Buying a chicken coop is the most expensive part of raising chickens. There’s no getting round it, your ladies are going to have to somewhere to live. If you can built one yourself – perfect.
Spend a couple hundred bucks on materials and build your dream chicken coop over a weekend.
Those whose DIY skills leave at bit to the imagination have to trawl the internet, looking at designs and reading reviews for hours on end.
Well (as seen the pic below) my coop is on its last legs by last legs I mean I need a new one, and fast! I need a coop to house 4 chickens or possibly 6 bantams, I haven’t decided yet, which I’ll hatch out. Fun times ahead – I love that bit.
Pinterest is probably the worst place to start! It’s easy to find awesome looking coops on there, I start to visualize owning one and then you discover the price and its immediately less awesome……..
I’ve made my fair share of coops over the years and I’ve bought a lot of rubbish coops in the past. I hate wasting money on stuff that just breaks or isn’t fit for purpose. So I took to the internet to conduct some extensive research to find the best chicken coops for 4 chickens.
The trouble is as I said, I’ve wasted money in the past and so I’ve got a strict criteria for buying chicken coops, as I now know what doesn’t work.
My criteria is simple and covers 5 main points:
A coop must have good ventilation, even if you have cold winters. It’s usually over looked by most people buying a coop but it’s really important. Ventilation allows air to flow and out the coop.
Why is this so important?
Most people think of it as a one way street, just allowing cool air in during the summer to keep the temperature down inside. That’s totally true but the outflow of air and moisture is just as important.
Heat travels hot to cold and moisture from low to high, so good ventilation will remove excessive moisture build up in the coop. That’s vital to remain good health amongst your flock.
Outflow is also key for the removal of ammonia. Ammonia is found in your chickens poop, in quite high amounts. High levels of ammonia are proven to cause respiratory issues for chickens. We don’t want that do we, so we need good ventilation – point 1 complete!
N.B infact whilst we are on the point, ill make an obvious suggestion so we are all on the same page. The position of the vents is crucial too, they can’t be located directly infront of the roosting area. Why? Well think, in a windy cold night you hens will be sat there for hours in a draught, they will catch cold and stop laying or worse.
You want something that is going to last longer than just a few months! (I had a chicken door fall on me after just 6 weeks!) Annoyingly with reading reviews online its only when people receive the item and put it together. No one ever comes back online and leaves a review a year or two years later saying ‘this is great my chickens love It’ or ‘no the design doesn’t work etc’. So that’s what im doing now.
Paramount no matter where you live. I’ve something get into our coop and kill everything, it’s a horrible experience, even worse if you have kids. The doors need to close well and possibly lock for extra security. The wire needs to be strong chicken wire to prevent anything biting through it and if there’s a window it need a protector screen covering it to prevent ‘unauthorised’ access.
A issue everyone debates as nearly all wood treatments contain chemicals. The issue is, if its untreated wood, the coop will rot and go moldy so much faster than treated wood. Plastic of course doesn’t have this problem and that’s a big benefit.
Let’s dispel a myth – each chicken doesn’t need its own nesting/layers box! This is manufacturers marketing nonsense. 1 nesting box between 5 chickens is fine. I’ve kept 20 chickens at once and they used only two nesting boxes of the 5 we had. Someone explain that, I’ve honestly no idea…..
Access to a nest box is great from the outside. It means you haven’t got to climb in each morning and mess around. Just unlock/lift up the box and reach in for your lovely eggs. Yummy!
Ok so based on that I’ve put together a short list of the best chicken coops for 4 chickens, all you have to do is pick one:
Best Budget Friendly Chicken Coop
The nesting box is accessible from outside the coop and is on a hinge so you have to hold it open with your head whilst collecting your eggs!
The litter tray that catches the droppings is galvanized steel. That’s a good feature as chicken poop will rot wood if its allowed to build up.
A lockable door allows you into the roosting area which makes for easy cleaning but the whole roof actually lifts up on this coop making it totally accessible – a neat design.
The large roof covers the coop area and the run. This is great if you live in a hot or wet climate. The roof will provide shade in the sun as chickens can actually suffer from heat stroke, and protection from the rain.
The chicken wire is made from galvanized metal so is really strong and will provide that much needed protection from predators.
There is a handle on the outside of the coop so you haven’t got to get into the run each night to close the chicken door. Most hot summer days I leave mine open to allow good airflow but also so they can let themselves out in the morning at sunrise, when I’m not always awake………..
I mentioned above about treated wood being an issue people debate over, well this coop is made from animal friendly treated timber so you haven’t got to worry.
