For animal and egg-lovers, the appeal of keeping your own backyard hens is obvious – fresh eggs on tap, from happy hens that haven’t been raised in cramped cages, or subjected to horrific conditions on factory farms.
But that doesn’t mean your hens are automatically safe from harm; there’s still the threat of foxes, dogs or other predators to worry about. In order to protect your feathery friends, you need a secure chicken coop – one that can keep out uninvited visitors, as well as provide shade and rain cover.
When choosing a chicken coop, you’ll need to consider a variety of factors, including the breed, size and number of your hens. As a general rule, medium-sized laying hens need a minimum of 1.5 sq. ft. of space each inside a coop – preferably more. You’ll also need to provide them with a decent-sized outside run, so they can exercise.
To help you choose the best home for your hens, we’ve selected 5 of the best chicken coops on the market, based on their size, construction, durability and how easy they are to move and clean.
Last update on 2021-04-17 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Choose one of these luxury hen houses, and yours will be some seriously c-lucky chicks!
Our favourite chicken coop is cosy, compact and stylish
Topping our list of the best chicken coops is this Cocoon Hatched Chicken Coop with Night Shutter. This stylish design consists of a hen house and run in one, which measures a total of 220 x 75 x 113cm, so it’s perfect for those short on space.
There’s a night shutter and a sliding door to separate the house from the run, offering a safe and warm environment, with protection from predators. The coop feels sturdy and well-made, so you shouldn’t need to worry about any uninvited guests.
A removable next box and perches in the coop make it cosy and comfortable for hens to roost. Along with the removable rubber floor, this also makes it easier for you to keep the coop clean.
This one is relatively small – it’s only big enough for 2–3 hens, depending on their size, and the run is also small, so you’ll need to let your chickens out to roam as well. However, if you’ve only got a couple of hens needing a home, the design and quality of this chicken coop is hard to beat.
- Chicken coop and run in one.
- Sturdy construction and attractive design.
- Night shutter and sliding door between the house and run.
- Removable next box and perches.
- Removable rubber floor makes it easy to clean.
- Will only accommodate 2-3 chickens.
- Run is small – chickens will need to be let out as well.
- Not the most affordable option.
Our best value chicken coop has lots of practical details
For a more affordable option, check out this Poultry Ark by FeelGoodUK. This is another one that incorporates both a run and henhouse and is suitable for a maximum of 2-3 small hens. In the covered house area, you’ll find a nesting box and a roosting perch, to keep chickens comfortable.
The entire coop measures 175 x 66 x 100cm, so it’s smaller than the previous option – but the floor area of the run is larger. It is also possible to purchase an extension run (sold separately), which makes the run much more suitable for multiple hens.
The structure is built from twin-insulated plastic wall panels and wood, which is highly durable. This does, however, make it comparatively lightweight, which could make it more vulnerable to fox intrusion – you may need to fix it to the ground and add bolts to make it secure.
Overall, this is a decent hen house for the money, and if you can stretch to invest in the additional extension run, it could represent a good comprehensive solution, providing a couple of hens with a very happy home.
- Durable plastic and wood frame.
- Includes large built-in run, and possible to purchase an extension.
- Nesting box and roosting perch.
- Metal lined pull out tray for easy cleaning.
- Small without the additional run – only suitable for 2-3 birds.
- It’s comparatively lightweight, which might make it more vulnerable to predators.
This chicken coop doesn’t have a run, but is a great house for up to 4 hens
Cost: Price not available
If you’re looking for something which can accommodate more than two hens, FeelGoodUK’s Large Chicken Coop might be more suitable. It’s made from fir wood, held together with glue and screws – no nails or staples here.
Despite the name, this is actually our smallest chicken coop yet, at 85 x 115 x 90cm. However, as it is only a coop, with no run included, there is room for more hens. According to the RSPCA guidelines, you should be able to house up to 8 birds in here – although we think 4 medium-sized birds would be more comfortable.
Inside the house are 3 roosting perches and a nesting box with 2 nesting areas. There is also an optional second nesting box. The front and back hinged doors into the house are lockable, offering protection from predators.
When it comes to cleaning the coop, a removable galvanised steel tray will make your job easier. The drawback of this option is that you will need to purchase a run separately, to keep your hens happy and healthy. However, there is one available to match the coop.
If you’ve got more than 1 or 2 birds, and you’re happy to invest in a large run for them alongside this coop, we highly recommend this option.
- Made from fir wood.
- Can house up to 8 birds, according to RSPCA guidelines (size dependant).
- Includes 3 roosting perches, and a nesting box with 2 nesting areas.
- Lockable hinged door for safety.
- Removable galvanised steel tray for easy cleaning.
- Coop only, no run included (available to purchase separately).
- Wood is quite thin.
