Are you looking for the best garden chicken coop? Read my reviews on laying hens and the guide to choosing.
The chicken coop for laying hens is a small luxury that anyone can afford. A real dream that, with prices around 200-300 euros, can materialize in the garden of all of us. It means creating a “small farm” outside, with the possibility of having fresh eggs every morning, also surrounding yourself with the pleasure of having continuous contact with these very nice animals. However, remember that hens, like any pet, require care and love, and a home to live in that keeps them sheltered from predators and adverse climatic agents such as rain.
Characteristics of a garden chicken coop
First, the laying hen house should be able to withstand rain, wind and UV rays from the sun. For the well-being of the oviparous, of course, but also to be able to guarantee a good durability over time. Usually the best chicken coops are made of wood that is treated and painted with safe substances, which make them resistant to rain and humidity. There are also structures with galvanized sheet metal frame and painted sheet metal roof, less elegant from the design point of view but equally effective.
What are the other characteristics of an outdoor chicken coop? It must be large enough to accommodate the number of chickens you want (up to about 16 chickens). Secondly, it needs to be zoned to provide the hens with maximum comfort and protection. Specifically, it must host at least a nest for hatching and an enclosed outdoor space, to allow them to peck the ground safely and to stretch their legs. Of course it must be easy to clean and have easy access, which will allow you to take the eggs without creating too much chaos.
Clearly there are other extras that can make a difference, such as the presence of feeders, perches and drinkers, and ventilation. The latter is essential, as it favors the dissipation of humidity, but it should not create drafts, which could harm the health of the chickens. Remember, in fact, that hens only lay their eggs if they are well, both physically and psychologically. The task of the chicken coop in the garden, therefore, is to offer them maximum comfort and tranquility.
Best houses for laying hens
1. Ferplast HEN HOUSE 10 in FSC wood
I want to start with this Ferplast wooden garden chicken coop, which convinced me both for the quality of the materials and for the excellent price. This is not a huge house, but it can easily accommodate up to 4 hens, and includes all the options necessary to ensure a comfortable and peaceful life. The dimensions are 124 x 98 x 110 cm, and this data will be used to calculate if you have enough space available in the garden.
- Capacity: 4 hens max
- Dimensions: 124 x 98 x 110 cm
- Weight: 33 kilograms
- Materials: treated wood
Unfortunately, the model in question does not have a fenced area for the hens to run around, so you will have to mount a safety net around it. On the other hand, the raised structure allows you to have the necessary space for proper ventilation of the chicken coop, and there is also a very comfortable ladder that will allow the oviparous to go down to the ground. Also know that it houses a nest for hatching (34 x 26 cm), easily accessible through an external door.
Note: there is also a second larger version (the HEN HOUSE 20), capable of hosting up to 6 oviparous hens.
And the materials? The structure is in certified wood (FSC) of Nordic pine, and has been painted with epoxy powders, so as to resist rain and humidity. Returning to the structure, on the bottom you will find a metal grid always useful for ventilation, with a removable metal drawer, which will facilitate cleaning operations. Finally, there is also the sunroof with safety clip and the chicken coop has a low weight (about 33 kilos): it means that you can move it without too much effort.
Inside you will find only the roost, but being very compact you could not ask for more. I really like the idea of the sunroof, because it allows you to check if everything is in order, without causing trauma to the oviparous women. Finally, it is really easy to assemble and is obviously a plus.
2. PawHut Outdoor Chicken Coop in Fenced Wood
If you are looking for a chicken coop for laying hens perhaps not too spacious, but with an external enclosure for them to be pecked, then I recommend this model from PawHut. It is a chicken house made entirely of wood, with dimensions of 196 x 76 x 97 cm. As for the wood, know that it has been treated to withstand rain and other weather events, so you won’t have to lacquer it.
- Capacity: 4 dwarf hens (2 normal)
- Dimensions: 196 x 76 x 97 cm
- Weight: 28 kilograms
- Materials: treated wood
Staying on the subject of structure, the little house houses a nest for hatching divided into two sections, with a window for collecting the eggs that is convenient to use and open from the outside. The enclosure is important, but be aware that it is not very large and can accommodate two hens at a time. For this reason, it is not a suitable model to house them all day inside, but it is a great shelter for the night. Of course, you can solve this by removing the net and closing the house inside a larger enclosure.
What are the other qualities of this wooden chicken coop? It has a bitumen-insulated and waterproof roof, a convenient exit ramp that doubles as a door, the pull-out drawer for cleaning the bottom and a large side door for interior ventilation. The solid spruce wood is of excellent quality, while the fence is made of steel wire, which allows you to count on high protection for the oviparous.
Also consider that the assembly of the structure is not complex at all, while the internal capacity reaches a maximum of 4 dwarf hens or 2 large hens. In addition, the roof can be opened and there is also a safety clip.
