This creates your roof trusses, once you have made all three screw them into the coop frame directly above the vertical battens. Step 2: Fix Ridge Rail

To complete the roof structure, simply screw the large and small ridge rail in-between the roof trusses with the 3” section of the rail on the right side.

Ridge Rail Installation

I decided at this point to paint the frame of the coop (excluding the roof trusses), as it’s much harder to paint when all the panels have been fitted.

Chapter 3: Roof and Frame Panels

It’s now time to fit the roof panels and coop frame panels. At the moment, you have a skeleton of a chicken coop.

Once you have cut and fitted the panels you will have a complete coop!

Step 1: Cut Fit Roof Panels

Take two Oriented Strand Boards (“OSBs”) and cut them to the sizes above. After you have finished cutting the panels, use a piece of sandpaper to smooth down any splinters and rough edges.

Countersink and screw both the roof panels to the roof trusses and side battens every 12”. Your coop should now look like this: Step 2: Cut and Fit Coop Frame Panels

Now the coop frame has been built and your roof is fitted, let’s start to panel the frame of the coop.

Cut the 5 panels required using the sizes specified above. After you have finished countersinking the side panels, you can screw them to the coop.

Once the side panels are fitted, you are going to fit the floor panel into your coop. Now the floor has been inserted, screw the floor panel into the frame of the coop.

Side and Floor Panels

Let’s start with the gable panel and entrance panel. Cut the panels from your Oriented Strand Boards, using the cut table above, and proceed to countersink and then screw. Now, there is one remaining piece of paneling to measure cut and fit; the front panel. Now fit the front panel to the coop frame. Step 3: Cut Openings in the Panels

Once the coop has been paneled it is time to cut all of the openings into the panels; such as the coop door, nesting box, and cleaning access:

  • Coop Entrance Panel – opening hatch of 14” wide and 18” high (in the middle)
  • Gable Panel – ventilation hole of 8” square (towards the ridge)
  • Right Side Panel – access hole of 24” wide and 14” high (optional)

Openings in the Panels

Chapter 4: The Final Touches (Painting, Fencing, Nesting Boxes)

Now you have a finished coop, but, without the detail. The final touches are the most important ones!

Step 1: Cutting and Fixing the Coop Doors

Once you have your battens cut to size you can make the coop doors.

Each coop door is made from two vertical door battens and two horizontal door battens.

Take a horizontal door batten and on each end apply PVC glue. Next, take a vertical door batten and screw through the side of the vertical door batten into the horizontal door batten. Repeat this process for both sides of the door.

You now need to repeat this process to make your second door.

Once you have built the doors, they will need hanging. To hang the doors, you need to fit the hinges to the doors and then to the frame of the coop.

Fitting a Door to a Chicken Coop

Step 2: Building a Nesting Box

Your chicken coop is really starting to take shape! It’s time to build the nesting box. We’ve previously written in-depth about different styles of nesting boxes and how to build one here .

Step 3: Fixtures and Fittings

Let’s begin by fitting the entrance door to the coop entrance panel.

Remember the piece of wood you cut out of the coop entrance panel?

Grab it, add a couple of hinges and you have a small door for your coop.

Now the coop entrance panel is complete, let’s turn our attention to the side panel. You will want to take the right-side panel where you previously cut a door opening. Grab it, add a couple of hinges and you have a small access door for your coop.

You can choose to add barrel bolts to both doors to fix them in place.

When I was building the coop, I wanted to make the roost as natural as possible, so I decided to make the roosting bar from a tree branch.

First, I cut a branch off one of my trees.

When looking for a branch, try to find one that has a 1″ diameter, and cut the branch to 44″ long. I then screwed this into my coop.

Fixtures and Fittings for a Chicken Coop

Step 4: Paint Time!

Congratulations, your chicken coop is getting very close to being finished. Now you need to strip the coop down and paint the panels in the color of your choice.

This is a really easy and fun stage!

You can choose any color you like, just make sure the paint is suitable for outside use.

Painting a chicken coop

Step 5: Fixtures and Fittings

Your coop is really starting to take shape now! You are now going to felt and shingle your roof.

Start by felting one side of the roof.

Once you’ve nailed the top of the felt down, you can nail the right and left sides of the felt down, spacing the nails approximately every 10 inches.

Now you have finished felting one side of the roof panel, you need to take the second piece of roofing felt and repeat this process to felt the right roof panel.

Once the second piece of felt is nailed in place, you will notice that the ridge of the roof is still not covered in felt. You need to take your third piece of roofing felt and place this over the middle of the roof.

Felting a Chicken Coop Roof

Step 6: Installation of Hardware Cloth

After you’ve finished painting, to fence your coop use either hardware cloth or chicken wire.

I purchased galvanized chicken wire which was 24″ tall and 25 feet long. Proceed by fitting mesh to each part of the frame which doesn’t have a panel or door.

Hardware Cloth

Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked many questions about chicken coops and building them, here are some of the most frequent ones that will help you before you start your project.

Q. How big should my chicken coop be? A. This depends upon the type of breed you plan to keep, however, for beginners, a good guide is to use three square feet per hen inside the coop.

Q. How much space do I need for 12 hens? A. The rule of thumb is a minimum of three square feet per hen inside the coop and 25 square feet outside of the coop. So for each hen, plan to have roughly 30 square feet .

Q. What is a perch (roost) and what is normally inside a coop? A. Inside a chicken coop there are multiple living areas; a perch, entrance and a nesting box. The perch is a roosting area inside the coop where your hens will sleep and shelter from the elements. This needs to be 10 linear inches per hen.

Q. How big should I build a nesting box? A. Another rule of thumb, 1 square foot per hen nesting.

Q. Do I need to padlock my coop? A. A lock keeps predators out of your hen house. A padlock should be used on every opening in your coop (e.g. entrance, nesting box, cleaning hatch) to keep all predators out.

Q. Should I insulate/heat a chicken coop? A. Unless you live in remote parts of Canada or Alaska then your chickens will be fine without insulation. Your flock is much more winter hardy than you and they will flock together to keep each other warm.

Q. Should I install an automatic chicken coop door? A. Yes Automatic Chicken Coop Doors are a great invention and can save you many hours of sleep and protect your flock from predators at night.

So, it wasn’t that hard!

Let us know in the comments below if you have built your own coop…

Build a Chicken Coop

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36 thoughts on “ how to build a chicken coop (the complete step by step guide) ”.

Should I leave food in coop at night?

Hi Debbie, It’s a personal choice, but I don’t. Claire

Thanks for the visual in this article. Really helps! However I am a little confused as you didn’t give directions on how to affix the nesting box in this plan.

Hi Menkit, We cover this in our nesting box article here: https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/chicken-nesting-boxes/ Claire

Still doesnt show how you build the nesting box that comes out of the back..do you have extra plans to show how to do that?

Forgot to ask how heavy is this coop? Is it relocatable by two people? And would this design work for 3 Australops hens? They are pretty big. Thanks.

Hi Menkit, I would recommend 4 people to move it safely 🙂 Yes, it would be suitable for 3 Australops. Claire

How big is the coop in the above diagrams and cut list? How many sq ft for coop and how many for run? I want enough for 4 non-free range birds so I am hoping it works for that.

Hi Greg, The exact dimensions are mentioned within the post. Also, yes it is suitable for 4 birds 🙂 Claire

I can’t locate where the dimensions are in the post. What is the final height.

I have 5 Brahma. How will they know the coop is for them? Do I need to chase them around at night to let them know?

Hi Obi, No chasing is needed 🙂 You can use scratch as a treat, this will get them inside the coop. Claire

Hi, I’m building this coop and I was wondering about the dimensions and measurements, I’m a little confused?

Which dimension specific, let us know how we can help.

Now I’m confused on how to drill my screws into my wood I don’t know where to put them so they don’t overlap

I ended up buying corner brackets. If I did this again, I’d frame those joints differently.

Will it fit 9 hens and obe rooster

I would make sure you are at least giving them enough room. To know how much to give them please refer to this article https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/how-much-room-do-chickens-need/ Claire

will it fit at least 5 hens and a rooster

Yes for a smaller breed. But thats pushing the limit on space.

I’m having problem of dogs trying to get into the coop , and have coyotes too. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep them outdoor?

We use a double layer of wire mesh: a layer of 16gauge 1/2 x 1” mesh for the coyotes and a layer of 1/4 x 1/4 hardware cloth to keep rodents and snakes out. We have predators of all kinds and this construction is needed here, too.

How much did this cost?

I’m building this right now. I haven’t bought the chicken wire or paint yet but I’m under $75 right now. Optionally, I joined the wood with L-brackets, because you’ll see a comment above about all the nails or screws coming together in some places to joins three boards. The brackets ran me another $40.

Update…depending on materials used, hinges, paint, roofing materials, trim…lots of options. $175 to > $250.

My costs with current lumber prices… 9 2×3 @5.59 each $50.31 3 2×2 @4.40 each $13.20 3 sheets of T1-11 siding @46.64 each $139.92 Hardware Cloth 2ft x25ft roll @35.95 4 Ondura asphalt roof panels @9.98 each $39.92 2 Ondura ridge caps @8.98 each $17.96 1 package Ondura roof panel closure strips @14.98 SO FAR – $311.34 Now throw in sales tax, paint/stain/sealer, screws, latches, and any other hardware and it’s probably another $75+… so close to $400 is what it cost me

Hi, I’m not much of a carpenter. Do you happen to have a list for how much and what kind/ sizes of wood we will need to build this? I see the cuts and measurements but have no idea how to translate that at the hardware store to get what we need to make those cuts. So sorry for sounding so crazy! We just got 4 baby chicks. 2 black Langshan, 2 black Minorca pullets. This exact size should be sufficient for them, right? Thanks so much for any help! Your website is my new fave and I will be purchasing a copy of your book!

