There are a lot of things to keep in mind when choosing the location for your coop. Chickens tend to spend a lot of time in their coop so you want to make sure you choose where to put your chicken coop. You might just pick a spot and then regret that later on when you’ve had them there for a while. This is not a big deal if you have an easy to move light-weight coop. If you are looking for a place in your yard for a more substantial coop, you’ll want to be certain before starting to build it.
The right amount of shade depends on the climate in your location. If you are in a really hot area, your chickens will thank you for choosing an area that has shade available. If you live in a more moderate area, like we do, choose an area that has shade in the afternoon when it is hottest. If you live in a cool climate, pick an area that has no shade and use a tarp or umbrella on really hot days only. Chickens love to sunbath and you’ll find them just laid out in the sun. They can also get too hot, so you’ll want to keep your chickens cool on those days.
Another condition your chickens will hate, being in a few inches of water all day. Make sure that you check the drainage in the area you’re planning on using for your coop. While they don’t mind a little puddle to play in from time to time, chickens prefer to choose whether they are in water or not. Plus poop water and dirt is a terrible thing when you are trying to keep your flock healthy. So pick an area that is higher than the surrounding area to help keep your hens dry.
Moveable chicken tractors provide a great way to rotate your chickens through your yard. You have the ability to move the coop to shade if it is hot, or sunlight if it is cold. And you can put your chicken coop on different patches of grass every few days. This keeps your grass from being destroyed by the chickens. You’ll also get great fertilizer for your grass if you only have a little bit of poo to water in.
This should go without saying, but many towns, counties, and even neighborhoods have rules about where you can put your coop. Check first to see if you can have chickens at all. Then check to see if you are required to keep the coop a certain distance from property lines. You want to make sure you put your chicken coop in an area where it is allowed.
Another factor to take into consideration is where your chicken coop is in relation to your neighbors house. We made a point of letting our neighbors know that we were going to have chickens. We asked if they had any concerns so that we could address them right away. Even if the law is on your side and you can have chickens, your neighbors can be a problem if they are vehemently opposed for some reason. Educating them on chickens can prevent future problems from ever occurring.
You’ll also want to consider the coop location in regard to your home. If you plan to have a rooster, it is going to crow. A rooster crows very loudly, very loudly. If you have many hens, they can get a little loud when they are laying eggs. They also tend to chase each other around and squawk, chirp, bock at each other most of the day. Depending on your preference, you may want to put your coop where you cannot hear them all the time. You do want them close enough in case of an emergency. If your chickens are threatened they will cause a real fuss. You’ll want to know if something is in your coop!
Your chicken coop will be of interest to any predators that can access it. Everything eats chicken! Raccoons can be especially hard to deal with. Fencing can help to keep your chickens out of reach. If you can, protect the floor of your coop by pouring concrete or burying hardware cloth under the ground around your coop. If you wrap the cloth up to the side of your coop or run that will help keep predators out. In some cases, you may also want to surround your coop with electric fencing, think bears and particularly crazy raccoons.
If you want to think about the overall way your chickens will fit into a yard designed around food, check out permaculture. Chickens will typically be zone 1 as they need to be checked on often. Check out this great article about chickens and permaculture. You can also check out this free course from Oregon State University on permaculture.
Where to Put Your Chicken Coop
Overall, you are looking for a location that is close to the house, but not too close. Your chickens are going to want a combination of sun and shade. Your chicken coop should be placed in a location that has good drainage and is on higher ground if possible. Make sure you follow any rules about distances from neighbors and number of chickens from your local governing body. Don’t forget to protect your chickens from predators. Finally, consider the place your chickens occupy in your yard from a system point of view.