Beginner Chicken owner


6 Years
May 1, 2013
Ok well I'm not a chicken owner yet.... I am researching and I'm sure my questions have been asked 100 times before so I'll apologize for that right now.

I'm a single mom who has raised 2 kids and now have 3 young cousins living with me and they come from a home where there parents had 200 chickens running loose on their 1/2 acre home at one time, so they love chickens and would like to get some. I've been thinking about it since last summer and thought they'd be good 4-H projects for the kids (putting the kids in 4-H would be good for them too) and we'd get some eggs out of it too.

Questions: Coops - I've seen alot of coops on here I like and really like the ones with the run attached, my brother from TX has been trying to talk me into the A-frame ones that you can move around the yard. I only have about 1/4 of an acre of property and was thinking a permanent coop might be better. Thoughts??

Breed - I've never had chickens and while the kids might have no problem picking them up I on the other hand am a little more intimidated. I'm only looking to have 3 or 4 hens. I'd like some good layers, but are docile. The kids keep talking about top hats, I think they're just wanting them cause they are different looking.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise with me.


9 Years
Mar 22, 2010
Inland Pacific NW

There are no dumb questions. There ARE however multiple answers. There are pros and cons to both styles of coops. A permanent coop means that the vegetation in that area will soon be gone. A mobile coop allows you to move it around so the hens can get fresh vegetation to eat. If you move it often enough, the vegetation is not completely destroyed and recovers.

Things to think about when choosing a style of coop.
  • Climate. how hot/cold does it get where you live? How much rain, how much wind and from which direction does it come from?
  • Ventilation. very key to a good coop. your hens need a draft free but very well ventilated area to roost at night. It's nice if you can have some that open and close as needed for the comfort of your hens.
  • Access: Make it easy to get into and clean. If it is difficult you will find yourself postponing the chore. Chickens poop a lot! If you have to get in there to catch a hen for some reason you really do Not want to be on your hands and knee, or reaching underneath a low raised coop to scoop out eggs that they've hidden.
  • Run: allow as much area as you can. More really is better. Ditto with coop. If you go bigger than you "have to have" you will have room for chicken math.
  • Nest boxes: you will only need one for 3-4 hens. You can do two if you want. I have 6 in my coop for flock of 16 hens. They all lay in the same 3-4 boxes, with more than half laying in just one box.
  • Predators: Use good sturdy fencing for your runs. Cover windows with hardware cloth. Chicken wire keeps Chickens in/out not dogs, coons, coyotes or anything except maybe an old house cat.
  • Food/water make it easy to get into to feed and water.

When you decide on a coop, post a sketch on this site and ask for input from others about ventilation and other questions.

oh, and ENJOY them. You will find each member of your flock has its own personality.


The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Jul 26, 2008
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
My Coop
You can also set up a permanent coop that has a small "sacrifice" run which connects to two or three other runs. My chick run shares a wall with my fenced vegetable garden. Then, in the spring and fall they can play in the vegetable beds and scratch out all of the weeds for me.

You can also use a tractor in the summer months, and then for winter move them into a permanent coop.

So many choices! Have fun planning.

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