Designing a Chicken Coop

I never thought I would be designing a Chicken Coop, but when my daughter’s daycare decided they were going to get chickens, I couldn’t resist the challenge. Now I don’t know the first thing about chickens, but after some inspiration photos, research, and creative thinking, I came up with a pretty cool design (if I do say so myself). Below is the draft of my design and some things to keep in mind if you plan on housing chickens some day.

 Why have chickens?

Although not allowed in some residential areas, chickens are becoming more and more popular to have, even in city locations. On average, one chicken can produce between 3-7 eggs per week, and they require very little (food, water, and shelter). According to CityGirlFarming.com, chickens also provide a natural fertilizer for your garden and they eat the bugs that tend to eat your garden. Chickens also stay small, have fun personalities, and are typically very gentle, making them the perfect family addition if you have kids. (Check out this article for more reasons to have chickens.)

Chickens have Needs

Each chicken needs 3-4 sq ft of living space inside the coop and 3-4 sq ft outside the coop. Inside the coop, chickens need individual private areas to nest and a raised place to roost. The chicken run is important because it allows the chickens to get fresh air and daylight, which both help with egg production. In the chicken run it is also important to provide a shaded area so the chickens can escape the sun on a warm day. Chickens also have lots of natural predators that would love to have a free meal (many of which can dig), so make sure your coop has a solid floor or a deep foundation to prevent digging under.

Humans also have Needs

Beyond the chickens’ needs, you have to think of your own needs as well. In caring for chickens, you need a chicken coop that is easy to clean and easy to collect eggs from. Depending on where your coop is located, you probably don’t want your coop to be an eyesore, so take some time to pick out a style that you won’t mind looking at. Lastly, money doesn’t come free for us humans, so make sure to keep a realistic budget.

My Design

The coop I am designing is intended to house up to 4 chickens, although it will only house 3 chickens for now (Mary, Nate, Ed …….get it?). Since the coop is being designed for a daycare, I wanted to make it fun and safe for the children. The coop should cost less than $200 to build (mostly wood and chicken wire), and most of the materials will hopefully come through donations from other parents. The coop itself will have a 4’x4′ footprint, and the chicken run will be 4’x8′ for a total footprint of 12’x4′. The run will have a gate at the end, and the coop will have double doors on the backside for easy cleaning and feeding. To make the coop fun, steps and a window will be built on one side of the coop so the children can step up and take a look inside. Four nests will reside directly under the large step, and the top of the step will lift up for easy egg collection. To keep the coop dry inside (from ground moisture), it will be lifted off the ground a few inches and placed on some floating 2x4s.

Chicken Coop (outside view)

Chicken Coop (Inside View)

Construction should be underway soon, so make sure you check back later to see the final result!

Follow up: The chicken coop is done! Check out Building a Chicken Coop to see the finished product.

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5 thoughts on “Designing a Chicken Coop

  1. I am sure the Chicken are going to be very happy indeed.

    I have used SketchUp in the past and I think it is a great software to introduce people in the world to 3D and very fast to use. Also adding textures is a pretty easy function on the software. It is nice to get an idea of what it will look like before its build.

    I also believe that other rendering engines for SketchUp are available. For example Kerkythea. This basically makes the model look more realistic by adding lighting effects, material effects etc.

    I agree with the statement that other 3D software cost a tiny fortune and unless you are doing it for a living it will be hard to justify the cost.

    I am a Blender user which is a powerful 3D modeling software that is free to use too. However, it is a more complicated to use than SketchUp.

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