I am a 4th generation farmer / chicken keeper! In that time we have gotten through so many coops, 4×6, 12×12 and even 20×10 ft coops. So many infact ive lost count.
After spending thousands I have honed down what makes the best chicken coops and broken them down into these 6 simple steps.
I’ll be honest if they don’t meet this criteria don’t waste your money! Again just being honest, the old adages do still ring true, ‘‘you get what you pay for’’ and ‘‘buy cheap and you’ll buy twice.’’
Luckily we’ve found and purchased the best plastic chicken coop, but firstly here’s why…
Ventilation is a key aspect to consider and it is very often overlooked. Inadequate ventilation can mean illnesses and sickness among chickens.
Regardless of the climate where you live, chickens will require ventilation in their coop. Because chickens can suffer from respiratory issues, having adequate ventilation is a must. Chicken poop (droppings) contains ammonia, and high levels of ammonia is what causes chickens to become sick with breathing problems.
Just for the record, to clarify, when we say ‘ventilation’ we do not mean a draft. Excessive ventilation or drafts will cause chickens to become sick with colds.
So from your new coop you will require the ventilation to be just right; we call it the Goldilocks zone. Our top pick of coop has the best ventilation.
Ventilation isn’t just crucial for the removal of ammonia it would also help to cool the coop during hot summer months & remove moisture.
Remember high school physics?
Air moves from hot to cold – well so does moisture. So again ventilation is key for removal of excessive moisture buildup.
Hopefully we have made our point about ventilation because it is an important one – which is why it’s at number one on the list.
Remember happy hens lay the best eggs!
Takeaway point 1: Adequate well-placed ventilation is a must.
2. Protection from Predators
Raising chickens is really fun and extremely rewarding; especially for children. Hatching out chickens, placing them in the brooder and then finally putting them in their coop so they can lay you some fantastic eggs each morning, makes life long memories. Chickens are very self-sufficient and you will only have a few roles to play in raising them, arguably the biggest is keeping them safe. And a flimsy poorly built coop is not going to do it…
We strongly recommend plastic coops for a few different reasons but primarily because, unlike wooden chicken coops, plastic coops cannot be scratched through, clawed apart or bitten open by predators. This Is aside from the fact that plastic 4×6 coops require zero maintenance and are completely DIY free!
But that’s just the coop itself – what about the run?
Standard chicken wire Is very flexible and can be lifted up and snuck under by predators. If you’ve ever had a predator get into your chicken coop you will know how dangerous and upsetting it is especially if you have children. We had a fox get into a chicken coop and sadly kill everything only to take one of our chickens.
To prevent this happening you need to ensure the run is secure and made from a heavy-duty steel mesh that is welded together and making it more rigid.
The best coop from Omlet actually goes one step further; it is designed with an anti dig skirt ensuring that no predators can dig under the run, to gain access. It is also PPE coated making it extremely durable and also very smart looking, perfect for anyone’s backyard.
Don’t skimp on this point, you will thank yourself for it in the long run.
Takeaway Point 2: Ideally a plastic coop as they are very strong, with a PPE coated high strength steel welded run.
3. Robustness [Coop & Run]
This is a key point and does tie-in with predator protection. It’s a simple as this:
‘The best-made coops will last the longest; thus giving you the best bang for your buck.’
The best way to do this is ensure that they are made from high-quality materials.
If they are made from plastic, ensure that they are UV resistant, to ensure they don’t fade in color. Also that they are made from high-density plastic and the cherry on top would be that they can be recycled at the end of their long lives. A benefit of a plastic coop is that you will have zero maintenance – no re-roofing or treating. But it also means it won’t rot and you can expect a lifespan of around 15 + years minimum.
If you choose to go with a wood option ensure that it is high-quality treated lumber designed for exterior use. A softwood coop, for example, will not last long at all.
If the wood is treated ensure that it is treated with animal friendly paints and stains as if not this can make chickens quickly sick.
Takeaway Point 3: HDPE plastic that is UV resistant or treated hardwood lumber designed for exterior use only.
4. Cleaning & Maintenance
It absolutely must be on the list because it’s the task that no one likes BUT it has to be done regularly. Therefore we want the coop that makes this as easy, painless and as straightforward as possible.