This hen house has one of the largest nesting areas and can accommodate up to 6 hens
At 154 x 66 x 110cm, this Cocoon Hen House offers an even larger roosting and nesting area for your chickens. This one is advertised as being suitable for 4 standard-sized hens, or 6 bantam-sized breeds.
There are 2 double nesting boxes offering a total of 4 nesting areas for your birds. Fox-proof locks on the front and rear doors will help to keep your feathered friends safe overnight.
The coop is made from 12mm timber, with a metal-lined pull-out tray to make it easier to clean. As with the previous model, there is no run incorporated in this design, so you will need to purchase one separately for your chickens to get their exercise.
You will also need to treat the wood before using the coop, as it arrives untreated, and is therefore not waterproof. As long as you’re prepared to do this, you’ll be rewarded with a high-quality, safe and cosy home for your hens.
- Total of 4 nesting areas.
- Can accommodate up to 6 hens.
- Pull-out metal-lined tray for easy cleaning.
- Fox-proof locks on the front and rear.
- Wood is untreated, and not waterproof – requires treating before use.
- Poor assembly instructions.
This hen house is a small chicken coop and sizeable run in one
Cost: Price not available
Our final chicken coop is this Pets Imperial Coop & Run, which is another model that features both a house and run. It is recommended for 4-6 birds, depending on their size.
The total dimensions, including the nest box, measure 250 x 76 x 103cm, with the run covering almost the total floor area. This means it offers the most outdoor exercising space for your chickens of all the coops we’ve featured. Inside the coop are 2 removable perches, as well as the nesting box.
The coop is particularly easy to clean, thanks not only to the pull-out galvanised metal tray, but also to the fact that the roof of the coop opens, offering exceptionally easy access.
The run has galvanised steel mesh, to make it safer for your hens – in fact, it’s advertised as being completely fox-proof. However, we’d be wary of taking this at face value, as a couple of online users have reported break-ins.
This is our most expensive chicken coop – but considering it includes a large run, so you won’t need to purchase one separately, it still represents great value.
- Made from animal-friendly treated timber.
- Suitable for 4-6 hens, with the large run area.
- Includes nesting box and 2 removable perches.
- Pull-out galvanised metal tray enables easy cleaning.
- The opening roof gives easy access to all parts of the coop.
- Our priciest chicken coop.
- Not completely ‘fox-proof’, despite the seller’s claims.
Do Chickens Need A Light In Their Coop?
Chickens need light to be healthy and produce eggs, so you should make sure their coop has at least one window, to allow daylight in. You can expect egg production to drop in winter, as the days are shorter.
If you want to stimulate egg laying during this time, you have the option of adding an artificial light source inside the coop, to extend the days. Approximately 14 hours of light each day is needed for hens to lay. A light can also be helpful when it comes to cleaning the coop, feeding, and collecting eggs on dark mornings.
However, you should be wary of artificially lighting your chicken coop, as it is considered by some to be bad for your hens’ health. There is an argument that ‘tricking’ them into producing eggs and disrupting their natural cycle can cause them stress, as well as bring on serious illnesses such as ovarian cancer and egg binding. There is also a slight risk of the light shattering or catching fire.
Overall, it’s probably safest not to hang a permanent light in your chicken coop, unless absolutely necessary. If you do, make sure the light is on a timer, so it’s not on 24/7, and keep a close eye on your chickens for signs of distress. You might also consider using a red light, rather than white, as this has been shown to have a calming effect (although will not stimulate laying).
How Often Do You Need To Clean The Coop?
You will need to clean your chicken coop regularly, to keep it sanitary and stop it from smelling. Aim to do this around once a week (more if you have a lot of chickens), and remove all droppings and soiled bedding, replacing it with fresh. It is also a good idea to deep clean your coop every few weeks, which means taking everything out, and hosing or scrubbing it down.
Bear this in mind when choosing your chicken coop, and select a model that’s accessible, with easy-to-open doors, so you don’t have to climb inside every time to clean it. Some designs have removable droppings trays, to make your life easier.
The exception to this might be if you are using the deep litter method to create compost from your chickens’ droppings, or if you have a bottomless chicken run that you regularly move around your garden, as part of a fertilisation/permaculture plan.
How To Keep Your Chicken Coop Dry
To keep your chicken coop dry, position it in an area on high ground, with good drainage, to keep rainwater out. A raised chicken coop will further help to keep damp from the ground out, as well as encourage ventilation. Treat your chicken coop with a wood stain to help to protect it from weathering, and stop the wood from rotting.
You can also add sand or gravel to the base of your coop (in dry weather), to discourage mud from forming when it rains. Hay and straw will retain moisture and break down quickly when wet, so add plenty of coarse material such as bark and woodchips, to keep your chickens off the ground. Replace any wet bedding regularly.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.