Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Review

Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Review

For this review, we were sent a free Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door to test. All opinions are our own and represent our own experience with this product.

 

In this article, we’ll cover our review of the automatic coop door when it’s installed in an Omlet chicken coop. For this review, we used our Eglu Cube.

 

In a subsequent review, we’ll show how we installed the same automatic door in a coop we built ourselves.

 

Below are our first impressions, testing results and overall recommendations! Read on to find out about our experience.

 

What it is

The Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is an all-in-one auto coop door, frame, motor, and programming panel. It can be used on the Eglu Cube or on your own chicken coop (you don’t need an Omlet coop to enjoy this product – it works with all coops).

 

omlet automatic chicken coop door grey

Manufacturer’s image

 

It’s plastic, with a motor, and comes with all the necessary hardware to install it. The electric panel that allows you to program the door requires AA batteries.

 

According to the website “Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door can be set to close at dusk and open at dawn. This setting will naturally follow the seasons.”

 

Although we did not test this feature, the door can be attached to hardware cloth and other wire so your chickens can easily access their run, if you want them to free range.

 

This product retails on the Omlet website for $189.99, with free shipping.

 

Where to buy Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door

You can purchase this door on Omlet’s website here (and shipping is free – always a good thing!).

 

What the company claims

Quoted directly from the Omlet website:

  • Easy to install, no maintenance required
  • Operated by light sensor or timer
  • Powered by battery
  • Improves coop security and insulation
  • Compatible with the Eglu Cube
  • Reliable in all weather conditions
  • Built-in safety sensors

 

Our experience

This is our third product we’ve tested from Omlet (we also tested the Eglu Go), and we were super excited to give the automatic coop doors a test drive! One thing you might notice is this section of our review is short – that’s because the Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door was very easy to install! 

 

We installed it in our Eglu Cube, which we reviewed a few years ago, and is still going strong (which says something for the craftsmanship of Omlet’s products!)

 

installing omlet automatic coop door

Taking apart our Eglu Cube to install the new coop door. The door comes with installation directions.

 

The Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door came with instructions that were easy to follow – so installation only took a few minutes. The chickens were a bit confused the first night – we had to open the door again for our barred rock rooster, who was a bit late to the show, and the door closed before he could get inside.

Omlet automatic coop door programming pad

The programming pad.

 

But the other chickens figured out quickly how to use it, and the door opened bright and early the next morning. The keypad that lets you program the door took a bit of reading the instructions and getting used to the different buttons, but once we figured it out, programming the door was a snap.

 

We also tested the manual feature, since our flock heads into the coop at different times at dusk. It worked well (even for me, who can’t figure out most new devices), and it’s nice to know we can open and close the door easily. (The Eglu Cube also has several other doors, so if we need to check on a flock mate, we don’t need to disarm the auto coop door). 

 

The next day, we tested the “Light Setting” which allows you to program the door to open at dawn and close at dusk. The door did open and close at the right times! (For more information about this setting, please consult Omlet’s website here).

Cochin bantam using Omlet Automatic chicken coop door

My cochin bantam hen was eager to test out the door (before we even installed the automatic door!)

Does Omlet’s Automatic Coop Door live up to its claims?

Yes! This door makes chicken keeping a breeze, and the door operates as expected. It was easy to install, and we appreciate all the safety features!

 

What we like

Door frame means easy installation with better security

The door comes with a frame – so even if you install it into a wooden coop, you won’t need to worry about framing it (without a frame, it can lead to security issues, and it’s one of our biggest qualms about past auto doors we reviewed.).

 

Better predator control

The door can’t easily be moved by predators. In some systems, predators like raccoons can easily lift the door. We’ve also had doors that don’t close all the way due to dirt build up. That does not seem to be the case with the Omlet Automatic Coop Door. 

 

Competitively priced

While we received this product for free to test, I would have bought it anyway. The price of $189.99 is very reasonable, and less expensive than other similar products on the market. It’s well worth the investment for some peace of mind!

 

What don’t we like

If I have to be nit picky – and this is a very nit picky thing – I would say it’s not super aesthetically pleasing. On our Eglu Cube, the operation panel sits on the outside of the coop, and the wires that connect from the door to the panel are hard to hide. However, realistically, this wouldn’t turn me off of this product because it’s easy to use and the chickens like it.

Omlet automatic coop door installed on outside of coop

Is it useful for chicken owners? 

Yes! Your flock will love this automatic coop door. We recommend Omlet’s Automatic Coop Door for flocks of all sizes and ages (just know that you’ll have to teach young chicks and ducklings to go into the coop before the door closes). The best part is that it automates opening and closing the coop, so you can sleep soundly at night and not worry about predators!

 

What to watch out for:

Had to take Eglu Cube apart

We tested this on an Eglu Cube, and to install it, we had to take the roof off of the coop and crawl inside the opening. So, if you have an Omlet coop, you’ll have an extra step.  But it only took us a few minutes. 

 

Haven’t tested it on geese or turkeys

We don’t have geese or turkeys on our farm, so we couldn’t test it with larger fowl. However, the door is very large, and we’ve seen our full-sized goat slip through tighter spaces, so I’m confident all classes of poultry can easily use the Omlet Automatic Coop Door.

 

Do night check for stragglers

Because the door automatically closes, you’ll have to check for stragglers. Another option is to have the door close well after dark (say, 30 minutes). In areas with a lot of predators, this isn’t ideal, however, so my recommendation is to just do a night check and herd in any latecomers.

 

Summary

The Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is a great addition to any coop, and your flock will love it!

Automatic Coop Door Install: Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Review

Automatic Coop Door Install: Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Review

For this review, we were sent a free Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door to test. All opinions are our own and represent our own experience with this product.

 

In this article, we’ll show how we installed the Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door in a coop we built ourselves.