Buy a 10″ miter saw for the best angle and straight cuts. Get a circular saw to rip the OSB. Don’t forget saw horses. Plenty big for four chickens. If building it again, I’d frame it 7.5 feet long so I could use a full 8 ft length roofing with 3″ overhangs.

How many chickens can you put in this size coop?

Thank you it’s useful and helpful information GBU

Thank you so much for this information. I did a search on google “How to Build a Chicken Coop” and your listing was the first one to come up and I need to look no further. This is such EXCELLENT and thorough instructions and truly like the simplicity of building one. Again, thank you so much!

How thick is the OSB?

I am writting a book about “how to raise chickens”, and there I explain how to build a coop. Do I have permission to use this images and instructions as an example? Thank you.

We are building a large collection of sex-related texts, easy to navigate, categorized, without advertising. Anyone can have us publish their texts, for free.

I see the cut list, but could you provide a more detailed materials list? As in, when I go to the hardware store, exactly what wood and materials (in what sizes) do I need to buy to be the most efficient with my cuts?

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Home » Backyard Poultry » The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Coops: Everything You Need to Know

The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Coops: Everything You Need to Know

By Author Nicole Gennetta

Posted on Published: October 17, 2023  - Last updated: February 2, 2024

Categories Backyard Poultry , Chicken Health

When it comes to raising chickens, one essential element that is often overlooked is the coop. A well-designed coop is critical to the health and safety of your feathered friends. As much as we enjoy living in a comfortable home, so will your chickens. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore every aspect of chicken coops, focusing on all the benefits and pitfalls to help you make the most informed decisions about what to buy or build and what to avoid.

Brown wooden chicken coop with chickens

Table of Contents

The Importance of a Chicken Coop 

A chicken coop is more than just a shelter; it’s a sanctuary for your chicken.

Protection from Predators

One of the primary functions of a chicken coop is to provide a secure environment for your chickens by protecting them from various predators :

Raccoons are notorious for killing chickens. They are skilled at breaking into coops and can wreak havoc on a flock. These nocturnal creatures have great dexterity and the ability to manipulate latches and locks. Without a secure coop, your chickens would be easy targets.

Foxes are stealthy hunters that pose a significant threat to chickens, especially in rural areas. They can dig under or climb over poorly secured runs and chicken coops. To prevent this, you will need secure walls and floors to help deter foxes and safeguard your flock.

Birds of prey like hawks and eagles are constant threats to free-ranging chickens. A chicken coop with a solid roof and a covered outdoor run provides a safe space for your birds to avoid aerial attacks from their less friendly cousins.

Snakes and Rodents are something else you need to consider. It isn’t just larger predators that your chickens and their eggs require protection from. Rats and mice can contaminate feed and water, and rats will also take eggs, as will snakes. Snakes may also bite chickens. Well-constructed coops with tight-fitting doors and windows keep these pests out. I’ve actually found young rats curled up asleep in the chickens’ nest boxes during the winter! 

Adverse weather conditions may also affect your chickens. They are sensitive to extremes of heat and cold, and exposure to harsh elements can lead to stress, illness, and reduced egg production. A well-designed chicken coop offers essential protection from the cold chill of winter or the extreme heat of summer:

  • Rain – Once a chicken gets wet, it can become susceptible to hypothermia. This is especially problematic in breeds with soft, downy feathers. A coop with a solid roof and good drainage will help to keep your chickens dry during rainy periods.
  • Snow – In cold climates, snow and freezing temperatures can be deadly. Coops should be insulated and draft-free to keep your chickens warm. Proper ventilation prevents moisture buildup and frostbite, and heating can also be added, providing it is not going to cause a fire hazard. Be especially careful with overhead heaters, as they can become too hot for your birds.
  • Heat – Many breeds are more cold-hardy than heat-hardy, so heatwaves can also be detrimental as they can cause heat stress . Coops need plenty of ventilation in the summer and should provide deep shade. When constructing your coop, consider its position and materials carefully. A wooden coop with a tin roof that is out in the open will become very hot, while a block-built coop with a tiled roof that is under the partial shade of trees will stay far cooler. Access to cool, clean water is essential to help your chickens stay hydrated and comfortable during hot weather .

Egg Production

A comfortable and stress-free environment is essential for optimal egg production:

  • Nesting Boxes – Coops typically include nesting boxes where chickens lay their eggs. These boxes provide a safe, quiet, and clean space for egg-laying. They also help to ensure your chickens don’t seek alternative nesting sites that might expose their eggs to predators or the elements. See our article on Nest Boxes for more information.
  • Reduced Stress – A secure and comfortable coop reduces stress because your birds feel safe and contented. Stressed chickens are less likely to lay eggs regularly, causing decreased production. 
  • Egg Safety – Without a coop, eggs laid in open areas can be exposed to dirt, feces, and bacteria. Coops keep eggs clean and sanitary, reducing the risk of contamination and ensuring the safety of your fresh eggs.

A chicken coop is quite simply a multifaceted sanctuary for your chickens. 

Choosing the Right Location for Your Coop

Choosing the perfect location for your coop is an important decision that can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of your chickens. Here are the most important factors to consider:

Sunlight is essential for several reasons:

  • Health and Well-being – Chickens thrive in natural light. The hours of sunlight help regulate their internal clocks and keep them active and healthy.
  • Egg Production – Sunlight is directly linked to egg production. Chickens require around 14-16 hours of daylight to lay eggs consistently. Insufficient light leads to decreased egg production in most breeds.
  • Natural Behavior – Sunlight encourages natural behaviors such as dust bathing and foraging, which are important for the physical and mental well-being of your chickens.

Ideally, your coop should be positioned to receive the most sunlight in the morning and late afternoon. If it is partially shaded during the middle of the day, that can be a good thing in a hot climate as it helps keep the coop cooler. The main entrance should be out of the prevailing wind and in the path of the sun. 

Proximity to Your Home

Easy Access and Monitoring is much easier if you keep your chicken coop reasonably close to your home, for:

  • Convenience – Easy access makes daily chores, such as feeding, watering, and egg collection, more convenient. Plus, you’ll be more likely to tend to your chickens regularly.
  • Security – Being close to your home provides better security. You can quickly respond to any unusual sounds or signs of trouble, such as predator attempts.
  • Temperature Regulation – In colder climates, you can quickly provide supplemental heat when necessary.

One thing you’ll need to check is local zoning and homeowner association regulations in your area, as these could affect coop placement. Some areas have specific setback requirements or restrictions on coop size.

Avoid Low-Lying Areas! Proper drainage prevents water accumulation in and around the coop. This is important for:

  • Flooding Prevention – Low-lying areas often flood during heavy rain; this could mean your coop gets damp and uncomfortable for your chickens, or it could mean it ends up completely waterlogged.
  • Mud Mitigation – Excess moisture and mud may lead to health problems such as foot issues and respiratory infections.
  • Sanitation – A well-drained coop is easier to keep clean and reduces the risk of bacterial growth and odors.

Before construction, evaluate the land’s natural drainage patterns. Consider grading the area or adding drainage features like ditches or French drains to ensure water flows away from the coop.

Selecting the perfect location involves careful consideration of sunlight exposure, proximity to your home, and drainage. By optimizing these factors, you can create an environment that promotes the health and happiness of your birds while making your daily chicken-keeping tasks more manageable and pleasurable.

Types of Chicken Coops 

Chicken coops come in various designs, including: 

  • Traditional wooden coops have great aesthetics and almost endless design possibilities. 
  • Purpose-built brick or block coops provide a solid and easy-to-insulate option that is harder for predators to break into and will last a lifetime. 
  • Mobile coops that are portable due to their wheels. These make relocation easy, which can be beneficial if you want your chickens to help keep down overgrowth. 
  • A-frame Coops are triangular and are a great design due to their excellent ventilation possibilities. Depending on size, they can also be made mobile.
  • Plastic coops are easy to clean and don’t harbor insect pests. 
  • Converted structures such as repurposed sheds, barns, and even old trailers can all make good chicken coops if they are fitted out well.

Size Matters 

When it comes to coop size, remember the rule of thumb: at least 2-3 square feet per chicken. More space means happier and healthier birds.

Small brown chicken coop with green roof

Perches and Coop Heating

Perches are essential components of any chicken coop. They provide our feathered friends with a place to roost, rest, and sleep. They promote and allow for:

Instinct – Chickens have a natural instinct to perch. In the wild, they roost in trees to stay safe from ground predators. Providing perches allows them to exhibit this behavior in a more natural way, promoting their overall well-being.

Comfort and Rest – Perches provide a comfortable and elevated resting place. Elevated perches keep them off the coop floor, which can become dirty and damp. This helps keep chickens cleaner and reduces the risk of diseases and foot issues.

Hierarchy and Space – Perches establish a hierarchy within the flock. Dominant chickens often occupy the highest perches, while subordinates take lower spots. Having multiple perches of varying heights and lengths ensures that all chickens have their place and minimizes bullying or aggression.

Perch Design Considerations

A rounded perch with a 2 to 3-inch diameter provides a comfortable grip for a chicken’s feet. It allows them to wrap their toes around the perch securely, preventing slipping and reducing the risk of foot problems.

The tree branches chickens would naturally roost on would usually be of a similar diameter. Using perches within this range encourages their natural roosting behavior.