Plastic isn’t to everyone’s taste, traditionalists prefer the wood look. I think in times gone by that’s because plastic coops have been flimsy, cheap and useless.
Well no longer!
Omlet make a superb plastic coop that’s now really popular. Here are just 4 benefits of plastic:
- Easy to clean. Everything can wiped down really simply or cleaned by a pressure hose. I’m not going to say you won’t get red mite with a plastic coop but it’s MUCH easier to keep sanitized than most wooden coops.
- Low maintenance – hasn’t got to sanded back and repainted or vanished!
- Long lifespan – Plastic unlike wood doesn’t rot! The plastic UV stabilized meaning the color shouldn’t fade either.
- Predator proof – can’t be bitten into or ripped open. The run is a strong steel welded mesh too.
This Omlet range have the option to add a stand to the coop to have it raised off the ground. You can add wheels to that standing making it mobile. And you can buy the coop with or without the run. So in my opinion, it’s a very well designed coop for all backyard requirements.
Prebuilt Walk In Coop for 4 Large Chickens
All the coops mentioned on this page require some aspect of DIY as they arrive flat pack. Some more than others.
If this just makes your eyes roll in disgust, fear not I’ve found a manufacture that ship a chicken coop already built! (but allow 6-8 weeks for delivery)
I love a walk in chicken coop, it means I’m not having to bend over whilst cleaning out the coop, doing handstands trying to get into every nook and cranny. It also means if I have an issue with one of the hens I have the space to get in to assess it properly.
This coop has everything you could want, completely predator proof and really cute looking.
It states a 6ft long perch, which runs along the length of the coop. 6ft is 72 inches (6’ = 72’’) now each chicken will require 10-14 inches roost space on the perch to sleep at night.
So you’d have an ideal amount of space for 4 chickens but its an ideal coop if you know you want to add, say, 1 or 2 more chickens to your flock at a later date. Or you might just have large chickens like Jersey Giants or Orpingtons’. This is prefect either way.
Most Sturdy Chicken Coop for 4 Chickens
It has to be this one. OverEz has really taken the time and listened to feedback to create a super coop for upto 5 chickens. So perfect if you have or want 4 large chickens.
Let’s start from the top and work down, because there’s some great points I want to make about this one:
- Roof slopes to the rear – taking running water away from the nesting box!
- The inside of the roof is a lined with silver radiant barrier to allow cooling in the summer.
- Windows for ventilation are covered with a predator screen from the inside. Also has extra vents in walls. Bingo!
- Main door, a chicken door and a nesting box all have locking features when closed and when open.
- Floor and siding are treated with resin helping to reduce moisture.
- Two roost perches and two different heights. Great as different breeds roost at different heights. Most chickens roost at 3-5ft, so you covered here with this coop.
- Sits off the ground so chicken can shade underneath it.
- Can attach (but aren’t included) wheels to turn it into a tractor!
That’s a great coop, what are you waiting for…..snap it up!
Best Run for Free Ranging
Ok I’ve called it free ranging, when they aren’t technically completely ‘free’ so I suppose it should be called semi free ranging. Small print out the way! You actually could add a coop inside easily enough or outside and make a hole in the netting for the chicken door….just an idea.
Assembly is super easy with quick connect frames. The frame is light weight but heavy duty. They are made from galvanized steel the benefit of this is they won’t rust. They’re also simple to clean down as they are nice and smooth.
The frame work along the bottom has brackets too, so you can peg down the run, into the ground. This will help to keep it secure from predators.
It has a steel door that’s lockable with a latch and steel wire ties for extra security. We have this set up on our farm with a DIY ‘A-Frame’ Coop in it, made from old pallets. This houses our cute Cochins, but what we’ve done is run an electric fence round the outside for extra protection. See the photo below. We have had zero problems using this set up I can recommend it.
Also included is a UV durable cover for a section if the roof. As mentioned above will provide protection against the sun on hot days so your chickens don’t over heat and protection from the rain.
Certain breeds like Silkies hate getting wet! Under this cover is where you can place down your feed so it won’t get wet and place down your waterer so it’s out of direct sunlight during the day. The cover is therefore a great feature.
The whole thing is available is a few different sizes to suit your backyard size and based on how many chicken you have. Certain breeds like Leghorns & Rhode Islands like to be out foraging, this is perfect for breeds who want space.
Worried that the wire mesh on the outside won’t be strong enough against predators. Get one with metal wire mesh. Check one out here.
Hope this helps & that your chickens enjoy their new home!