Cleaning: Plastic vs Wood
Any experienced smallholder will tell you cleaning a plastic coop is so much easier than a wooden coop. Plastic will simply wipe down whereas wood won’t. What usually takes hours with a wooden coop can be done in minutes with a plastic coop with a simple pressure hose.
Cleaning, by removing a panel so that you can access the coop properly is also favourable.
Now if you are a newbie you won’t have heard of red mite but if you have been keeping chickens for a while you may well have come across the dreaded red mite!
These small red mites hide in the cracks of the wood and latch onto and bite chickens usually when they are asleep during the night. They are disastrous and to get rid of them can be extremely painful/difficult in a wooden coop.
With a plastic coop however the whole process is made much much simpler, because with a pressure hose you are able to clean quickly into every nook and cranny.
Takeaway Point 4: Cleaning a plastic coop is quicker and easier plus it makes irradiation of mites and lice easier too. Access for cleaning is important too.
5. Daily Egg Collection
This is the fun bit but important nonetheless. Older coop designs used to have a lift up nesting box lid. So you used to have to somehow hold up the lid whilst collecting your precious eggs each morning laid for you by your lovely hens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and you end up needing three hands and dropping eggs. Yes this happens to even the experienced amongst us!
From a new coop you are ideally looking for a separate egg collecting door. Or a nesting box lid that flaps down so you don’t have to hold it. Or if it flaps up, ensure it comes with a catch to hold it up. This sounds simple and it is [not sure why it catches so many of us out then!]
Takeaway Point 5: Easy [or separate] access to the nesting boxes to collect the eggs.
In the coop, medium sized chickens like breeds ISA Brown’s, Rhode Island Reds or Leghorns will require about 4 square foot of space per bird. Bigger breeds like Jersey Giants would of course require more space and smaller breeds like Bantams, much less space.
In the run more space is required than in the coop. Medium size breeds will require around 8 square feet of space per bird.
Allowing for adequate space is important as if you don’t this will lead to infighting and conflict amongst your hens. If you don’t plan to free-range them then picking the right breed is also important. Certain breeds like more space than others, whilst other breeds do tolerate confinement well.
Takeaway Point 6: Ensure adequate space within the coop and run. This will lead to happier chickens. Happy chickens lay the best eggs.
The Best Plastic Chicken Coop In The U.K
The best plastic chicken coop is the one that combines all these take away points from each section and is of course fully recyclable. There is one clear winner that is by far the best.
#1. Omlet Eglu Cube
The whole Omlet range is brilliant. Exceptionally well designed and built meaning they offer serious longevity. They are made from high density plastic and are UV stabilized and have been tried and tested for 15 years. Including 4 years by us!
They are, as far as i’m aware, the only chicken coop brand to offer a warranty too. Yes, Omlet offer a 2 year warranty on all their chicken coops. That should explain to you the quality of these coops.
The Omlet Eglu Cube is just under 4ft wide and comes with a 6ft run, or you can upgrade to a 9 or 13ft run. This makes the Eglu Cube perfectly suited for:
- 6 large breed hens
- 8 medium sized hens
- Up to 10 bantams
The run is made from heavy duty powder coated steel, which is welded together rather than twisted like some conventional chicken wire. The runs also incorporate something no other brand offers – an anti dig skirt. This has made sure we have remained free from fox attacks for years now.
This skirt runs flat on the floor around the whole run and coop ensuring no predators can dig underneath to gain access.
You can also purchase a walk in run, of varying sizes and it’s even possible to choose a custom size for your exact backyard requirements.
It has wheels meaning it’s really easy to move should you need to. It is basically a chicken tractor. Some people prefer the coop and run to remain in one permanent place whilst others like to move it around once a week. Moving the coop and run can be done by just one person in just seconds.
Insulation & Ventilation
Being ‘twin walled’ it will keep your chickens warm in even the coldest of winters, because it works like a thermos flask does.
The vents provide adequate ventilation for cooling during the summer months too.
Easy! Being plastic it just wipes or pressure hoses down. The pull out litter tray makes light work of everything.