Getting your first chickens is such an exciting time but there are a few decisions you need to make first. One of those is ‘What is the best position for the chicken coop?’
Where in the garden?
If you have a large garden, most people choose to position the coop at the far end, furthest from the house, but out of sight can be out of mind!
You will need to tend your flock at least once a day to replenish their food and water, collect eggs or open/close the coop door if you don't have an automatic door opener. Position the coop where you can easily see it from the house. This makes you enjoy your floofs more and helps you notice any health or predator problems sooner.
Shade is key
Citing the coop under a tree will provide natural shade throughout the day. Remember that modern-day chickens descend from jungle fowl that lived in a highly vegetated area. They will enjoy the cover and protection that trees and bushes provide. If you're lucky enough to have your own orchard, this would be perfect! And especially if you realise that chickens help eliminate certain insects that are harmful to fruit!
Any site you select needs to be level and well-draining. Positioning the coop under a tree is ideal because it will receive less water runoff from the roof.
Protection from predators
Avoid putting your coop next to compost bins. Rodents love food waste so they often live in compost piles which are warm with a food source nearby. Easy access to poultry feed can encourage vermin but this is easy to manage. Check out this blog for more information.
Only feed your chickens a day’s ration at a time, and always use a hopper or small trough. Never throw food around for hens to find and remove the feeder at dusk.
What about convenience?
Accessing the coop from the pathway instead of walking on wet grass is a big advantage. It's easier to wear slippers and walk on a hard floor to get eggs from the kitchen. It's harder to find your wellies. Sabina, our hen guru, built her chickens a brilliant permanent run in her garden - you can see the video here.
If your garden is small, you have fewer options for where to place the coop. Remember the advice we've given and use fences and buildings for protection and shade. If your garden lacks shade, you can add sun sails to create shade and improve the overall environment.
If you intend to keep your chickens on a free-range basis, easy access to grass or wooded areas is vital. Bear in mind that your chickens will wander onto patios and decking, which may be undesirable. (Because of the many excrements.)
If you keep chickens in an aviary or fixed run, the proximity to grass will be more complicated because it will be eaten quickly and pulled up as soon as the chickens scramble over it. And even if chickens find enough minerals, it is important to combine this with a balanced diet.
Many people also choose to use wood shavings. In that case, it is important to make sure that the chicken run is sufficiently covered so that the wood shavings stay dry.
If you’re looking for a safe outdoor run, we’ve got you covered. Our run grants excellent protection, allowing your chickens to rise early and feed safely. Pair it with our automatic door opener and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
Although the decision of where you site your coop is extremely important, the number of birds you have is an important factor. A great minimum is three, but it's easy to get carried away. Start small, you can always add to your flock later. The more outdoor space you can provide for your birds the happier and healthier they will be.
Happy chicken keeping!