Find Beautiful Plans for Your Next Chicken Coop

Is it time to take your chicken coop to the next level?

When it comes to creating the perfect home for your new flock, you may have something special in mind. 

But if you’re not familiar with planning a construction project, you might be looking for a little inspiration and guidance. 

So we’ve put together this list of ideas that will help get those wheels turning. 

Find Chicken Coop Plans on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most visual social platforms around. And if you follow some favorite chicken-loving accounts, you know there’s usually something beautiful to ogle over. 

Whether it’s pretty little eggs all in rainbow rows or a new chicken coop plan created al la Chip and Joanne from Fixer Upper, all you have to do is hit the right hashtags to get an eyeful of chicken fix-for-the-day.

Type in some of the following to bring up some fantastic chicken coop ideas to spark your imagination:

  • #chickencoop
  • #chickencoopplans
  • #coops
  • #chickencoopideas

And of course, don’t forget to follow us for your daily dose of poultry eye candy.

Find Chicken Coop Ideas on Pinterest

We’ll admit, one of our first places to dig up inspiration is usually Pinterest. And that’s because it’s one of the most visual search engines on the planet with millions of contributors, just like us.

In fact, we’ve got a board set up specifically for new chicken owners looking for coop-building inspiration. 

So go check it out, we’ll wait.

Oh and here’s a special tip: if you search for free chicken coop plans, a bunch of freebies will pop up for you to print out and work off of. 

Our advice? Find a predator-proof plan, use what you’ve got, and then snaz it up once it’s complete. 

Some of the most straightforward designs turn out to be the most beautiful. 

In fact, we’ve seen some pretty impressive coop designs out there (some are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, like this one).

Just remember, the most important thing is safety and functionality, beauty can come later!

Facebook Groups of Chicken Fanatics

Facebook can be like the wild wild west, at times. Everyone seems to have the all the answers. 

And, in truth, there’s plenty of good advice from experienced chicken owners on Facebook. 

But instead of falling down the rabbit hole, here’s what we suggest:

Join a handful of chicken groups and search for the term “chicken coop plans” or “chicken coop design” rather than asking questions or endlessly scrolling the feed.

Who’s got time for that? Not us! We’d rather be with our chickens.

By searching, you’ll avoid the know-it-alls and still get the inspiration you’re looking for when planning your first chicken coop design. 

And be sure to check out Henny+Roo on Facebook while you’re there!

Chicken Coop Planning Books

Lastly, you can always get find inspirational and coop-planning books that walk you through the exact process of building your first chicken coop. 

All you have to do is page through and find the design of your dreams…then head to the lumber yard!

These are some of our favorite chicken coop building books.

  1. DIY Chicken Coops: The Complete Guide To Building Your Own Chicken Coop

2. Building Chicken Coops For Dummies

3. 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Creative Homeowner) Fences, Chicken Coops, Sheds, Gardening, and More for Becoming Self-Sufficient

Coop-planning books are great for beginners who need a little extra advice when building their first coop. 

Usually, everything from the nesting box to the dust bath, and the roost is already planned out and included. 

Plus, you know that you’re following plans for a coop that’s been tested against the elements and predators. 

So go ahead, and take the experts’ advice. You can always add your personal touches after the coop is complete, like this coop sign now available in the Henny+Roo Shop:  

Amazon for Easy Peasy Chicken Coops

We know not everyone has the time, or ability, to design and construct their own chicken coop. But, if that’s you, it shouldn’t stop you from making your chicken dreams come true. 

You can find pre-made, semi-started, chicken coops on sites like Amazon. Here are a few that have received good reviews:

  1. SnapLock Formex Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House 4-6 Large 6-12 Bantams
  2. GUTINNEEN Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop Large Hen House Poultry Cage, 69in, Waterproof UV Panel
  3. PawHut 114″ Wooden Customizable Backyard Chicken Coop with Nesting Box and Runs

Pre-made chicken coops come ready to snap together, and in most cases, all the designing and safety considerations are all done for you. 

With that being said, it’s still a good idea to review the materials the coop is made from. That way, you can ensure that it will hold up during bad weather and cold conditions (if that’s where you’re located). You may have to fortify premade coops by adding a 2×4 base frame, hardware cloth on any openings, a stronger door locking mechanism, and/or a protective wood finish to lengthen the life and protectiveness of the coop.

