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Where To Put A Chicken Coop In Your Yard

One of the fun parts of getting chickens is deciding where to put a chicken coop in your yard. Depending on where you place the chicken coop you can make your life easier or harder. Getting the right location can also improve your chickens quality of life!

I received the following great question from a reader that was the inspiration for this post:

“Thank you, Kathryn, for doing this intro to chickens. It’s very informative and comprehensive. I really do want chickens but see that I have a ton to do before my home and yard are ready. I do have plenty of room, but my biggest decision is where to place the chicken coop…. near the house, behind the house, near the garden,… Where do you have yours?”

If you’re wondering “where in my backyard should I put my chicken coop?”, then here’s how to decide on the right location!

One of the fun parts of getting chickens is deciding where to put a chicken coop in your yard. Here's how to decide on the right location!

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What Is The Best Location For A Chicken Coop?

I’ve actually picked some pretty terrible locations for some of my chicken coops. Each time I realized my mistakes I was able to correct when planning for a coop upgrade or moving house. I’ve accidentally had my chicken coop too close to my house, in too wet of a spot, in too hot of a spot, and also accidentally blocked off part of my yard with my coop!

The best location for a chicken coop can be really specific to your property. You’ll need to evaluate the different places you have available. If you’re not sure you want to commit to a specific location, you can always try a chicken tractor for a while! These are portable, so if the spot you have in mind is actually less than ideal, you can easily move it and try somewhere else.

Follow Any Applicable Laws

The most important consideration is to make sure you are following any applicable HOA policies and city laws. Some places have a requirement that your chicken coop be placed a certain number of feet from any dwellings, structures, or property lines. These can range from 10 feet to 100 feet, so you’ll want to know for sure what is required for you.

You’ll also want to find out how large you can make your coop before needing to pull a building permit. It would be terrible to construct a beautiful chicken coop just to find out later you built it just a little too big to be legal!

Keep Them Close, But Not Too Close!

Once you know your legal requirements, I do suggest building your coop fairly near your house. It’s nice to be able to see and enjoy your flock, and you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to care for them. If you are letting them in and out of the coop twice a day you want to make it easy on yourself! (Although I HIGHLY recommend a predator proof run or automatic chicken door so you don’t have to do that!)

However, don’t put your coop right at your back door. Even the cleanest chicken coop still has a bit of a farm-y scent and may attract some flies. Also while hens don’t crow, they do have an “egg song” that can sometimes get a little enthusiastic! It’s lovely to listen to, just not right under your bedroom window on a weekend.

A good distance is about 25-30 feet. Not too far it’s like a hike, but also gives a bit of space between them and the house.

This also is a good distance to defend against predators. You can hear if there are problems, especially in the middle of the night. More than once I’ve heard a bunch of commotion from the coop and been there in time to run off a raccoon that had arrived before I locked the ladies up for the night. (Another good reason for an automated door).

Also be considerate of your neighbors. If possible don’t put your coop where it might cause any issues for them. You’ll also want to make sure you’re not blocking any views for yourself or your neighbors.

Plan for Weather

If it’s possible, observe the sun patterns and any water flow patterns on your property for a year before building. This will help you identify any potential issues with a site such as intense sun, winds, or mud.

Coccidiosis (parasites) can grow in damp conditions, so good drainage is a plus.

Look at your specific microclimate, because that can vary based on your property and you may have a different microclimate than other people in your city.

Look for spots that are constantly in the shade, especially during cold weather. Your birds may need some natural warmth during the coldest time of year. Also pay attention to areas that may become raging infernos during the summer. Low spaces may be very muddy during the spring, but perfectly fine the rest of the year.

Under a shade tree can be a great place to put your chicken coop, especially if it is deciduous. Trees and shrubs provide better shade than shade cloth, especially during summer afternoons. They also offer some protection from hawks.

Do be mindful of the health and durability of any trees near the coop as it would be a shame if any branches fell on it!

Wind is another vital aspect to plan around. Generally you will want a spot that is not too windy. However some summer breezes will help manage heat.

Winds usually blow west to east in the United States. You can use this to cool your coop in the summer by placing your ventilation on your east and west walls.

During the winter, make sure to block any northern winds. However, windows facing toward the south in cold climates can allowed daylight in to help retain heat.

Other Considerations When Deciding Where To Put The Coop

Some other things to think about include access to your water source for filling their waterers and electricity if you are going to use supplemental lighting. You may also want to consider where you store their food and bedding.

The ground should be level, especially if you are putting in a concrete base. (A good concrete base option is just around the perimeter where the walls sit. That way your birds still have the benefits of being on the ground, but your coop will last longer and be more secure).

If you have a foraging area or a day pen make sure no toxic plants are close enough to eat. If it is uncovered do they have cover from sun or rain? Putting the coop next to good foraging is a plus too. If they’re too close to the house they may free range right up onto your patio or back door!

A couple safety concerns, if your chicken coop is too close to natural water features it may be vulnerable to bird flu strains obtained from wild birds. Also, don’t put your coop next to compost as it can attract rats. Although there are advantageous to having chickens in your compost bins!

Hiding a coop can be nice, as well as attractive landscaping around it. It’s nice to have some seating areas where you can enjoy watching your birds. Attractive paths around and to and from the coop are nice too and keep your feet clean and dry. There are some great pictures of beautiful coops at Carolina Coops.

Choosing where to put your chicken coop can feel stressful at first, and there are a lot of factors that can go into deciding. But once you know what to look for you can pick the perfect spot for your property and your flock!

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