3. Padovana XXL in Wood for 5 Hens
It has a higher cost than the average but I assure you that it is really worth it. In fact, we are faced with a solid wooden garden chicken coop, with a very good capacity, which can reach 5 hens without effort. In addition, it is quite large (250 x 120 x 155 cm) and is very easy to assemble, thanks to a clear instruction booklet. Consider that wood requires a coat of impregnation to make it truly waterproof.
- Capacity: 5 hens
- Dimensions: 250 x 120 x 155 cm
- Weight: 29 kilograms
- Materials: treated wood
As for the structure, we have a little house with a nest for hatching and a fence with a net, proof against foxes and predatory animals. Inside, the hens will also be able to count on the presence of 3 well-spaced perches, to avoid territorial fights, while the bottom has a convenient removable galvanized tray, which will simplify cleaning operations. Know that the roof can be opened, and this in my opinion is a very important detail.
Note: if you are looking for a smaller chicken coop, know that there is also a version of the Padovana with space for 3-4 hens or 6-7 dwarf hens.
Among the chicken houses that I have had the opportunity to try, this is in all probability one of the best and most solid in circulation. If fixed with pegs, it does not fear even the most violent gusts of wind, while the level of protection of the net is optimal. Of course, no one prevents you from mounting a protective net around the chicken coop for laying hens, so that you can create more space for pecks.
Before moving on, I remind you that the capacity reaches a maximum of 5 hens, even if the title of the product says that it reaches 8-10 hens. Finally, comfort is guaranteed, given that the house in question optimally retains the internal heat and dissipates humidity, thus creating a dry and comfortable habitat for the oviparous.
4. The Green World in Wood Livorno XXXL
If you are looking for a huge laying hen house, then you should consider this model from Il Verde Mondo. This is not a simple outdoor chicken coop but a real villa for oviparous animals, super-equipped and full of space. In fact, consider that the dimensions correspond to 247 x 227 x 189 cm, and that the capacity overall it easily reaches 8 hens in total.
- Capacity: 8 hens
- Dimensions: 247 x 227 x 189 cm
- Weight: 115 kilograms
- Materials: treated wood
The materials are spectacular: a solid solid wood has been used, as always painted to resist water. Of course there is the fence for the pecks, which is also very resistant and with a predator-proof net. The roof is insulated, maintains internal temperatures well and resists rain without problems. And the structure? It houses not one but two external houses, so as to guarantee enough space for all of them.
The first house is excellent as a night shelter, and has a removable tray at the base that facilitates the task of cleaning. The second is a real hatching nest, and just like the first it has a special door to allow easy access and collection of eggs without disturbing the oviparous animals. Also know that the nest for brooding is divided into two distinct sections, and that the mobility of the hens is ensured by the presence of two comfortable ramps.
The outdoor pecking area is fantastic, wide and tall, and equipped with a perch. In summary, our friends will be able to flutter and move in comfort, so as to stretch a little. Beautiful to look at and very large, this wooden chicken coop for laying hens can be assembled without problems and is really solid. The only drawback? It takes up a lot of space and has a considerable weight (115 kilos).
5. Wiltec Chicken Coop with Nest and 4 Chicken Fence
I decided to close my reviews with this wooden garden chicken coop from Wiltec, a model that I consider special. The colors are really fantastic and, in addition to being an excellent refuge for the oviparous, the house also becomes a piece of furniture for outdoor spaces (which obviously never hurts). The model is quite classic, with a capacity that can reach a maximum of 4 hens.
- Capacity: 4 hens
- Dimensions: 152 x 52 x 92 cm
- Weight: 26 kilograms
- Materials: treated wood
We therefore find a nest for the brood and an enclosed space for pecking, and as always there is a handy galvanized tray, which you can extract to facilitate the cleaning of the laying hen house. The structure is very sturdy, as it has been made of spruce wood that has been treated to withstand the rain. The red and white colors, together with the blue of the roof, give a truly remarkable glance.
Also consider that the insulated roof can be opened or locked without problems, and that the measures are also suitable for those who do not have much space in the garden (152 x 52 x 92 cm). The roof above the pecking area, among other things, can be kept open using the special support connected to the structure. Naturally, access to the eggs is facilitated, given the presence of a large hatch above the nest for the brood.
Does it have any flaws? Actually no, although I always prefer the ladders to the access ramps, since the hens need some time to get used to the latter. For the rest, there are only positive notes: the ventilation is excellent, the net is sturdy and the house withstands the weather without problems. Really a small (and colorful) jewel to boast in the garden.
How to choose the house for laying hens
1. Dimensions and capacity
Unless you have a large outdoor space, and do not invest thousands of euros for an outdoor chicken coop with monster capacity, you will have to “settle” for a small and medium-compact house. Of course it is important to combine two aspects: the space occupied on the lawn (therefore the size of the hen house) and the capacity, or the maximum number of hens that the houses can contain. As a rule, standard models allow you to house a maximum of 3-4 hens.