Providing a few perches of varying diameters within this range accommodates chickens of different ages and sizes. Young chickens may prefer slightly thinner perches, while larger or older birds may prefer fatter ones.

Perches that are too small may cause pressure sores on the feet, while perches that are too large can lead to cramped toes. The 2 to 3-inch diameter strikes a balance between these extremes.

Allow enough space for each chicken to perch comfortably without overcrowding. They should be spaced horizontally to prevent crowding. Try to provide at least 10-12 inches (25-30 centimeters) of space between each perch. This spacing allows chickens to hop up and down without bumping into one another.

Another way to prevent conflicts is to install perches at different heights within the coop. Vertical spacing between perches should be around 12-18 inches (30-45 centimeters). This ensures that chickens have options for roosting at different levels.

Be mindful of your chicken’s sizes. Some larger breeds need more space between perches to accommodate their size comfortably.

If you have broody hens (those sitting on eggs to hatch them), try adding perches close to the nesting boxes. This allows broody hens to easily access their nests without disturbing other roosting chickens.

Leave 18-24 inches (45-60 centimeters) between each row if you have multiple perches in a row. This arrangement helps prevent overcrowding and allows chickens to move freely.

Observing your own birds’ behavior can help you determine if they need more or less space. If you notice overcrowding or aggression, try adding more perches or adjusting the spacing.

Make perches easy to remove or clean to maintain a sanitary environment. They can be made of smooth, sanded wood or plastic. Wood provides the best grip, but plastic is easier to clean. Avoid using metal, as this gets too hot in summer and cold in winter.

Coop Heating

This is a topic of great debate among experienced chicken keepers. While chickens are hardy and can withstand cold temperatures, heating is still beneficial under certain conditions:

Extreme Cold – In regions with extremely cold winters, coop heating may be necessary to prevent frostbite and keep chickens from literally freezing to death. They will tend to huddle up together and use combined body heat, but it can also be useful to use additional heating to keep them comfortable. Be very careful only to use safe heating methods, such as heat mats, heat lamps, or radiant heaters, and avoid open flames or unsafe electrical setups.

Chicks and Young Birds – These must be kept warm as they are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Providing supplemental heat in a brooder area within the coop is absolutely essential until they feather out and can regulate their body temperature.

Health and Egg Production – Maintaining a comfortable temperature in the coop contributes to overall chicken health and sustained egg production during the winter months. Extreme cold will stress chickens and stop them from laying.

Safety Precautions

When using heating devices in the coop, take safety precautions :

  • Ensure proper ventilation to stop moisture buildup.
  • Use heaters designed for poultry or livestock.
  • Keep electrical cords and devices out of reach to prevent fire hazards.
  • Monitor temperature regularly to avoid overheating.

Coop heating should be used sparingly and with caution, primarily in extreme cold conditions, to ensure the safety and health of your flock. Always prioritize safety and the specific needs of your chickens when making decisions.

Materials and Construction for Building Chicken Coops

The choice of materials and construction methods for your chicken coop is critical to its durability, insulation properties, and overall functionality. 

Building Materials Pros and Cons

Here are some of the various pros and cons of using the following building materials for your chicken coop:

Wood Pros: 

  • Common Choice : Wood is one of the most common materials for building chicken coops. It’s readily available and easy to work with.
  • Durability : Treated and well-maintained wood can be long-lasting.
  • Insulating Properties : Wood offers some level of natural insulation, helping to keep the coop warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather.
  • Aesthetic Appeal : Wooden coops can be aesthetically pleasing and blend well with your backyard.
  • Maintenance : Wooden coops require regular maintenance, including sealing, painting, and repairs to prevent rot and decay.
  • Cost : Quality wood can be expensive, and construction costs may be higher than other materials.
  • Predator Vulnerability : Wood is susceptible to damage from burrowing predators, such as rats and weasels, if not adequately protected.

Metal Pros:

  • Easy to Clean : Metal coops are easy to clean and sanitize, reducing the risk of disease.
  • Durability : Properly constructed and maintained metal coops can be highly durable and resistant to weathering.
  • Rodent-Resistant : Metal walls and floors deter burrowing rodents and predators.
  • Longevity : Metal coops often require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan compared to wood.

Metal Cons:

  • Insulation : Metal can conduct heat and cold, making it less insulating. You may need to insulate the coop to maintain a comfortable temperature year-round.
  • Initial Cost : High-quality rust-proof metal can be expensive initially, although it may save on maintenance costs over time.
  • Condensation : Metal is prone to condensation, so proper ventilation is crucial to prevent moisture buildup.

Plastic Pros:

  • Low Maintenance : Plastic coops are low-maintenance and resistant to rot, decay, and rust.
  • Lightweight : They are light and easy to move, which can be advantageous for portable or small coops.
  • Hygienic : Plastic surfaces are simple to clean and disinfect, promoting a healthy environment.
  • Affordability : Plastic coops are often cost-effective compared to wood or metal.

Plastic Cons:

  • Durability : Some plastic coops may not be as durable as wood or metal, especially in extreme weather conditions, as heat and cold tend to make them brittle.
  • Insulation : Plastic may not provide the same level of insulation as wood.
  • Predator Protection : Plastic may not be as robust against determined predators as metal or wood, especially as it ages.

Brick or Block Pros:

  • Durability : Very hard-wearing and durable and will last a lifetime.
  • Dimensions : Can be constructed in various shapes and sizes.
  • Predator Protection : This is very predator-proof.
  • Maintenance : Almost no maintenance is required.
  • Insulation : It is relatively easy to insulate.

Brick or Block Cons:

  • Transport : Can’t be moved around.
  • Construction : More difficult to construct.
  • Affordability : It may be more costly to build but will last the longest, so it is a good investment.

Ensuring Construction Quality

Regardless of the material chosen, proper construction is critical to create a coop that can withstand the elements and protect your chickens effectively:


The foundation of your coop is the starting point for its overall stability, longevity, and functionality. 

Start by referring to the section on “location” before starting any foundation work.

Foundation Types – There are several options for coop foundations, each with their own benefits:

  • Concrete Slab : A concrete slab provides a stable, level surface that is easy to clean and maintain. It prevents rodents from burrowing into the coop. Properly sloped, it can aid drainage.
  • Pier and Beam : This foundation type involves setting the coop on piers or posts. It allows for ventilation underneath, reducing moisture buildup. Be sure to use rot-resistant wood for the beams.
  • Gravel Pad : A layer of crushed gravel or gravel mixed with sand provides good drainage. It’s an affordable option but may require periodic replenishing.
  • Raised Platform : Elevating the coop on a wooden platform can help with drainage and prevent moisture issues. Ensure it’s well-ventilated underneath.

Moisture Barrier – To prevent moisture from seeping into the coop from the ground, consider using a moisture barrier. This can be in the form of a specialist vapor barrier material or a layer of heavy-duty plastic sheeting placed beneath the foundation. Ensure that it extends beyond the footprint of the coop to prevent moisture intrusion effectively.

Proper Grading – Foundations must be properly graded to direct water away from the coop. The ground should slope away on all sides to encourage water runoff. Use a level to ensure the foundation is even and does not create low spots where water can pool.

Maintenance – Regularly inspect and maintain the foundation. Fill any low spots that may develop over time and repair any damage promptly. Keep an eye on the condition of the moisture barrier, especially if it’s exposed to the elements.

Predator Prevention – In addition to moisture issues, a well-constructed foundation also plays a role in predator prevention. Ensure that the foundation is secure and that there are no gaps or openings through which predators can dig or squeeze in. Use predator-resistant materials to reinforce vulnerable areas like windows, doors, and the floor to stop predators from getting in.


Ventilation plays a pivotal role in keeping your chickens healthy and comfortable. Maintaining an airflow prevents moisture buildup, regulates temperature, and keeps good air quality within the coop.

How to Ventilate a Chicken Coop

To achieve proper ventilation, some systems must be incorporated into the coop. Many commercially bought coops do not have sufficient ventilation, and you may need to improve it. If you build one of your own, good ventilation is easier to achieve. Consider including these components:

Vents – Install vents near the roof or upper walls to allow hot, moist air to escape. You can use hinged vents that may be adjusted as needed.

Windows – Windows that have the ability to be opened and shut (usually with shutters) should be fitted with screens or wire mesh to provide additional air to circulate. Ideally, windows are best positioned to promote cross-ventilation for optimal airflow.

Roof Ventilation – Roof or ridge vents are effective in hot climates as they allow rising hot air to exit easily and maintain a cooler temperature inside the coop.

Secure Wire Mesh – All openings, including vents and windows, should be covered with secure wire mesh to prevent predators from entering while maintaining airflow.

Achieving the right balance between ventilation and insulation is crucial, especially in regions with extreme weather. You want to ensure that your coop remains well-ventilated but not drafty, as drafts can lead to cold stress in chickens. Insulation helps contain warmth, while proper ventilation keeps the air fresh and healthy.

Maintenance is key to ensuring that your coop’s ventilation remains effective. Clean vents and screens regularly to prevent blockages from dust, feathers, or debris. Replace damaged screens promptly and inspect the entire ventilation system routinely to ensure it’s functioning as intended.

Choosing the appropriate roofing material for your chicken coop is another important consideration to safeguard your feathered friends from rain, snow, and other environmental factors:

Weather Protection – A well-chosen roofing material acts as a barrier against rain and snow and will prevent moisture from entering the coop. 

Roofing also provides shade from direct sunlight, helping to maintain a moderate and comfortable temperature inside for your birds.