Also watch for treated wood and materials that might be toxic to chickens. 

An excellent way to ensure you’re purchasing a quality coop is to read through the reviews of what previous buyers have said about the chicken coop. 

We wish you the best in creating a safe and happy home for your flock!

Preparing Your Chicken Coop For Winter

When winter temperatures roll in and the days get shorter, it’s time to winterize your chickens for the months ahead. 

And if you do plan ahead, you and your chickens will be ready for the frost when it arrives. 

Most importantly, your chickens will be happy, healthy, and laying eggs all winter.

So how does one winterize their chickens for the cold months ahead?

Well, we’ve got a few simple-but-necessary items to tick off your winter prep list. 

So rest assured, your chickens will be cozy and comfy all winter long. 

Keep your chickens healthy this winter. Chicken in snow.

Prepping With Cold Hardy Chicken Breeds

Before we dive into prepping your chickens for winter, let’s first consider the breeds of chickens in your coop. 

Do you know whether they’re cold hardy breeds? If so, there may be a bit less prep work for you to worry about. 

Some breeds, like the Wyandotte for example, are suited well for colder climates. 

Breeds like the Wyandotte are heavier, have shorter combs, and have dense, loose feathering that can handle a long cold winter. 

On the other hand, breeds with large combs may struggle with ailments like frostbite. Similarily, breeds with tight, lighter, feathering will not insulate as well as the larger, fluffier breeds of chickens. 

Other breeds that can stand up to the cold temps are:

  • Buff Orpington
  • Americauna
  • Dominique
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Jersey Giant

So if you’re at the beginning of your chicken-keeping journey, take some time to research the breeds you’re most interested in. Then ensure your breeds of choice will tolerate the climate in which you live. 

If Your Chickens Aren’t Cold Hardy

Heat lamps can cause fire in chicken coops. Panel heaters are safer.

If you’ve got a few chooks in the coop that cannot tolerate the temps, you might need to consider adding a heat source to your coop. 

Typically, artificial heat sources are discouraged because they can be dangerous fire hazards. 

Additionally, heating your chicken coop could set your chickens up for failure if your electricity goes out. You see, your chooks won’t have had the chance to adapt to the cold winter temperatures. 

So plan accordingly, and if possible, do your best to allow your chickens to manage their own body temperature. 

With that being said, if you’ve determined that your beloved flock will indeed need a heater, you can find safer options like the PetNF Chicken Coop Heater

Prevent Drafts in Your Coop During Winter

Even more dangerous than cold temperature is a draft during bitterly cold weather.

Drafts can cause otherwise hardy chickens to become chilled, get frostbite, and contract respiratory problems. 

So before you even worry about the coop temperatures, test your coop to ensure your chickens are safe from rogue drafts. Look for nooks and crannies facing the direction winter weather most typically comes from.

With that being said, your coop should never be completely closed off. In other words, your chickens do need some ventilation. 

The trick is to make sure there is adequate airflow, but not where your chickens roost.

Give Your Chickens Fresh Water During Winter

One of the biggest challenges for chicken lovers is to keep water fresh and unfrozen 24/7. 

It’s a common misconception that chickens (or other animals for that matter) can eat snow and remain sufficiently hydrated. 

Don’t make this mistake, or you’ll end up with sick chickens. 

You can find heated waterers at your local supply store or online. And while heated waterers are generally safe, make sure you supply electricity to these waterers with fire safety and prevention in mind. 

Chicken Litter Options for Cold Winter Months

When bedding your chickens for winter, you have the unique opportunity to consider different litter options. 

You can simply choose to use straw or pine shavings (never use cedar as it is considered toxic for chickens).

But on top of your chosen litter, you can also employ the deep litter method in your chicken coop. 

This is a newly embraced method of bedding, which includes the accumulation of absorbent materials over time. 

In other words, you keep adding bedding to existing soiled bedding. Piling bedding, rather than removing soiled bedding, creates natural insulation against the frozen ground and a lovely compost for use later. A product that helps neutralize ammonia in the coop while remaining safe for garden use is Sweet PDZ Coop Refresher. We’ve included samples of this product in our Henny+Roo monthly supply and gift boxes for chicken keepers, and our subscribers have noted that it dramatically reduces odors.

