Chicken coops come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Some are structural works of art with windows and flower boxes and fancy, homey or funny touches added to personalize them. They can be purchased pre-built, as kits, or made from scratch. They can be re-claimed or recycled dog houses, kids playhouses, sheds, or any other suitable box like structure that will keep your chickens secure (safe from predators) and protected from the weather.
Although there are as many chicken housing possibilities out there as there are chickens, each one needs to include some basic features.
The Hen House:
Chickens need a covered and enclosed area to call their home with a roof and walls.
The Chicken Run:
This is a secure place for chickens to be when not in the hen house and it usually 'fenced' with chicken wire.
The Perch or Roost:
This is a bar or piece of plywood that is installed 2 feet or so off the ground where chickens like to hang out and sit (roost). Being off the ground helps them feel safer and keeps them dry.
The Nest Box:
This space is where the chickens will lay their eggs. A chicken coop will often have several nest box spaces tucked away for privacy in laying. The boxes themselves are generally about the size of a shoe box or a bit bigger. Large enough for the chicken to be inside and not feel crowded.
The Chicken Feeder:
A container that holds food for the chickens. This can be free standing or hanging in the hen house or in a covered area of the chicken run.
The Chicken Waterer:
A container that holds water for the chickens. This can also be free standing or hanging in the hen house or out in the chicken run.
Here's a list of some additional considerations before you build a coop.
If you're planning on building your chicken coop from scratch, here are some free plans for building one yourself .
Here's a photo journey of the DIY coop I built for my girls. And here's some more chicken coop photos to give you inspiration.
Do you already have a chicken coop? Tell us about it! And show it off here!
Here's more information about chickens you might find helpful:
Learn how much SPACE a chicken needs
Pick out the breed of chickens best for your needs
Learn more about keeping chickens in the city
What about chicken problems?
How to keep your chickens happy
How to make a homemade chicken waterer
What to feed your chickens