Durability – A durable roofing material will prolong the life of your chicken coop. It should withstand the elements, including wind, rain, snow, hail, and UV exposure, without deteriorating quickly.

Low Maintenance – Choose a roofing material that requires minimal maintenance to save time and effort in the long run.

Insulation – While not a primary insulator, the type of roofing you use can impact the coop’s insulation properties. It should help maintain a stable temperature inside the coop, especially during extreme weather conditions.

Condensation Control – Another consideration is controlling condensation. It should minimize moisture buildup inside the coop, which could lead to dampness and discomfort.

Roofing Material Options

  • Asphalt Shingles : These are a popular choice due to their durability and water-resistant properties. They come in various colors and styles, allowing you to match the coop’s aesthetics. Make sure to use a waterproof underlay beneath the shingles for added protection.
  • Metal Roofing : Metal roofs, such as corrugated steel or aluminum, are highly durable and can last for decades. They are resistant to moisture and provide excellent protection against rain and snow. Their main downside is that proper insulation will be necessary to prevent excessive heat or cold.
  • Polycarbonate Panels : These translucent panels are lightweight and provide diffused natural light. They are also waterproof and can be an excellent choice if you want to maximize daylight in the coop. Don’t forget, however, that hens enjoy an area in relative darkness to lay their eggs. Their main downsides are that they do break down over time with sun exposure, and they are not resistant to heavy hail.

Installation Considerations

Proper installation will affect the effectiveness of the chosen roofing material. 

  • Slope : Make sure the roof has a gentle slope to allow water to run off easily. This prevents water from pooling and causing leaks.
  • Sealing : Pay careful attention to sealing all seams and penetrations, such as vents and chimneys, to stop water intrusion.
  • Overhang : Providing an overhang or eaves helps direct rainwater away from the coop’s walls.
  • Gutters and Downspouts : Gutters and downspouts will channel rainwater away from the coop’s foundation. And if collected, give you a useful water supply.
  • Regular Inspection : Periodically inspect the roof for any signs of damage or wear and tear and address issues promptly.

Security Measures to Keep Your Chickens Safe

We have already looked at the materials you should use to build a predator-proof coop, but there are additional measures you can employ to ensure predators cannot get to your chickens: 

Sturdy Locks – Invest in robust locks for doors and windows, and remember that raccoons can undo bolts and latches.

Wire Mesh – Even if you purchased your coop, ensure you cover the windows and vents with predator-proof wire mesh.

Dig Barriers – Bury rust-proof wire mesh around the coop to deter burrowing predators.

Automatic Doors – If you lead a busy life and your chickens have access to a large run or are free-range, it can sometimes be difficult to shut them away safely for the night. This is where automatic doors that activate at dusk, when your chickens should have already put themselves safely inside of their coop, will shut the door for you.

Some people don’t like automatic doors for a couple of reasons: 

  • Some chickens don’t always go back to the coop when they should and can end up being shut outside. 
  • Predators don’t only operate at night. It is quite common for foxes to hunt during the early evening (and even during the day). They may end up being shut inside the coop with your chickens, which is far from ideal!

I use automatic doors only to open the coop in the morning, as I shut the chickens in myself at night. On a rare occasion that I won’t be around, I do set the door to do it for me.

Coop Maintenance and Cleaning 

Regular cleaning is essential to prevent diseases and maintain a healthy environment for your chickens. Develop a cleaning schedule and stick to it.

Developing a Cleaning Schedule

To maintain a healthy environment for your chickens, follow these steps:

Daily Tasks:

  • Remove soiled bedding and droppings from nesting boxes.
  • Check water and food containers, ensuring they are clean and filled.
  • Observe chicken behavior and watch for any signs of illness or distress.

Weekly Tasks:

  • Replace or refresh bedding material as needed.
  • Scrub and disinfect water and food containers.
  • Check for signs of pests or mold.
  • Inspect coop ventilation for blockages.

Monthly Tasks:

  • Deep clean the coop, including walls, perches, and nest boxes.
  • Replace all bedding material.
  • Inspect and repair any structural issues or wear and tear.
  • Apply anti-lice and mite powder (such as diatomaceous earth) into corners and in areas where the pests may hang out.

Seasonal Tasks:

  • Insulate the coop for winter or provide additional ventilation for summer.
  • Check and clean gutters and downspouts to prevent water accumulation.
  • Ensure that the roof, windows, and vents are in good condition.

Safety Precautions When Cleaning Coops

When cleaning the coop, remember to take safety precautions as transmission of avian flu viruses and other diseases from birds and rodents can cause severe disease in humans:

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and a mask, to avoid inhaling dust or coming into contact with pathogens.
  • Use poultry-safe cleaning products or natural disinfectants like vinegar.
  • Quarantine new birds before introducing them to the flock to avoid disease transmission.


A well-maintained chicken coop is the cornerstone of successfully keeping backyard poultry. By understanding the importance of the coop, choosing the right location, and following best practices for construction and maintenance, you can create a safe and comfortable home for your feathered friends. 

Remember to check zoning regulations and consider your local climate and the specific needs of your chickens when making decisions about coop design and care. With the right coop, your chickens will be clucking happily in their cozy abode, and you’ll be enjoying fresh eggs for years to come.

Q1: How many chickens can I keep in one coop? 

A1: Aim for 2-3 square feet per chicken to ensure they have enough space to thrive.

Q2: What’s the best bedding material for the coop? 

A2: Options include straw, wood shavings, or sand. Choose one that’s easy to clean and replace.

Q3: Can I use a heat lamp in the coop during winter? 

A3: Yes, but ensure it’s secure and follow safety guidelines to prevent fires.

Q4: How often should I clean the coop? 

A4: Cleaning should be done at least once a week, with a deep clean every month.

Q5 : What should I feed my chickens? 

A5: A balanced diet of chicken feed, supplemented with kitchen scraps and fresh water.

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Anna Everywhere

6 Things No One Ever Tells You About Traveling With Chickens At Home

6 Things No One Ever Tells You About Traveling With Chickens At Home

Post written by Chris Lesley from Chickens And More .

There’s a lot to remember when you’re preparing to leave for vacation. You need to buy plane tickets, set up an itinerary, and pack before you can be on your way. If you have pets that will be staying at home, you also have to figure out how they will get the proper care they need while you are away.

For some pets like dogs or cats traveling with you isn’t too difficult, but caring for backyard chickens while you are away will require extra intuitive planning.

Of course, you can travel with your chickens – have you heard of the sailing hen Monique ? Here are six things that you may not have considered about vacationing away from your chickens.

traveling chicken

Monique in Antarctica

Asking Friends to Help

For most people, asking a friend to come watch your chickens is the first thing that comes to mind. However, this should not be your go-to option. Caring for chickens is a really big task to take on, especially if your friend has no experience with it.

Ask yourself these questions before you ask your friend to watch your flock:

● Can they come by twice a day to open and close the coop, and feed the chickens? ● Are they willing to wake up right at dawn to open the coop, and can they close the coopright at dusk? ● Do they have a long commute? ● Do they know how to clean the coop?

If your friend is an early riser who lives close by, then go ahead and ask them to look after your flock. If not, it would be best for you, your friend, and your chickens to consider a different way to care for your chickens.

chickens when you travel

Get Automated Coop Doors

Automated coop doors are an amazing new technology that provide a convenient way to tend to your flock while you are away.

With an automated door , you no longer need a friend to stop by twice a day while you’re gone, and it can even help you out when you get back from your trip.

Some benefits of automated coop doors are:

● They can be programmed to open/close at a set time. ● Most have safety sensors so they won’t close when a hen is underneath it. ● There are many options on the market that allow you to fit your specific needs. If you want to construct it yourself? Go for it! If you want an all-in-one kit that’s easy to install, you can do that too!

Automated doors will cost you money, but keep in mind that you can use them any time, not just when you’re on vacation.

chicken coops

Install Automated Feeders

Just like coop doors, you can set up an automatic feeding system while you are away. For watering, automated doesn’t have to mean electronic.

Nipple drinkers are a really great, non-electronic option that allow your chickens to drink just by touching it. This eliminates the need for open tubs or bowls, which frequently get dirty.

There are also non-electronic options for feed like this one , but there is a risk that your chickens will overeat with many of these. Preset electronic feeders may be a better option for feeding your chickens.

chicken in a coop

Invest in Good Lighting

Proper lighting is needed to sustain egg production. Leaving the lights on the whole time you’re gone is very expensive and would provide too much light, but you also leave them off the whole time either. Fortunately, lights can be automated as well.

Some options are completely battery- operated, and some can be solar-powered. Solar power is a great option if you want to save money on lighting, while still ensuring healthy egg production.

Use Your Phone to Check on Your Chickens

There’s an app for everything, including checking on your chickens while you’re away. Depending on what app you get, you can feed the flock, water the flock, open and close the coop, and control the lights all from your phone.

Or, if you just want to see how they’re doing with your own eyes, you can install a webcam that can be accessed on your phone. To do this, you just need to ensure your devices are wi-fi compatible and test that it works before you leave.

traveling without chickens

Consider the Weather

Even if you’re vacationing on a sunny beach in the Caribbean, you need to plan for the weather back home. During the winter, automated doors and feeders can malfunction, the water supply can freeze, and the temperature can drop too low in the coop.

If you’re not vacationing during winter, this will be less of a concern, but if you are you need to have a backup plan ready. As stated before, it is wise to use a webcam that connects to your phone in order to check that everything is working as intended. If something does go awry, you may want to call a friend.

