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Where Should You Position a Chicken Coop?

When you get new chickens it’s easy to just put the coop in any free space in your backyard or garden, but as the seasons change or you need to clean the coop this can lead to regrets about where you placed it.

Chicken coops come in many shapes and sizes, from coops you can buy to re-purposed sheds or DIY designs, whatever the type, good positioning is important.

Putting your coop in the right position is even more important if it’s heavy and can’t easily be moved and even if you have a movable coop there are some things you might need to consider.

It’s important to not only consider the chicken’s comfort, but it’s also important to consider yourself too because trying to clean out a coop which you can’t properly get into isn’t much fun.

Position a chicken coop on high, well-drained ground to prevent flooding, with east-facing windows for morning light and warmth. Ensure it’s away from dense woods to deter predators but close enough to your house for convenience and further protection. Provide shade for hot days and a windbreak to shield from cold winds. Regular access to grassy areas encourages natural foraging behavior in chickens.

Read on to find out more about where to position a chicken coop, including weather conditions which could impact the chicken’s comfort, positioning near your home and neighbours boundaries and the flooring beneath the coop and run.

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Should a Chicken Coop be in the Sun or Shade?

Many people assume that you need to keep your chickens as warm as possible while they sleep in the coop at night, while this is a consideration, placing a coop in direct sunlight in the height of summer is not good for a chickens health.

Chickens can regulate their own body temperature and are hardier than you might think, which means they have the ability to keep themselves warm on a cold night, but can struggle cooling down if they become too hot.

Placing a chicken coop in a position where it’s exposed to direct sunlight can lead to the coop becoming too hot inside.

If the coop has windows, then hot direct sunlight can become even more of an issue because it essentially turns the coop into a greenhouse.

So placing the coop in a position which has some shade and is not exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day is an important positioning consideration.

If you have a run around the coop where the chickens will be spending time, they will also need some shade where they can go to get out of the sunlight on a hot day. They generally won’t go back inside the coop during the day apart from going into lay or during heavy rain.

It’s important to make sure the chicken coop has ventilation holes which are open throughout the year, to allow air to circulate and to prevent potential health issues.

Another good way to keep the coop temperature regulated throughout the year (cool in summer and warm in winter) is by choosing a plastic coop such as the one below:

Our recommended coop

Chicken coop for different flock sizes and different weather.

Click here to find out more about our recommended coop.

Consider other Weather Conditions

Apart from sunlight, there are other adverse weather conditions to consider when you’re positioning your chicken coop, these include:

  • Strong winds – most gardens or backyards are windier in some parts than others, chickens like to shelter in strong and especially cold winds.
  • Heavy rain – if an area of your land is prone to becoming water-logged consider positioning in a drier patch to prevent the run from becoming water-logged.
  • Snow – if you live in an area which is prone to snow in winter, consider drifting and potential shelter because chickens don’t like snow-covered ground.
  • Cold weather – in some areas the winter can be long, if this is the case for you, consider a more sheltered area to position your coop.

For more information on keeping chickens in cold weather, you might find the following articles helpful:

Keeping chickens warm in winter and cold weather

Do chickens like snow? – The full facts

Ex battery hen in the snow

How Far Should a Chicken Coop be From the House?

You can position a chicken coop fairly close to a house and in fact, this does have some benefits such as more protection against predators and easy egg collection.

But, there are some negative sides to this which you might want to consider, especially during the summer months:

  • Chicken coops can attract flies which are difficult to avoid.
  • Chicken muck gets smelly in summer.
  • Chicken coops can attract pests such as rats and mice.

While these issues can all be reduced or dealt with by regular cleaning etc, it’s inevitable that they will happen if you keep chickens and if the coop is too close to your house you might regret your decision.

Ideally, I would recommend positioning your coop at least 3-5 meters away from your house if you can.

Consider neighbours boundaries

Chickens and especially roosters make noise and while many people enjoy the sounds, there are many who don’t.

