Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky
Accessibility, safety, exterior appearance, and appropriateness of design are important aspects of housing for your poultry flock.
Before you begin building, consider how you will access and maintain your poultry housing. Choose a design that allows for easy access to nests, perches, feeders, and waterers. Suitable access will make it easier to clean all areas of the coop.
When designing, building, and maintaining your coop, take action to prevent possible injury to you or your birds. Remove any loose or ragged wire, nails, or other sharp-edged objects from the coop. Ensure that the birds can perch on only roosts that you provide. Remove or eliminate access to other perching areas, such as windowsills, nest box tops, or electric cords, whenever possible.
If your poultry house is visible to your neighbors, you may want to ensure that it does not detract from the overall appearance of its surroundings. You can improve the looks of your poultry coop by painting and properly maintaining the exterior. Removing weeds and trash from around the coop not only enhances its appearance but also helps with rodent control. Landscaping can screen your poultry coop from neighbors as well as help muffle the sounds your flock produces.
Choose a poultry housing design that meets your particular needs. The University of Wisconsin has plans for a small pasture poultry ark.
There is no perfect housing design for urban poultry. Below are other examples of actual urban poultry housing to give you some ideas (Photos by Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky).
For larger pasture flocks, the University of Kentucky has designs and instructions how to make a hoop pen for larger pasture poultry flocks from cattle panels.
You can also find designs for permanent structures from Louisiana State University Ag Center. The plans include:
- Poultry house 10′ X 12′ – construction plans for a 10-by-12-foot wooden frame poultry house with plywood sides
- Family-size laying house – detailed building plans for an 8-by-12-foot chicken house
- Brooder house – construction plans for a 10-by-12-foot wooden frame chicken house
- 100-unit laying house – design and construction plans for a 12-by-20-foot chicken house