Even though recruiting friends isn’t always the best option, the health and safety of your flock is vital to take care of, under any condition. Chickens need care every single day, whether you’re on vacation or not. Hopefully, these options will make your holidays without your chickens less stressful and easier, and will even help you when you get back!

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Linda Jensen

Thursday 4th of April 2024

Dear Anna, have you traveled internationally with any chicks? I have studied hours and hours on all the rules & regulations of both State & Fed Govt., plus requiremeents at Customs of country we want to take them to. that make your head swim!

Besides that, the #of shots, all vets, govt and state fees added up so it was just too cost prohibitive and time consuming! Period... Wondering about another plan 2 or 3, besides airplane? Know any other great ideas. or know anyone who has gotten thru the muddle & mess W/O such terrible hassle cost? Delta Airlines was great to approve, but they said there would be problem at Customs in Ecuador.

Thanks for any Light on the subject...

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travelling chicken coop

How to Transport Chickens Safely and Easily

Natural calming remedies help decrease stress.

Story by Jeanne Castle

Our recent move 900 miles north from Virginia to Maine necessitated me figuring out how to transport chickens safely and easily. I had never before so much as brought a hen to a show or swap, so the idea of moving our 11 backyard chickens and 12 ducks safely to our new home was a bit daunting. In addition to the distance we would be traveling, we would be doing it in the heat of the summer — the middle of August. The timing wasn’t perfect, but I took several precautions to ensure that everyone arrived safely and with as little stress as possible.


Whether you are traveling across town to a chicken swap, across the state to attend a poultry show, or clear across the country to a new home, here are some tips on how to transport chickens.

Crate ‘Em Up for Safety

Fortunately, we have lots of dog crates and other small cages. I paired and tripled up the chickens (putting buddies with buddies) and then put the cages in the back of our horse trailer for the trip, with a nice thick layer of straw on the bottom of each cage, and a small hanging feeder and waterer in each cage. Being in a smaller space leaves less chance of the birds being jostled, or falling and injuring a leg or foot. Don’t cram them in, be sure everyone has room to flap their wings and move around a bit, but in general, the smaller the space the better.

Chickens can overheat pretty easily, especially when they are stressed, so we left the windows of the horse trailer open to ensure good cross ventilation and air flow. During the trip, we stopped every 100 to 200 miles to check on everyone and refill the feeders and waterers as needed. Realizing that everyone doesn’t have a horse trailer at their disposal, the back of a truck or SUV will work also. Just be sure however you transport your chickens, stopping periodically to check for signs of heat exhaustion (pale combs, wings held out, panting, etc.) or accidental injury is very important.

Include Some Natural Calming Remedies

To try and calm the chickens during the trip, I made herbal bundles of fresh herbs to hang in each cage. I used lavender, rosemary, thyme, chamomile and lemon balm in each bouquet, which helped to repel flies as well as create a more serene environment, and also gave the chickens another treat to munch on.

I also tucked a bottle of Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets in the car. It’s an all-natural herbal liquid that helps to calm stressed pets. You can add a few drops to their water, or rub it right on your animals. We’ve used it in the past for our dogs during thunderstorms, so I figured it would be wise to have it handy in case the chickens or ducks seemed overly stressed, but they took the move in stride.


Provide Water and Treats with High Water Content

Interestingly enough, the chickens did eat during the 17-plus-hour trip. From everything I had read, they wouldn’t be interested in any food, so I wasn’t too concerned about what to feed chickens during the trip, especially since going a day or two without feed isn’t going to hurt them, but they proved me wrong. I also gave them some watermelon slices, cucumber slices and cabbage leaves to munch on during the trip. All three of those are favorite treats and contain large amounts of water, so they are good for keeping the flock hydrated. Providing ample fresh, cool water is a necessity. Even a few hours being deprived of water can seriously affect egg production and hen health.

We were fortunate that the day we traveled was unseasonably cool, so I didn’t feel that bottles of frozen water were necessary to provide to keep the chickens cool, but a great trick I read is to bring an empty metal covered pail with you on your trip, stop at a rest stop and buy a bag of ice. Pour the ice into the pail. The condensation will cool the air and the chickens can lean up against the pail to stay cool. As the ice melts, buy more ice to replace it and pour the chilled water into the chickens waterers.


Don’t Expect Eggs for Awhile After the Move

Realizing that any change in routine or stress can cause a reduction in egg production, I was prepared to not collect any eggs after the got to our new home, but have been pleasantly surprised and still manage to find a few eggs each day. However, the stress of the move, as well as the time of year in general, did throw most of our chickens into a molt. I’m actually glad about that because that means they will grow nice new feathers before winter sets in.

Check the Restrictions

One last bit of advice: You will want to check with your local vet or extension service about any restrictions on transporting poultry across state lines. Especially in those states facing the threat of the avian flu, there are some new rules in place about allowing your backyard chickens to leave your property. Better be safe than sorry, so do some research and make some phone calls before you make any big moves.


We arrived at our new farm after driving more than 900 miles over the course of 17 hours. We had stopped countless times for water checks and to be sure everyone was doing okay, but drove straight through. All of our chickens and ducks made the trip amazingly easily. Surprisingly, when we got to our new farm (with no coop or run built yet) and let the chickens out, they grasped pretty quickly that the trailer would be where they would be sleeping until their coop arrives. They have stuck pretty close to it by day and are perfectly safe locked up in the trailer at night. Egg production is back up, new feathers are growing in, and our flock of backyard chickens should be ready to face their first Maine winter!

Sick Chicks

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Shipping Container Chicken Coop: A Practical Guide for Poultry Owners

What size do you need?

We've all heard of the tiny house movement, but what about repurposing shipping containers for chicken coops? It's an innovative and sustainable method that is gaining traction among poultry enthusiasts. These high-grade steel boxes offer a sturdy, predator-proof home for your flock, providing both safety and comfort.

Allow us to delve into why this might just be the perfect option for you. The size of these containers makes them ideal for housing a large number of chickens comfortably. They're also incredibly durable and weather-resistant, ensuring your feathery friends are safe in any condition.

When it comes down to it, sustainability isn't just about being eco-friendly it's also about finding practical solutions that work efficiently while saving resources. By reusing old shipping containers as chicken coops, we're doing exactly that giving new life to something used and making our planet a little bit greener along the way.

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Understanding the Concept of a Shipping Container Chicken Coop

Let's dive right into an innovative way to raise chickens. We're talking about converting shipping containers into chicken coops. With the rise in backyard farming and sustainable living, this idea has been gaining traction.

Shipping containers are robust, weather-resistant, and secure structures that can offer ample space for your flock. They're designed to withstand harsh conditions on long ocean voyages which means they can easily handle any climate conditions your yard may throw at them.

An illustration of the many uses of a storage container

We've seen how these metal boxes have been creatively repurposed for housing, offices, even swimming pools! So why not give them a second life as chicken coops? You'll be helping the environment by reusing materials instead of buying new ones.

Then, you don't need to be handy with tools or construction savvy to make it happen! There are companies out there who specialize in modifying shipping containers for various uses including chicken coops. These experts work with you to customize the container according to your specific needs.

Here are some key features of shipping container chicken coops:

  • Space : A standard 20-foot shipping container can accommodate up to 60 birds comfortably.
  • Security : The sturdy steel structure and lockable doors provide excellent protection against predators.
  • Durability : Shipping containers are built to last. They require minimal maintenance compared with wooden structures.
  • Versatility : The interior can be customized with nesting boxes, roosting bars and feeding stations according your chickens' needs.

So whether you're looking for a simple solution for keeping just few hens or planning a large-scale poultry farm operation, consider the humble shipping container as an effective and environmentally friendly option!

Key Benefits of Using Shipping Containers for Chicken Coops

We've all seen the rise in popularity of backyard chicken coops, but have you ever considered using a shipping container as a coop? It may sound unconventional, but there are several benefits that make it an excellent choice.

Firstly, these containers are built to withstand harsh weather conditions. They're made from sturdy steel and engineered to endure the high seas, making them virtually indestructible against winds and heavy rain. This means your chickens will be safe and dry no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

Shipping containers also provide ample space for your flock. Depending on the size you choose, you could comfortably house dozens of chickens. The standard 20-foot container offers around 160 square feet of floor space� more than enough room for nesting boxes, roosting areas, feeders and waterers.

Compared to traditional wood-built coops, shipping containers require less maintenance too. There's no need to worry about rot or pests eating away at the structure over time a common issue with wooden models.

Another significant advantage is their mobility. If you decide to move or want to rotate pastures for grazing purposes, it's relatively easy with a shipping container coop just hitch it up and go!

Lastly but importantly is cost-effectiveness over time because:

  • Durability ensures longer lifespan
  • Lower maintenance costs compared to wood-built alternatives
  • You can find used containers at reasonable prices

Here's how these benefits stack up:

Give and outline of, using a shipping container for your chicken coop brings together durability, ample space, low maintenance requirements, mobility and cost-effectiveness. These are qualities every backyard farmer can appreciate.

We're not saying it's the only way to go but it certainly presents an intriguing option worth considering in your poultry-raising journey. Stay tuned as we delve into more details about this innovative approach to chicken cooping!

How to Convert a Shipping Container Into a Chicken Coop

Are you wondering how to transform that old shipping container in your backyard into something useful? Well, we've got an idea for you. Imagine turning it into a cozy and secure chicken coop! It's cost-effective, easy to clean, and adds unique character to your homestead. Here's our step-by-step guide on how it can be done.

First off, you'll need the right tools and materials: a basic tool kit, safety gear, chicken wire or mesh fencing, nesting boxes, roosting bars and feeders. We recommend taking accurate measurements of the container before purchasing these items so they fit perfectly.