The trick is to agitate the deep litter and add more clean bedding when needed so your chickens aren’t living in feces (which can create parasite and respiratory problems…among other things).

Speaking of parasites, since your chickens are all hunkered down together for the snowy months ahead, they are also more susceptible to sharing external parasites.

Routine fluffy-butt checks will help you identify and treat an external parasite problem before it’s out of control.

Frostbite Prevention for Chickens

Just because your chickens have big beautiful combs doesn’t mean they’ll contract frostbite during the winter. 

But if you’re worried, you can find products like Green Goo All Natural Poultry First Aid to help prevent and treat frostbite on your prize-winning rooster’s comb. 

Certain balms and salves help insulate your rooster’s comb so that it isn’t exposed directly to the bitter cold. Some even opt for a simple application of Vasoline if the forecast predicts sub-zero temps. 

Extra Protein and Treats To Keep Warm and Busy

The cold weather takes its toll on farm animals during the winter. And that’s because more energy is needed to stay warm; thus, adding extra protein to your flock’s diet helps your birds stay healthy and warm through blustery winter months. 

Provide chicken-friendly table scraps or scrambled eggs for your chickens as an extra snack to both boost energy and prevent boredom (which can also lead to pecking). 

Special treats like FlyGrubs or Henny & Roo’s Pecktacular Grains and Mealworms are always a hit in the henhouse, and during the winter, everyone could use a little extra to snack on. 

If you’ve done your due diligence and prepped your coop for winter, your chickens will come out the other side happy, healthy, and maybe even a little more portly than before. 

At Henny+Roo, we’re here to help support you and your clucks with monthly boxes filled with treats, tools, and valuable info that can help you raise happy and healthy chickens all year long. 

Avoid Coop Fires

Sadly, we are already reading of coops lost to fire caused by heat lamps. If you have cold hardy breeds suited for your climate, they do not need supplemental heat in the coop. Here in Northern IL, our issue is frozen water, and since we were given this panel heater from PetNF to try out, we decided to install it and hang the waterer nearby. It’s doing a great job of keeping their water from freezing, and in the spring, we will use it to heat the chick brooder. If a panel heater is on your Christmas list, find it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3ahmkB7

The Grub Life

An interview with Raoul Benavides, owner of Iowa Blue Farm

Raoul Benavides, Owner/Operator, Iowa Blue Farm

We were proud to feature Black Soldier Fly larvae from Iowa Blue Farm in our December box, and thought you’d like to get to know the owner, Raoul Benavides. We hope you enjoy learning about him and his business as much as we did!
-Your friends at Henny+Roo

Hi Raoul! How did you get started in this business and why are you passionate about BSF larvae?

I come from a long lineage of entrepreneurs. I am always searching for new ways to challenge myself. I wanted to do something tactile that was environmentally responsible. I think like a farmer and really love working on process based projects. Black Soldier Flies were a natural fit. (Learn more about Iowa Blue Farm here.)

What is your role at Iowa Blue Farm and how does your family support that?

I am the owner/operator. I wear all the hats. Of course, family and friends provided incredible amounts of support labor and feedback. I have had some really dear friends supporting me at the beginning. I did lots of experiments getting the flies to breed early on. I went from my basement to a 1000 square foot space and we are in the process of moving into a 10,000 square foot operation this month. From artists to designers to engineers, my team helped create the specialized gear needed to breed, feed, harvest, dry and package these very unique creatures.

Do you have any pets?

I have had a number of urban hens through out my life. Right now, I only have a lovely grouchy cat named Diego.

What’s your favorite part about your work?

 It’s incredibly rewarding. I get to manage and fine tune a whole life cycle of this beautiful insect and along the way lower the carbon footprint, provide jobs and feed chickens.

What’s surprised you about your business that you didn’t expect when you started?

At first, I didn’t really see the scale. This thing can be massive in cultural impact. I am hoping to open an indoor shrimp farm soon that runs entirely on Black Soldier Fly Larvae pellets. My dream is to turn the dried black soldier fly larvae into a small cookie that we can giveaway globally in order to end world hunger.

Big thanks to Raoul for sharing his work with us, and for providing his products, which we’re sure your flock will love, for our December boxes. Didn’t get one? We have just a few left in our Shop at hennyandroo.com, and for a limited time, you can save 10% sitewide with code CHICKENLOVE.