If you think your neighbours are likely to be unhappy about you keeping chickens then move the coop as far away from their boundary as possible to avoid any potential issues down the line.

Even hens can be noisy at times, especially if they’ve just laid an egg, they’re naturally vocal animals and unfortunately, not everyone is tolerant of noises, whatever they are.

Choosing the Right Foundation for a Chicken Coop

Having a good foundation for a chicken coop is important to protect the legs and underside of the coop from the elements and to prevent predators from digging through underneath – this might sound dramatic, but it can actually happen.

This article was first published on January 26, 2021 by Pentagon-Pets.

It also helps to keep the coop stable and prevent it from rocking if it’s placed on a flat surface.

The best way to do this is by laying down some large concrete or patio slabs to fit the base area of the coop.

They don’t have to be anything fancy, because you won’t see them and there’s usually plenty of people getting rid of old slabs on Marketplace etc, so you might be able to pick some up for free.

Flooring in the Chicken Run

The type of ground surrounding the coop where the run will be is also an important thing to think about.

Chickens can quickly destroy a patch of land through scratching with their feet, eating grass shoots along with the high nitrogen content in their muck which can scorch or burn anything green.

What can start off as a nice grassy area can quickly become a muddy patch in a matter of weeks and especially in the winter months.

It’s a good idea to add a loose base to the run such as chicken friendly wood chippings to stop their feet from becoming wet and muddy and avoid potential foot problems.

It’s also important to make sure the run area is clear of debris and anything sharp which could lead to injury or the chicken becoming trapped or tangled up.

You might find the following article helpful to find out more about run bases:

Do chickens need grass in their run?

Image of chicken run

Using a Moveable Chicken Coop

If you have or are considering getting a moveable chicken coop, these are a really good way to preserve the ground in the run area and can give you options to move the coop during adverse weather etc.

It’s possible to keep chickens on grass if you can move the coop onto a new patch once the grass starts to look like it’s suffering (around every two weeks or so).

Moveable coops are available in both wood and plastic and are perfect for smaller flocks.

You can see our recommended moveable chicken coops here.

Other Potential Issues to Consider

Everyones outside space and coop set up is different so these potential issues might not be relevant to everyone, but are worth checking or considering:

Easy Access to the Chicken Coop

Having mobility problems myself, this point was important for me, because as a chicken keeper you need to be able to easily access the coop for cleaning, opening and closing the pop hole and egg collection.

If you can’t access the coop easily to do all of these things it can become a struggle, especially in the winter months when conditions might be slippy.

Allow for plenty of space around the coop and make sure you can easily get into the run to let the chickens in and out morning and night.

If you struggle bending getting a raised chicken coop or raising up your existing coop might be a good option for you.

Securing Lighter Coops in High Winds

If your coop is very light, such as a small plastic coop or something raised which can easily be caught by a high wind make sure its sheltered or even weighed down to prevent it blowing over in the wind.

Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on January 26, 2021.

If there’s a risk the coop could blow over this could lead to chickens being injured and distressed.

Most coops are too heavy to move in the wind, but it’s worth being aware of especially if where you live is prone to storms and high winds.

Potential predator threat

Many people think that a chickens only predator threat are foxes, whilst they still remain the main threat, there are some smaller more unlikely predators out there who have the potential to kill a chicken.

Here some predators who might take an interest in your chickens, especially if you keep or plan on keeping smaller breeds:

  • Stoats/weasels
  • Polecats
  • A hungry rat (uncommon but there are reports of it happening)
  • Cats
  • Mink

If you get visits from any of these predators you might want to consider placing your coop in a place which is not too isolated and make sure predators can’t get inside the coop through even the smallest hole.

You Might Also Like

I hope this post has helped you to find out more about the best ways to position a chicken coop you might also like the following articles:

Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door – the Review

Do chickens need grass in their run?

Why do chickens chase you?

Why do Chickens Peck Your Feet?

This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on January 26, 2021.

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