Next up is preparing the container itself. Give it a thorough cleaning after all, no one wants their new home filled with dust and cobwebs! Patch up any holes or damaged areas with sturdy metal sheets for optimal security against predators.

Once that's done, let's focus on ventilation. A well-ventilated coop ensures happy chickens by maintaining good airflow while preventing dampness and excessive heat buildup inside the coop. Cut openings at strategic locations (preferably opposite ends) of the container and cover them with mesh or chicken wire.

Now comes creating perches for your chickens to sleep on standard wooden dowels will work just fine here! Also install nesting boxes lined with straw where hens can lay their eggs comfortably.

Finally making sure there's ample space for feeding stations as well as fresh water supply points within reach of every bird is crucial!

Remember converting a shipping container into a chicken coop isn't merely about giving our feathered friends shelter; it's about providing them an environment conducive to their healthiness and happiness!

Maintenance Tips for Your Shipping Container Chicken Coop

Let's dive into some crucial maintenance tips for your shipping container chicken coop. First and foremost is ventilation. It's indescribably important to ensure that fresh air circulates within the coop regularly. This helps keep the chickens healthy and reduces any foul odor. For proper ventilation, install vents near the top of the shipping container this way, hot air can escape while cooler air enters from lower-level openings.

Cleaning has to be a priority too. We'd recommend regular cleaning routines in order to maintain a conducive environment for your chickens. Trust us, it'll prevent diseases and pests invasion! A simple yet effective cleaning routine could include scraping off droppings daily, replacing bedding weekly, and performing a deep clean quarterly.

Don't underestimate the power of good insulation either! Insulation will help regulate temperatures inside your chicken coop throughout different seasons remember: comfortable chickens are happy chickens! Depending on your location's climate conditions, you may need to consider insulating materials like spray foam or rigid foam boards.

Next up is security; an aspect we cannot emphasize enough on! It's vital to secure all doors and windows against predators such as foxes or raccoons that might view your chicken coop as an easy buffet. Reinforce entry points with hardware cloth instead of chicken wire since it's more durable and predator-proof.

Lastly, always ensure you have a reliable water system installed in your shipping container chicken coop. Chickens require constant access to clean water so investing in a weather-resistant watering system would be wise!

  • Regularly ventilate
  • Clean frequently
  • Insulate based on climate
  • Prioritize security
  • Install reliable water systems

Remember these key pointers when maintaining your shipping container chicken coop; they're surefire ways of keeping those feathery friends happy and thriving!

Conclusion: Is a Shipping Container Chicken Coop Right for You?

So, we've taken you through the ins and outs of shipping container chicken coops. We've discussed everything from their pros to their cons, and hopefully provided some clarity on what owning one involves. Now the big question remains is a shipping container chicken coop right for you?

Well, if you're looking for an eco-friendly option that's durable and easy to maintain, this might just be your best bet. These coops offer ample space for your hens, ensuring they live comfortably while laying plenty of eggs.

On the flip side though, these coops require significant initial investment compared to traditional wooden ones. They also demand careful planning during construction due to factors like ventilation and temperature regulation.

Here are few key points that can help you decide:

  • Do you value durability and low-maintenance?
  • Are sustainability and recycling important to you?
  • Can you afford the up-front cost?
  • Are you willing to invest time in proper design and construction?

If most of your answers are 'yes', then this may well be a viable choice for raising chickens in your backyard.

Regardless of what type of chicken coop suits your needs or budget best, it's crucial that we all strive towards humane conditions for our feathered friends. Their comfort should always be top priority.

We hope this article has been helpful in shedding light on whether a shipping container chicken coop could fit into your poultry-raising plans! Remember it's not about following trends; it's about finding what works best for both us as humans and them as animals. Happy farming everyone!

Zach T.

Author: Zach T. Updated: December 16, 2023

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BackYard Chickens - Learn How to Raise Chickens

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Converting a large travel trailer to a coop

  • Thread starter janiedoe
  • Start date Sep 6, 2022
  • Tags predator proofing an rv recycled coop travel trailer to coop conversion

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  • Sep 6, 2022




Hedgeland Farms

Would love to follow progress on this!  

  • Thread starter
Hedgeland Farms said: Would love to follow progress on this! Click to expand...


Becks Chicks

My first thought when I read your post was that I could do an amazing reno job on your travel trailer and what a shame to turn it into a chicken coop. I'm sure you'd get a seller if you put it up for sale. You could get enough to buy a shed to convert like 3KillerBs mentioned.  

Percheron chick

Percheron chick

3KillerBs said: I would think that it would be extremely difficult to provide sufficient ventilation while keeping the inside dry given that you have no roof overhangs at all. Additionally, there would be a LOT of labor in the demolition and reconstruction. Given the extremely high prices on even fixer-upper travel trailers right now, are you sure that it wouldn't be more cost-effective to sell the trailer and buy a shed to convert? Click to expand...
Becks Chicks said: My first thought when I read your post was that I could do an amazing reno job on your travel trailer and what a shame to turn it into a chicken coop. I'm sure you'd get a seller if you put it up for sale. You could get enough to buy a shed to convert like 3KillerBs mentioned. Click to expand...



Free ranging.

I am so envious! What a gem for a chicken palace! I have two camper coops for my chickens, which we made out of POS campers that people just wanted hauled away. My biggest challenges and complaints: 1. Not enough ventilation. I have to use fans 24/7/365. Small ones, carefully placed to move air but not make it drafty. In summer I add a box fan. 2. Both of our POS campers had damage, rot and holes that had to be repaired to keep snakes, rodents and predators out. (I'm drooling over your camper - doesn't appear to have those issues!) They have no roof leaks, though - thank goodness. 3. Due to snakes still getting in, my shower/bath-converted-into-brooder didn't work out as I envisioned. Now I'll have to cut it into pieces to get it out the door if I can't solve the snake problem. 4. Haven't had an issue yet, but there's a possibility I'd have to crawl underneath to retrieve a sick or dead hen, or eggs. Best things I LOVE about our camper coops: 1. Operable roof vents! 2. INSULATED! 3. Metal-encased & repaired, predators canNOT get in. Very secure. (except snakes!) 4. Portable! 5. Working electricity! 6. Provides plenty of cover, shade, and a breeze underneath. Hens love to dig holes and dust bathe or lay in those. And in winter, it stays snow-free, ice-free, and DRY. 7. If someone gets left out of the coop at night, they've got the axles to roost on. 8. I have jalousie windows (old campers) and LOVE these! I can adjust for ventilation and they keep rain out even when open. 9. CABINETS to store all the chicken equipment and materials. 10. Room to store barrels of feed and bags of wood chips inside. Things I wish I'd done differently: 1. Epoxy on the floor. I installed new plywood, then used cheap sheet vinyl flooring and it's tearing everywhere due to scraping when I clean the coop. 2. Installed more wall vents up high. 3. Removed that cabinet where I always bang my head on the corner. Ouch! 4. Talked hubby into letting me fix the front awning/rock guard so I could use those windows! (He just doesn't "get" the need for ventilation year-round - and in winter, solar heat gain. It's an ongoing debate with us.) Some other notes to consider: 1. I installed "bumpers" all around the perimeter of the walls inside, with 2x4's screwed into the floor. Makes scraping the edges and corners easier and sealed up points of rodent entry. 2. We put the campers up on blocks and store the tires in the barn to prevent rot, for when we want to move them. 3. You likely have storage areas underneath! I don't, but wish I did! Among other uses, it could be a weather-protected area to place outdoor feeders and waterers, nesting boxes, broody hens with or without chicks, isolation enclosure, more storage.... And at night, just close them up to keep raccoons out! What a bonus I wish I had. Here's a link to our setup: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/camper-converted-into-chicken-coop.1367928/  

Chick hatching addict.

@janiedoe I like the idea that you are thinking about repurposing it, but as you know here in the south it can get extremely hot in the summer, so that would be something to think about as far as converting it into a coop. I'm sure that you wouldn't want roast chicken before it's time. It would have to have ventilation along with a way to keep the rain and such out of it, and it would have to be able to withstand those hurricane wind's that you could get over there. The chicken's can't cook, so the stove could go if you do that. Otherwise I agree with the other's in selling it or trading it for something else better for a coop.  

BarnyardChaos said: I have jalousie windows Click to expand...

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The Backyard Chickens Coop

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travelling chicken coop

Are Chickens Allowed In My City? Chicken Laws of Selected US States

Please note: I’m a chicken owner. Not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

Many people are beginning to see the appeal of backyard chickens. Not only do these animals provide fresh eggs, but they can also make fun pets. However, owning a chicken is very different from owning a dog or a cat. Not only are they a bigger commitment than the average pet, but they aren’t necessarily allowed all over the United States.

While it’s easy to own chickens in rural areas, cities, and residential areas often have restrictions on animal ownership.

Also, these laws and regulations are governed by cities rather than states, although most cities located within a state tend to have similar laws. Today, I’ve compiled a select list of American states and their laws and regulations regarding backyard chickens.

Are Chickens Allowed In My City?

First and foremost, the answer to this question varies widely depending on where you live. Urban, suburban, and rural areas have different rules and regulations when it comes to backyard chickens. Generally, more and more cities are becoming chicken-friendly, recognizing the benefits of allowing residents to keep their flocks for eggs, pest control, and the sheer joy of it. However, it’s crucial to do your homework.

I remember when I first considered getting chickens, I was unsure where to start. The process involved checking with my city’s zoning office or local government website. These resources typically have detailed information on whether chickens are allowed, how many you can keep, and any specific requirements like coop construction, distance from property lines, or permits needed.

