Large Chicken Coop Plans & Kits
So you’re thinking you might need a large chicken coop? Congratulations! Nothing beats farm fresh eggs every single morning…trust us! Maybe you’re browsing through the latest chicken hatchery catalog to decide which breeds of chickens will be yours as you plan for this new adventure. Your goal is to have enough chickens to harvest your own eggs, and possibly even sell them for a nice side income. As you plan for your baby chicks, don’t forget about the need for space when they grow up. You will need a large chicken house if you plan to buy more than a few birds. They will need room to run around, get away from each other and your coop will require space for the feeders and waterers, and a large chicken coop is the first step in making your venture successful.
Reasons Why You Need a Large Chicken Coop
Some chicken owners like to allow their birds to free range, but that may not be a great option if you have a larger flock. They could take over your yard or garden and are more likely to get in trouble if allowed to roam too freely. If you plan on having more than 15 birds, we suggest planning for some sort of large enclosure or chicken run.
Another issue is predators. In many places, you have to worry about foxes, coyotes and the ever-present chicken hawk. It wouldn’t take long for your large flock to become a small flock. A large hen house can prevent the loss of your fowl. We can’t stress this point enough – you MUST take careful precautions to protect your chickens when constructing their new home. Make sure to use the proper hardware cloth and dig it in underground at least 18 inches to prevent predators from tunneling underneath it. Make sure all coop openings are properly sealed off – you should have hardware cloth behind any vents or other openings that could provide access to the inside of the chicken coop. We have heard horror stories of entire flocks being wiped out overnight by a family or raccoons or a couple coyotes, so please take this one seriously.
You may think you can put your chickens in a small coop if you only have 10 or 12 birds. However, as you increase the number, you risk more problems if the space isn’t large enough. Chickens that don’t have room will be more likely to become aggressive and fight each other. Even hens establish a “pecking order” which can get out of hand in a small space. Compare it to cramming 12 people into a 2 bedroom apartment in New York City – you can imagine how temperamental things might get, so the larger the chicken coop plan, the better.
You’re also at risk for more disease if your coop isn’t large enough. The coop will become dirty quicker, and you’ll either need to clean it daily or deal with sickly chickens. As the chickens scratch around their coop, they can get dirt in the waterers and feeders. Clean water is just as important for the health of chickens as for any other animal. A small space can also lead to problems with their legs because the birds aren’t able to run around. If you want healthy birds, you must have a large chicken coop with run so they are able to get enough exercise.
Benefits of Portable Large Chicken Coop Plans
You will find all kinds of options when shopping for your birds. It’s important to think about the benefits of buying a large coop as you make the right decision on the new home. Large chicken tractor plans allow you to move your fowl to fresh grass. You also have less work because you can simply move the coop rather than needing to clean it. Another bonus is your birds get fresh grass, and they can find bugs to eat to help them get the necessary nutrition. If you have a coop that isn’t portable, you’ll find that grass won’t grow where the chickens track over it day after day.
A side benefit for using portable coops is getting your lawn fertilized. Chicken poop is good for the soil, and it will help your grass grow. Move them around in their chicken tractor coop, and you’ll have a beautiful green lawn. So if your situation permits, this is something to consider.
What to Consider with Large Chicken Coops
If you have a large flock, you may need to purchase a coop bundle kit (see our write-up on how to build a chicken coop). This means you will have two or three coops for your birds instead of just one. The benefit of having more than one coop is you can separate your birds to make things “fair” for everyone. The reality is that some birds get along together better than others – if you have multiple coops you can more easily keep friends together and separate those that clearly don’t like each other.
When you have too many birds in one coop, you’ll quickly discover that some birds are the underdogs. They have to scurry around to get to the food and are always running from the others. This isn’t a fun life for these birds who obviously need a separate space. With a second or third coop, you can place birds of similar personalities together and allow them safety from the more aggressive birds. Even the most docile breeds will have a few birds who establish themselves as the leaders and rule the roost over everyone else.
You will want to think about the capacity for the chicken coops. One coop may hold 4-6 chickens while another one may have room for 8-10 birds. Don’t try to put more in the coop than is recommended. Even if it looks like you have ample space, you won’t be giving your birds enough room to move around and get away from others. An exception to this rule might be if you have miniature breeds such as bantams. However, these breeds are often feisty and need extra space in spite of their small size.
Your coop should have a built-in chicken run so the birds can get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. At the same time, it keeps them safe from predators or from getting lost. You don’t have to worry about rounding up your birds at bedtime because they will already be safe inside.
Consider the number of nesting boxes you need for your hens. It’s recommended to have at least one box per three hens. So, if you have ten chickens, you’ll need three to four nesting boxes.
Your coop plans will need vents to allow air to flow, especially if you lock up the birds at night. Even with the door left open, the house can be hot and stifling, especially in the summer. The coop also needs roosting placements because chickens don’t like to sleep on the ground unless they have no other choice.
You may want your coop to have a lockable hatch so you can easily access the eggs. The hatch should be placed near the nests, which allows you to pick up the eggs without bothering the birds.
How to Decide on the Best Large Chicken Coop Kits
Once you ensure that your coops have all the basic necessities to make life pleasant and comfortable for the chickens, you can narrow your decision down to the coop kits you like best. All kits should provide step-by-step instructions on how to construct them. They often include illustrations so that you can see what needs to be done.
The best chicken coop kits will provide easy-to-follow instructions that the average DIYer can understand. They shouldn’t take too much time, only a couple of weekends to have the new home ready for your birds.
When making your final decision, you will want to consider the design of the coop from a purely decorative standpoint. All the kits should be practical and functional, so that you choose the one that looks best to you. Of course, you can customize any design with your choice of colors. You may want a traditional red chicken house, or you may prefer a bright yellow or green house.
A chicken coop is one of the most important elements to have if you plan to buy chickens. While you can buy a ready-made coop, building your own is less expensive and more fun. It also allows you to customize it to fit your needs and preferences while providing a safe, happy home for your birds. Make sure you choose a kit which will give you enough room for the number of birds you plan to buy. You’ll also want to consider the features and whether you need a portable coop or one that stands alone. The right coop can mean the difference between happy and healthy chickens that will give you plenty of eggs.