Keep Your Flock Safe: Best Small Coops for Backyard Chickens
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on December 22, 2022
If you’re interested in raising chickens, it can be challenging to decide which type of coop to buy for your small flock. There are tons of different types out there, and if you’re new to caring for these birds, you may be overwhelmed by the options! Finding the best fit can be tricky, especially since you want to make sure it will keep your chickens safe, but the good news is that we can help. Below are some things to keep in mind when you are shopping for a backyard coop.
What Are Important Factors To Consider When Choosing A Chicken Coop?
There are numerous factors that can affect which backyard chicken coop is the right choice for your flock. However, there are a few that stand out as the most important. These include:
The Needs of Your Flock
To properly accommodate all of your chickens, you’ll need to choose a backyard chicken coop that is big enough for your entire flock. If you have an existing flock and are merely upgrading your coop, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty determining your sizing needs. Generally, for average-sized chickens kept in a moderate climate, you’ll need to offer each one 2-4 feet of space. So if you haven’t purchased your chickens yet, you’ll want to do some planning and research before committing to anything.
For instance, you’ll need to know how many chickens you intend to buy, but you’ll also want to consider the type you are going to keep too. This is because chickens might be bigger or smaller depending on their breed.
Either way, you’ll also want to consider what your future goals are too. Are you going to keep your flock limited? Or are you starting with a small number of birds and hoping to expand how many chickens you keep eventually? This will affect what type of backyard coop you should invest in.
Finally, you should think about your region’s average temperatures. The colder it gets, the more your birds will stay in their coop, and the more space each chicken will then need. So if you live in a generally chilly area, you may need to plan to give them more than 4 feet each, as well.
The Ventilation of A Backyard Chicken Coop
Just like people, chickens need to be kept in a well-ventilated space to thrive and survive. This is especially true because chickens are often susceptible to ailments that result from poor airflows, such as diseases that affect their respiratory systems.
This means, when you are deciding which chicken coop is right for you, you should only consider those that have numerous doors and windows. Your chickens won’t stay healthy or comfortable without sufficient ventilation in their home.
The Safety and Security of A Coop
Chickens are fairly vulnerable to predators. They make easy prey and their eggs are also very popular with thieving animals looking to snatch a snack. This means that your backyard chicken coop should be able to safeguard and protect your chickens from those that might make them into a meal.
A latching lid is a good feature to look for since this can stave off airborne predators. You’ll also want to think about vents, windows, and doors on the chicken coop. There needs to be airflow for the well-being of your birds, but you also need to make sure that these openings don’t let in other animals that might eat them. Finally, consider how resilient a coop is. This is going to impact the safety of your chickens since worn-out and weather-beaten materials are less likely to stand up to a determined predator.
The Base and Floor of A Backyard Coop
In many ways, the floor of a chicken coop is going to tie directly into its safety features. For instance, if you opt for an elevated model, it can help make your flock less vulnerable to animals that can dig and burrow beneath them. If you choose not to get an elevated backyard chicken coop, you’ll want it to have a floor that is durable enough to repel persistent predators.
However, there are other benefits to researching the floor of a chicken coop. For instance, you want to select a material that you can easily keep clean and won’t be too expensive to repair or replace if it gets damaged. Plywood is a great option for both of these concerns.
Which Types of Backyard Chicken Coops Are Good Options?
Once you have a fair idea of what factors you should consider when researching chicken coops, you can start looking at specific kinds of chicken coops.
There are several types of coops that can be good options for your backyard flock. For instance:
Chicken Tractors (Also Known As Arks)
These are wonderful portable options for your flock of chickens. There are numerous types of chicken tractors, but the defining features are that they are a complete coop (so they contain all of the essentials to care for your birds), but they also have wheels.
The main benefit of this type of coop is that it will help you ensure that, at the place where you keep your chickens, your grass does not get permanently damaged. This is because you can easily move your chickens around to a new spot, and let the previous area recover. However, chicken tractors do come with some drawbacks. Namely, this is that they tend to be both less safe and less sturdy than other variations of backyard coops. Since you want to ensure a coop has these features, so that you can best protect your chickens, an ark or tractor-style coop may not be the best fit for many backyards.
Free Range Chicken Coops
If you want your chickens to really flourish, letting them roam freely during the day can do wonders. When chickens are kept in small spaces, they often become more destructive out of sheer boredom. Letting them wander and explore your backyard can keep them happier and more content. Free-range chickens often will be more active as they move around, forage for insects, and find sunlight to bathe in. With all of this exercise, your chickens may be healthier as well.
You’ll still be able to keep your chickens safe because they’ll return to a nice coop at night which will keep them secure and less vulnerable to predators. Plus, they’ll have somewhere to retreat to when the weather is cool. If you’re interested in raising your chickens with a free-range approach, you’re in luck, because we have you covered. There are many options available to offer you a custom free-range coop that satisfies your precise needs.
Enclosed Chicken Coops
If free-range isn’t your style, you may be interested in an enclosed chicken coop. There are benefits to both methods, but this will keep your chickens inside of the coop so that they can’t escape and predators can’t get in. This is a great option for those that are looking to really make sure that their chickens stay safe and secure. It’s also wonderful if the primary reason you are keeping a flock is to harvest eggs, as chickens kept in enclosures tend to have a higher output than those that are raised in a free-range environment.
Combination Chicken Coops
If you’re not sure if free-range or enclosed is right for you, why not invest in a combination chicken coop? This is going to give you the best of both worlds. Combination coops offer a safe and sturdy enclosure as well as a fenced-in run that allows your birds the opportunity to enjoy the sunlight and outdoors. This will keep them both healthy and happy!
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a backyard chicken coop that meets your flock’s needs. You want to keep your chickens safe and ensure that they enjoy themselves as well. It’s a difficult balance to find since chickens are often preyed upon by bigger animals. Fortunately, there are numerous chicken coops available that can help you care for your birds in the best way possible.