In my case, I found that my city allows residents to keep a limited number of hens (no roosters due to noise concerns) with certain stipulations regarding coop size and placement. It was a relief to discover that not only were chickens allowed, but there was also a supportive community of urban chicken keepers ready to offer advice and support.

For anyone embarking on this journey, my advice is to start by checking your local ordinances. Don’t forget to also consider any homeowners association (HOA) rules if they apply to your area. These might have additional restrictions beyond what your city or town mandates.

travelling chicken coop

Backyard Chickens In Vermont

Chickens in Vermont

Select cities in the state of Vermont (including Burlington, Bristol Town, and Hinesburg) allow the keeping of backyard chickens . However, many cities have a limit on the number of chickens allowed per household, and several cities do not allow roosters.

Certain cities, such as South Burlington, also require that owners keep a permit, which costs about $20 per year. You can find the backyard chicken ordinances of South Burlington, Vermont, located here .

Some chicken breeds that are well suited to life in Vermont include Barred Rocks and Araucanas .

You will, of course, need a heat lamp and a pen to keep the chickens cosy and sheltered from rough weather!

Backyard Chickens In Texas

Chickens in Texas

Laws on keeping chickens in Texas vary widely from city to city . Some cities, such as Dallas, outlaw the ownership of roosters, while Fort Worth does not allow chickens to be located within 50 feet of another residential building. Some cities require owners to have permits, while others do not.

While all of these different regulations can be overwhelming, detailed guides do exist for each city. This handy guide located at texas.gov also provides local ordinances on backyard fowl for major Texas cities.

It’s no secret that Texas is a hot state, so a couple of chicken breeds to consider raising there include Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks .

Of course, it’s always important to provide shady shelter and plenty of water during those hot summer days!

Backyard Chickens in Maine

Chickens in Maine

If you want to raise chickens outside of an agricultural zone, you’ll have to comply with a few regulations in Maine. For example, one law that extends throughout the state of Maine requires that you must purchase at least six chickens at once, to ensure a well socialized and healthy flock.

Cities like Rockland, Belfast, and Portland allow people to keep chickens outside of agricultural zones , although many have limits on the number of chickens you can own. If you live in a smaller city, it’s a good idea to stop by your town hall to make sure you’re complying with all regulations.

Maine is known for its harsh, cold winters, so you’ll need hardy chicken breeds that can survive the cold ! Two chicken breeds that can tough out the cold weather of Maine are Buff Orpingtons and Welsummers.

Still, you’ll need to ensure your coop offers protection from any wind, rain, and snow.

Backyard Chickens In Idaho

Chickens in Idaho

Many cities in Idaho allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards. Similar to many other states, however, they often limit the number of chickens to six. Many cities, such as Boise and Idaho Falls, also do not permit residents to keep roosters .

As always, it’s vital for you to check your local city ordinances to ensure you are complying with any regulations.

For example, here is the ordinance regarding backyard chicken keeping in Boise.

Idaho is known for its harsh winters, so you should keep hardy, weather-resistant breeds such as Rhode Island Reds or Australorps .

You also need to keep your chicken coop well-ventilated, particularly in the winter, to ensure the air is dry and warm.

Backyard Chickens In Iowa

Chickens in Iowa

Lots of cities in Iowa allow residents to keep backyard chickens, including Des Moines, Huxley, and Johnston. However, cities like Johnston and West Des Moines require the property to be a certain size in order to keep chickens.

Some cities also require permits , which can cost $600 in some cases. Sadly, Ankeny, Waukee, and Altoona, among other cities, do not allow residents to keep chickens.

This helpful article by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa includes a handy guide on keeping chickens, as well as ordinances for various cities.

Iowa is known for hot summers and cold winters, so you’ll need a breed of chicken that can tolerate all sorts of weather. Welsummers and Rhode Island Reds are both excellent choices for the extreme temperatures of Iowa .

Backyard Chickens In South Carolina

Chickens in South Carolina

South Carolina is filled with cities that allow residents to keep backyard chickens. Columbia and Spartanburg, for example, both allow the keeping of backyard chickens. Here you can find the requirements for keeping chickens in Columbia, South Carolina.

If you live in any other city in South Carolina, do your research on local ordinances before making any move to bring chickens to your backyard!

South Carolina is hot and humid, so you’ll need chickens that can tolerate the heat. A couple of good breeds to consider for this climate include Orpingtons and Barred Plymouth Rocks .

Of course, you’ll need to ensure that your chickens have a cool, shady shelter in those hot summer months.

Backyard Chickens In Arkansas

Chickens in Arkansas

In Arkansas, cities like Little Rock, Benton, and Rogers allow residents to keep chickens in residential areas . Most cities have restrictions on the number of chickens allowed, typically ranging from four to six, and roosters are often prohibited.

There are also regulations on coop conditions to ensure the health and safety of the chickens. This website has the official ordinances regarding chicken keeping in Rogers, Arkansas, but laws will of course vary from city to city.

Arkansas may have mild winters, but this state is known for its hot summers. You’ll need a heat resistant chicken breed if you want to keep chickens in this state!

Two chicken breeds that would do well in Arkansas are Andalsusians and White Leghorns .

Backyard Chickens In New Hampshire

Chickens in New Hampshire

There are lots of cities in New Hampshire that have relatively lax laws about keeping chickens. Farmington, Pittsfield, and Rochester, for example, all allow residents to keep roosters , do not require a permit, and have no maximum number of hens.

Other cities, however, such as Manchester and Dover, are subject to stricter regulations. Here you can find chicken keeping ordinances for the city of Rochester.

New Hampshire is known for its cold winters, so it’s important to keep breeds that can tolerate cooler temperatures. Some good chicken breeds to consider for this climate include Australorps and Plymouth Rocks .

Backyard Chickens In Oregon

Chickens in Oregon

Many cities in Oregon do allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards, but restrictions are a bit tighter than some other states.

While many cities in other states allow residents to keep up to six chickens, a lot of Oregon cities only allow between one and four chickens. This website explains the specific requirements for keeping chickens in the city of Portland.

Oregon is notorious for its harsh, cold winters, so you’ll need a cold-hardy breed to tolerate those freezing temperatures.

Consider purchasing breeds such as New Hampshire Reds or Delawares . Make sure to keep the coop well insulated against the wind and cold, along with good ventilation to keep the air dry.

Backyard Chickens In Oklahoma

Chickens in Oklahoma

Being a very agricultural state, many cities in Oklahoma have rather relaxed laws regarding chicken keeping. Cities like Bethany, Hugo, and Oklahoma city have no limits on the amount of chickens that residents can keep , and many cities also allow people to keep roosters.

Here is a handy reference that illustrates the chicken keeping ordinances for Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma has very hot summers, meaning that it’s important to choose breeds that can tolerate the heat.

Rhode Island Reds and Orpingtons are excellent choices for the Oklahoma climate . It’s also important to ensure you have plenty of cool, shady spots for your chickens to seek relief from the heat.

Backyard Chickens In Wisconsin

Chickens in Wisconsin

Most cities in Wisconsin allow residents to keep chickens, often allowing up to four chickens per property.

Most cities also require you to have a permit in order to keep chickens. Here are the official ordinances for keeping chickens in the city of Milwaukee.

Unfortunately, some cities, like Appleton, Manitowoc, and Marinette prohibit residents from keeping chickens .

Before purchasing chickens to keep in Wisconsin, you should keep in mind the cold winter climate. Barred Rocks and Australorps are two cold-hardy breeds that you might consider . While these chickens do better in the cold than other breeds, they’re not invincible!

Make sure their coop is well insulated against harsh cold and wind.

Backyard Chickens In Colorado

Chickens in Colorado

Many cities in Colorado have relaxed laws regarding the keeping of chickens. For example, Denver, Louisville, and Loveland have no limit to the number of birds you can keep .

However, some cities, including, Dacono, Glenwood, and Rifle, do not allow residents to keep chickens. Here are the official ordinances regarding chicken keeping for Denver, Colorado.

Colorado has hot summers and cold winters, so you should consider purchasing a breed of chicken that can withstand extreme temperatures.

You might want to bring home a Brahma or a Rhode Island Red , as these two breeds are both well-suited to hot and cold temperatures.

Backyard Chickens In Washington

Chickens in Washington

Most cities and counties in Washington allow residents to keep chickens , although many cities, such as Renton, Lake Forest Park, and Snohomish have a number of restrictions based on how much land you own.

Seattle allows up to eight birds without a permit, but you can obtain more with special permission. Here are the specific regulations for keeping chickens in the city of Seattle.

Washington has a pleasantly mild climate year-round, so you don’t have to consider extreme temperatures too much when choosing a chicken breed.

If you’ve never owned chickens before, though, you’ll want to choose a breed that is docile and easy to care for, such as the Plymouth Rock or Rhode Island Red .

Backyard Chickens In Missouri

Chickens in Missouri

Most cities in Missouri not only allow residents to keep chickens but don’t even have a maximum number of chickens you can own. Those that do have limits often have much higher upper limits, such as the city of Nevada, which allows up to 25 birds.

While the regulations vary from city to city, the code of ordinance regarding chicken keeping in the city of Branson can be found here .

Missouri’s summers are long and incredibly hot. This means that any breed you bring home should be able to withstand a good amount of heat.

Andalusians and White Leghorns are two chicken breeds that are well protected against hot weather .