2. Materials: wood or sheet metal?
You will have already understood that personally I prefer wooden chicken coops, both for a question of durability and for a fact of comfort for the oviparous. Wood is a very solid material, but obviously it will need to be treated to withstand rain and humidity. Often these accessories have already been painted with safe substances that make them waterproof, but if in doubt you should always lacquer the wood or apply a coat of impregnating agent.
Sheet metal chicken coops can become an alternative, above all because they weigh less, but still manage to guarantee excellent strength. On the other hand, if exposed to the sun they can become hot and therefore cause a lot of problems for the hens. Not surprisingly, these houses are often mobile and equipped with wheels, to be able to move them quickly when the heat arrives.
Finally, the sheet is always galvanized, which protects it from the risk of rust and oxidation. Before continuing, I would like to say a few extra words for the wood coating: the anti-rain varnish is not eternal, and must be renewed at least once every 12 months.
3. Structure of the chicken coop
As mentioned, a wooden chicken coop has a very sturdy structure, but it is important to understand what options it makes available to you. In fact, there are models that are limited to the house as a night shelter and to the nest to hatch the eggs, but do not have a fenced area to allow the animals to peck and move. It is clear that these houses require a fence to be installed around the structure, but this is not a defect.
Often, in fact, those who raise hens still prefer to opt for the assembly of an enclosure, so as to guarantee more space for the pecks. Of course there are also other structural elements that require a little deepening.
- Roof: the roof must be insulated, and it is preferable that it can open, so as to give you the possibility to check that everything is in order, without causing problems for the hens.
- Access to the nest for brooding: naturally, each nest for hatching has an easy access, which will allow you to take the eggs without effort.
- Removable tray: on the bottom of the chicken coop for laying hens you will always find a galvanized metal tray, removable. It is useful as it will make cleaning easier.
- Roost: given the limited space of many garden chicken coops, you will hardly find more than two perches inside the structure. In some cases you may also find a perch in the fenced area, but only in the large and tall models.
As for accessories, you will often have to buy the feeding trough and drinking troughs separately, especially if you want to create a 24-hour outdoor living area.
4. Ventilation of the house
It is very important that the house is well ventilated, for a very simple reason: this will allow the humidity to escape, creating a more comfortable and healthy environment for our bird friends. Furthermore, good ventilation will allow ammonia vapors to escape, since the latter – if present in high quantities – can harm the hens. And the heat? You don’t have to worry: the ventilation still allows you to keep the internal temperatures intact, due to the presence of the insulated roof in bitumen.
5. Weight and mobility
Know that a large house will inevitably weigh a lot, to the point that in some cases it will exceed 100 kilos. It is clear that such a heavy structure is not at all easy to move, and this can become a problem: not being able to move it, you will not have the possibility to change its position according to the seasons. In addition, the earth will become muddy over time: in short, if you cannot move the chicken coop, the hens will end up pecking in a dirty and no longer green area.
My advice is to opt for a model that is not too heavy (around 30 kilos) and easy to move, unless you have special needs in terms of capacity of the chicken coop. There are also models with wheels, therefore mobile, but they are almost never made of wood, but they can represent a good solution (bearing in mind the disadvantages of sheet metal).
6. Ease of cleaning and height
There is a reason why the houses are often raised: the greater height favors the exchange of air and also the cleaning of the bottom of the chicken coop. In other words, the tall structure meets both the needs and health of oviparous women, and the need to have an easy-to-extract drawer and a useful space for maneuvering to clean without breaking the back.
7. Fence and protection
I have already told you several times that the fenced area of the garden chicken coop may not be sufficient, but only for a matter of space and livability for the oviparous. The mesh is thick steel and with a thickness of at least 1.5 millimeters, therefore it is perfectly capable of resisting attacks from predators. But if you want to reward your friends with a larger and more comfortable pecking area, you should always install one chicken fence around the house (provided you have space).
Finally, remember that many chicken houses are not very large, therefore they can be good as a night shelter, but not as a cottage to live 24 hours on 24. Precisely because the animal needs a lot of space to be able to peck and live peacefully.
Where to place the chicken coop in the garden?
First of all, know that, if you buy a wooden chicken coop, this material will guarantee the house the correct maintenance of internal heat. Ventilation will do the rest, so as to ensure correct air exchange. Of course, if the chicken coop is made of sheet metal, I remind you once again the need not to keep it in the sun, because it could become dangerous for the health of our friends.
However, it is never wise to keep the chicken coop constantly in the sun, so make sure there is some shade, perhaps guaranteed by a deciduous plant. In fact, consider that hens like to be in the sun, but then they also need a cozy and shady shelter. And the cold? The hens are not particularly afraid of it, being courtyard animals.
As a rule, chickens live very well in a habitat within a wide range of degrees, from about 5 degrees up to about 30. Actually the layers live better with temperatures from 13 to 24 degrees, therefore in these conditions they increase the production of eggs. The most complex season is summer, especially due to the surge in heat, which is why you will always have to have a plan B to keep them in the shade.
Finally, it is important that the hens live in a dry environment, as they fear humidity and water. From this point of view, installing a covered fence will allow them to scratch around even if it rains.