An ideal number of chickens for a backyard flock is 6. But which coop is best for 6 chickens…..nesting boxes, space, design and correct ventilation all come into it. Plus other factors too…..therefore knowing which one to buy can be a nightmare.
Well sit back, I’ve done the hard work – I’ve reviewed the best chicken coops for 6 chickens! Ive reviewed and found the best chicken coops for 6 chickens WITH runs & WITHOUT runs if you plan to have them free range.
Lets start with:
You’ll need about 4sqft of coop space per bird. So with 6 birds that’s 24sqft. That’s narrowed it down somewhat. But that’s just floor space, you need roost space too….
You’ll need to allow 12 inches (30cm) per bird. Thats width, so ‘wing to wing’. F.Y.I -my birds will huddle up closer than that in the winter but want the space between themselves in the summer to keep cool.
Length wise you cant have them crammed in nose to nose or rather I should say beak to beak, we will need another 10 inches per bird here.
So we have covered Space in the coop and roosting requirements. Next up is:
6 chickens means 6 nesting boxes, right? WRONG. Actually, chickens will head into the nesting box at different times of the day meaning you don’t need 1 nesting box per hen. 1 box per 5-6 hens is sufficient. Some coops wont divide the nesting up into individual boxes and keep it as one large space on the side of the coop, these are great too.
What you find, is that chickens will have a favorite nesting box or area of the nesting box. This is usually where another hen has laid an egg before them. They will see this, and it will encourage them to lay there too. This is totally normal and happens with all hens.
Big big tip – the nesting boxes must not be lower than the roost bars. During the night when your chickens are roosting they will poop. If the nest boxes are below they will begin to fill with poop meaning you will be cleaning the boxes out every day laying down fresh bedding for them to lay on. Not what you are supposed to do. So – nest boxes same height as the roost bars or higher! Are you with me so far?
This has narrowed down the search for the best chicken coop for 6 chickens, but there is more criteria to tick off the list next up is:
Space is simple the more space the merrier! However everyones backyard constraints are different and space is premium for some people so im going to talk minimums here……..11-15sqft per bird. Larger birds will need slightly more, bantams of course will need slightly less. But 11-15sqft per bird of outside space is a minimum. Less space will lead to unhappy hens, fighting and pecking each other and themselves. This then all leads to a dramatic drop in egg laying. Well ask yourself do you do your best work when you unhappy…ofcourse not. More space will mean happier chickens.
OK lets have a recap, we need a coop with
- 4sqft of floor space per bird, with a minimum of 1 nesting box so they can lay you their lovely eggs.
- All that with 11-15sqft of outside space and again that’s per bird.
- The coop needs to be fully secure from predators that will want to get in and keep the birds secure so they cant get out.
All this goes without saying I’m sure, but its worth mentioning as we are looking for the very BEST chicken coop for 6 hens here.
Now there’s 4 keys points below that should be followed when buying any coop, regardless if its for 1 chicken or for 20.
The same 4 rules apply and here they are;
- Easy access ramp from outside to inside the coop. Anything too steep and they will fall back and definitely struggle when its been raining and the ramp is wet. Remember if you have bantams this applies even more so to you, there legs are smaller and you wont want them to struggle.
- A lid on the nest box so that you don’t have to go into the coop yourself and collect the eggs. With a lid that’s accessible from the outside you save yourself a lot of bother every time you want to collect the eggs.
- Every night and every morning you will be closing and opening the door to the coop door. In the morning you will be letting them out and in the evening shutting them in so that they can sleep. Again, you don’t want to have to climb into the run everytime to open or close the door. So to make life easier a coop that has the function to open and close the pop hole from the outside is a massive plus!
- It must have really really good ventilation and air flow. Now I was surprised with how much ventilation my chickens needed. I thought wow that’s a big ‘hole’ in the coop for air, aren’t they going to get cold…? Couldn’t have more underestimated more infact. Ventilation is key for allowing air in but just as importantly allowing moisture and heat out! Chickens will poop in the coop this will need cleaning and we will come on to that, but chicken poop is high in ammonia and this build up in the coop can be bad for birds and cause respiratory and eye issues. Levels at 25ppm or over is considered high and therefore dangerous. These ventilation areas will need chicken wire covering them so no vermin, birds and other animals can get in.
OK, so here’s where I will impart a few pearls of wisdom having had chickens on our farm for 4 generations.
A good roof – sounds simple but the roof will take a beating from rain and sun! Now if it doesn’t have an asphalt roof, you maybe tempted to vanish the roof to preserve it. Don’t! The fumes from this can poison chickens. Only vanish the roof or any part of the chicken coop if there is sufficient ‘drying time’. Doing it in the morning hoping it will be ready in the evening before the chickens go in for the night usually isn’t long enough….
Did you know each breed will have a preferred roost height? So that’s the height off the ground of the roost bars. It can be up to 6-8ft with breeds like Yokohamas which have very long tails that will hang down. Bantams however will typically roost at around 0-2ft high, they are smaller this makes sense. But overall, most chicken breeds will want to roost around 2-4ft of the ground as standard.
Shade underneath the coop is a HUGE bonus. What do I mean? If the coop is off the ground and the birds can get under, it will provide shelter from the direct sunlight and give the chickens a welcome rest during the summer months. Its very easy for chicken to suffer from heat related illness and providing them with somewhere to cool off is a big tick in the box.
Mine have a dust bowl underneath the coop where they go when they are too hot and to clean themselves. They are under there a lot of actually and we don’t have particularly hot summers where we are and my birds are all quite hardy so that says something. Shade is good!
Cleaning the coop – not anyone’s favourite job but it must has to be done. A chicken coop for 6 chickens will have to be cleaned every month or two. A coop with a removable tray (metal is best) that you can just pull out and dust off and place back is so much easier than trying to get in the coop yourself and move around with a small brush and a trash bag.
Moveable – do you plan to move the coop so they can access fresh grass etc. If so a lightweight coop will save you back ache.
A chicken’s body temperature will natural fall between 105-107F (40-41.5C) and optimum temperature within the coop is between 50-75F (10-24C). I hang a thermometer on the inside of the door that on really hot days and cold days I can open the door and give the temperature a quick read. I bought a cheap thermometer for this nothing special and id suggest you get one like this too.
We have covered all the aspects that make the best coops so ill waste no time….drum roll please…. my award for the best chicken coop for 6 chickens with a run goes to……
The best chicken coop without a run, so if you plan to let them out in the morning and have them free range is below:
So there we have it – the best chicken coop for 6 chickens has been narrowed down. Follow all my pointers and you cant go wrong in selecting the best chicken coop. More importantly you’ll avoid buying the wrong one wasting money AND having miserable chickens. Happy hens happy life!