Coop Advice


In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2022
We are in the process of building this coop for a small flock of 3-4 birds. I've already thought of some changes to make such as leaving the window out and replacing it with hardware cloth and shutters for better ventilation and am going to install a small solar vent fan on the opposite wall. Is there anything else that we should do to improve the design and make it more functional? Has anyone ever used the small vent fans from amazon? Are they worth it? I though of maybe adding a small access door/panel for the section under the coop, but am not sure if that would really be worth the time and effort.
Completely understand about the potential fire hazard. I clean my horse's stall fans monthly because of the dust.

An hour west of Houston. It is being placed under some oak trees to where it will get partial/full shade for the majority of the day. We do not get a whole lot of wind and are on a hill with excellent drainage (the yard has never flooded even during Harvey). My thought process with the vent fan & window change is that it will help to pull air through the coop helping to keep a little cooler and drier, since it can get rather hot and humid here.

I'm not too worried about predators, we rarely have anything other than the occasional armadillo or whitetail in the yard thanks to our pooch and the cat. I doubt either of them will mess with the chickens. The dog loves anything we tell her is a baby and the cat is spoiled and lazy. We also are using hardware cloth instead of chicken wire.
I don't see any need for a fan personally, I would just add more ventilation in that coop design. The window HC instead of solid is a good start, but it needs more IMO. Since you're building it, I would consider simply raising the roof or making things so there's a gap between roof and walls for ventilation, then mesh it over - such as putting the rafters ON TOP of the top rail, instead of flush, giving you 3.5" gap. This way it mostly blends in with the aesthetic and you don't have to add any gable vents into the wall or anything. I'd also consider adding some roof overhangs with that type of venting, I'd probably just do it anyways as keeping runoff away is always good. Aside from that it looks like a decent coop, I like the storage compartment in the nest box protrusion; more coops need storage in their designs IMO. For sure I'd add the predator skirt around the perimeter. I'd also consider adding some taller wood to the bottom perimeter (like a fence board) if you plan to fill the floor with bedding, so it doesn't spill out the mesh.
Welcome to BYC. If you add your location to your profile people can give better-targeted advice because climate matters.

First, that coop looks pretty small and one of the problems with small coops is that it's nearly impossible to ventilate them adequately.

For each adult, standard-sized hen you need:
  • 4 square feet in the coop (.37 square meters)
  • 10 square feet in the run (.93 square meters),
  • 1 linear foot of roost (.3 meters),
  • 1/4 of a nest box,
  • And 1 square foot (.09 square meters) of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation, preferably located over the birds' heads when they're sitting on the roost.
6 hens
  • 24 square feet in the coop. 4'x6' is the only really practical build for this given the common dimensions of lumber. If you can't walk into it, put the access door in the middle of the long side to make sure you can reach all areas of the coop because a stubborn chicken WILL press itself into/lay an egg in the back corner where you can't reach.
  • 6 feet of roost
  • 60 square feet in the run. 6'x10' or 8'x8'.
  • 6 square feet of ventilation.
  • 2 nest boxes, to give the hens a choice
Here's my article on coop ventilation:

Since you're in Houston, I strongly suggest that you consider an Open Air coop -- that is, a big wire box with a 3-sided shelter at the windward end. Here are a few examples:

And my own open air coop doesn't have a coop page yet, but is featured in my hot climate article:
I would add big roof overhangs all around to that plan with open soffits, and maybe leave off the coop wall under the run roof, top hinged windows on all other walls.

Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!

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