Backyard Chickens In Minnesota

Chickens in Minnesota

Most cities in Minnesota allow residents to keep chickens but have a number of restrictions that vary from city to city. These limits often range between three and six birds, or depend on the amount of property you own .

Interestingly, some cities also require the consent of neighbours in order to keep chickens. Here is a more detailed guide illustrating how to keep chickens in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

While Minnesota may have pleasantly mild summers, its winters are long and cold. Consider purchasing chicken breeds like Orpingtons or Australorps , which are known to withstand cold temperatures.

For good measure, however, you should keep your coop well-ventilated, and make sure it’s protected against wind and snow.

Backyard Chickens In Michigan

Chickens in Michigan

Unfortunately, many cities in Michigan, such as Birmingham, Detroit, and Madison Heights prohibit residents from keeping chickens . However, other cities such as Flint, Fremont, and Redford do allow chickens. Here is a helpful guide for keeping chickens in the city of Flint, Michigan.

Michigan has a relatively moderate climate, with warm summers and cool winters that aren’t too extreme.

Because of this, you don’t need to worry too much about choosing a chicken breed that can withstand extreme temperatures. However, some good chicken breeds for beginners include the Rhode Island Red and the Plymouth Rock .

Backyard Chickens In Ohio

Chickens in Ohio

It is legal to keep chickens in many Ohio cities such as Delaware, Hudson, and Montgomery, although Carlisle, Franklin County, and Lakewood have all prohibited the keeping of chickens.

Fortunately, most Ohio cities do not have a limit on the number of chickens you can keep. Here is a simple guide to the ordinance of chicken keeping in New Castle Delaware.

Ohio has hot summers and cold winters. While the temperatures are not typically extreme, you should still choose chicken breeds that can withstand a fair amount of heat and cold.

Consider bringing home a chicken breed like Rhode Island Reds or Orpingtons .

Backyard Chickens In Florida

Chickens in Florida

Some Florida counties and cities allow residents to keep chickens , such as Orange County, Orlando, and Jacksonville. However, many cities like Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale do not.

If you’re interested in learning more, here is a guide to the code of ordinances for Jacksonville, Florida.

Florida is one of the hottest, most humid states in America. If you want to keep chickens in Florida, you’re going to need breeds that are resistant to extreme heat.

Welsummers and Orpingtons are both good chicken breeds for the relentless heat of Florida .

Backyard Chickens In Austin

The city of Austin has very specific regulations for keeping backyard chickens. However, it is far laxer than many other cities. In fact, some chicken owners consider it a dream come true! Firstly, Austin does not have a limit on the number of chickens you can keep. Second, unlike many cities, Austin also allows residents to own roosters.

Finally, you do not need a permit to raise chickens in your backyard. If you want to learn more, here is the full municipal code regarding the keeping of chickens.

Texas is, as we all know, notorious for its hot climate, and the city of Austin is no exception. This means you should select a chicken breed that can withstand long, hot summers. Some good chicken breeds to keep in Austin include Welsummers and White Leghorns.

Backyard Chickens In Mississippi

Chickens in Mississippi

In Mississippi, the cities of Columbus, Flowood, Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Rankin County all allow chickens and don’t even have a maximum limit for hens allowed. Many of these cities also do not require residents to have a permit .

Here are the official ordinances for keeping chickens in Jackson, Mississippi. As always, make sure to look up the local regulations for your city or town if you are unsure!

Mississippi has long, hot summers with lots of rainfall. It’s important to purchase chicken breeds that can withstand extreme heat, such as Rhode Island Reds or Barred Plymouth Rocks .

Of course, you should also ensure your chicken coop is well protected from the elements, so your chickens have somewhere to shelter during rainy weather.

Feeding you backyard chickens are great fun and a powerful tool for learning

So, Are Chickens Allowed In My Area?

In conclusion, determining whether chickens are allowed in your area requires a bit of research and understanding of local laws and regulations. Each city, town, or municipality has its own set of rules that govern the keeping of backyard chickens. As an experienced chicken owner, I’ve learned that taking the time to familiarize yourself with these regulations is not just about ensuring compliance; it’s also a step toward becoming a responsible and considerate member of the chicken-keeping community.

Through my journey, I’ve found immense joy and satisfaction in raising chickens. They’ve provided not just fresh eggs but also companionship, a closer connection to my food source, and a deeper appreciation for the simple pleasures of backyard farming. However, the foundation of this rewarding experience was built on understanding and adhering to my local chicken-keeping laws.

If you’re considering adding chickens to your family, I encourage you to start by exploring your local ordinances, reaching out to your city or town’s zoning office, and connecting with local chicken enthusiasts for advice and support. With the right preparation and knowledge, you can embark on a chicken-keeping adventure that’s both enjoyable and in harmony with your community.

Remember, the laws are there not just to regulate but to ensure that everyone, including our feathered friends, neighbors, and fellow community members, benefits from the practice of backyard chicken keeping. So, go ahead, do your homework, and hopefully, you’ll soon join the ranks of happy chicken keepers. It’s a decision that, with the right approach, can lead to a fulfilling and enriching experience for everyone involved.

travelling chicken coop

Soren, a lifelong chicken enthusiast, shares his passion and expertise through BackyardChickenScoop.com. Raising chickens since childhood, he now teaches his two sons about care, life, and food origins.

Read more about us here…

2018 Primetime Emmy & James Beard Award Winner

Reviving classic Russian cuisine

Oct 19 2018.

travelling chicken coop

Roads & Kingdoms talks to Russian chef Vladimir Mukhin of Moscow’s super-restaurant, White Rabbit.

Still in his mid-30’s, Vladimir Mukhin is already one of Russia’s best known chefs and the leading culinary light of the White Rabbit Group, which has 16 restaurants around the country. The most well-known of these, Moscow’s  White Rabbit , was named one of the 50 best restaurants in the world last year. Roads & Kingdoms’ Nathan Thornburgh talked to Mukhin in Moscow about being a fifth-generation chef, reviving classic Russian cuisine, and finding good product in the age of embargoes.

Nathan Thornburgh: Tell me about White Rabbit, what is the food? What are you trying to accomplish there?

Vladimir Mukhin: The White Rabbit is a big restaurant. We’re trying to revive Russian cuisine. I’m a fifth-generation chef, so I’m passionate about the food we create. During the Soviet Union period, we killed Russian food. Classic Russian recipes became too simplified. For example, usually you drink tea, but if you want to be, just to be creative, want to make the tea with milk, you can’t. It would be like stealing milk from the government. People went to jail.

When I was growing up, I remember my grandfather coming to the kitchen and crying because he couldn’t experiment with his food.

Thornburgh: Wow. I remember this famous photo session with Che Guevara which came up with some of his best pictures, maybe two incredible iconic portraits came from an entire roll of film, and the photographer went to him and showed him this roll of film and Che said, What the hell are you doing? You wasted all of these images. You took 30 pictures to get one? That’s the government’s film. It’s a similar mentality.   So you’re telling the story of a kind of cuisine that was lost on the Soviet history and now you’re playing with this idea of finding it again. What does your process look like? Do you get as many grandmothers as you can round up and just kind of shake recipes out of them? How were you doing this?

Mukhin: I just try to work with as many local farmers and producers as I can, so we can use as many Russian ingredients as we can.

Thornburgh: So this is a close relationship.

Mukhin: Yes. I traveled throughout Russia—not just the big cities, but also the villages to talk with older people.

Thornburgh: You know I think people don’t understand the vastness of Russia, and how big it’s collection of cultures and languages and cuisines is. What parts of the country influences your food?

Mukhin: I’m inspired by the whole country. It’s a big territory, and sometimes it feels like it’s too big. I try and use different techniques and ingredients from all over the country, which I think makes my menus distinct.

We have an a la carte menu with about 50 dishes of classical Russian food. Everything looks modern because I’m a young chef. But if you close your eyes and try these dishes, you’ll taste 100% classic Russian flavors.

I want to highlight all aspects of Russian cuisine. Before the Olympic Games in Sochi, we opened a restaurant there, not just to make money, but to expose people visiting for the Olympics to Russian food. That’s why we opened The Red Fox restaurant. It’s all about Russian ingredients.

Thornburgh: Sochi, at least when I’ve been there, is like a Miami Beach. It’s like a place to get pizza and sushi, and go to the nightclubs.

Mukhin: You been?

Thornburgh: Yeah.

Mukhin: It’s crazy.

Thornburgh: It’s a little crazy, but it’s interesting to bring in Red Fox and sort of say okay, because people are coming out, let’s bring Russia to Sochi.

Mukhin: It was incredible. We had thousands of visitors at the restaurant.  

Thornburgh: So you really looked internally for inspiration. Did working outside of Russia motivate you to focus on Russian cuisine?

Mukhin: Yes. I spent time working in Avignon, France. I worked with Christian Etienne, and he would make a special Russian meal once a year.  It was crazy.

travelling chicken coop

Thornburgh: How was the food?

Mukhin: It was shit. I told him that I would cook real Russian food for him, and I did. I cooked borscht, blinis, and other classics. He liked it and said that once a year we should use my recipes, but with his influence. I agreed, and we went on to make amazing food. Eventually, I wanted to come back to my motherland. So I left and I started working on making White Rabbit a reality.

Thornburgh: When people go to White Rabbit, what are they going to find?

Mukhin: Someone once told me that there is a new Russian cuisine and an old Russian cuisine. I think Russian cuisine is going through an evolution. So I hope people will come and see evolution at White Rabbit.

Thornburgh: Great. Always good to end on an invite. Thank you.

Mukhin: Thank you so much.

R&K Insider

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21 Things to Know Before You Go to Moscow

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