 

(We reviewed the automatic coop door when it’s installed in an Omlet chicken coop here.)

 

Below are our results, how we installed it, and overall recommendations! 

 

What it is

The Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is a heavy-duty plastic automatic coop door, frame, motor, and programming panel unit. You can install it in your Eglu Cube or on your own chicken coop (we show you below how to install it on your own coop). If your chickens free range, you can also install the door to hardware cloth and other wire so your chickens can easily access your lawn.

 

omlet automatic chicken coop door grey

Manufacturer’s image

 

Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door comes with all the necessary hardware to install it – all you’ll need is a screwdriver. The programming panel requires AA batteries.

 

The panel can be set to open and close at a specific hour, or you can use the light setting to close at dusk and open at dawn. This setting will naturally follow the seasons – no additional programming necessary. You will still need to replace batteries regularly.

 

This product retails on the Omlet website for $189.99, with free shipping.

 

Where to Buy Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door

You can purchase this door on Omlet’s website here (and shipping is free – always a good thing!).

 

What the company claims

Quoted directly from the Omlet website:

  • Powered by battery
  • Can be installed in any coop
  • Easy to install, no maintenance required
  • Operated by light sensor or timer
  • Built-in safety sensors
  • Reliable in all weather conditions
  • Improves coop security and insulation

 

Installing the Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Into Our DIY Coop

We built this duck coop a while back, and were super excited to receive the Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door to test! Ducks tend to have a harder time getting in and out of our coops (they can’t jump a well as chickens, and don’t have quite the same leg strength). So, we needed a safe and easy way for them to get in and out of their new home.

 

Coop security is also a big concern – while our existing coop is predator proof, we need our new coop to also protect our ducks. Unlike chickens, ducks can’t roost or fly away from predators. At the same time, especially during the summer, they can’t be locked up in their coop for hours after sunup – it’s too hot!

 

So, the Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is a great solution to several problems on our farm. We can program it to open and close at specific times, and our ducks can have access to their run – long before we’re awake!

 To install the Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door, we used:

 

  • The door kit Omlet sent us
  • An electric screwdriver
  • A sawzall to create a door opening

 

automatic coop door

Unwrapping the door from its box

Creating a door opening

To install the door kit, you’ll first need to create a door opening (this is where your ducks will actually exit the coop). To make this super easy, just trace the door opening in the Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door.

automatic coop door install

We used a marker to trace the size of the door

 

Then, use the sawzall to make the opening.

automatic coop door

The finished door opening:

automatic coop door

Naturally, my daughter had to “help out”

Installing the Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door kit

The kit comes with all the hardware you’ll need. For this part, we followed the directions in the instruction manual that accompanied the door kit. They  were easy to follow – so installation only took a few minutes. 

Programming the Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door

While the sunlight feature is a nice option, because our ducks need to be herded into the coop every night, we programmed the door to open and close at specific times so we could better plan our day. (For more information about the daylight setting, please consult Omlet’s website here).The keypad took a bit of reading the instructions and getting used to the different buttons, but once we figured it out, programming the door was a snap. 

 

automatic coop door programming panel

The programming panel. It’s weather-proof!

 

The finished install:

automatic coop door

We did it!

Does Omlet’s Automatic Coop Door live up to its claims?

Yes! This door is very easy to install in any coop, and the door operates as expected. Our ducks figured out how to use it, and we’re happy to know our ducks are safe and sound at night.

 

What we like

Door frame means easy installation with better security

We love how easy this was to install and that’s because it comes “pre-hung” with a door frame. It’s also an added safety feature: without a frame, it’s easier for predators and scavengers to maneuver around the door and enter your coop.

 

Better predator control

The door can’t easily be moved by predators. In some systems, predators like raccoons can easily lift the door. We’ve also had doors that don’t close all the way due to dirt build up. That does not seem to be the case with the Omlet Automatic Coop Door. 

 

Competitively priced

While we received this product for free to test, I would have bought it anyway. The price of $189.99 is very reasonable, and less expensive than other similar products on the market. As far as DIY coop doors go, it’s well worth the investment for some peace of mind!

 

What don’t we like

There’s nothing we really don’t like about this system. But there are some things to watch out for (read below).

 

Is it useful for chicken owners? 

Yes! Your flock will love this automatic coop door. We recommend Omlet’s Automatic Coop Door for flocks of all sizes and ages (just know that you’ll have to teach young chicks and ducklings to go into the coop before the door closes). The best part is that it automates opening and closing the coop, so you can sleep soundly at night and not worry about predators!

 

What to watch out for:

Be sure to install it on thicker wood, or have metal cutters handy

We noticed that some of the screws are very long – about 4” long. After installing the automatic door, the end of the screws were visible on the outside of the coop, which can be dangerous. To remedy this, we had to remove the extra bit.

 

Door might be a bit small for some ducks, or a mass exodus

The door opening is quite small – it’s definitely large enough for a single chicken or duck to use. Our ducks like to leave their coop in a mass exodus (meaning, all at once, preferably with lots of arguing about who will go first). It’s impossible for more than one duck to use the door at the same time. So, if your ducks are similar, be prepared for some loud, angry quacking. 

 

Do night check for stragglers

Because the door automatically closes, you’ll have to check for stragglers. Another option is to have the door close well after dark (say, 30 minutes). In areas with a lot of predators, this isn’t ideal, however, so my recommendation is to just do a night check and herd in any latecomers.

 

Summary

The Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is a great addition to any coop, and your flock will love it!

DIY Automatic Coop Door With ChickenGuard

DIY Automatic Coop Door With ChickenGuard

Building your own DIY automatic coop door is easy with a ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener!

 

(For this article, ChickenGuard provided us with a free Automatic Coop Door Opener. This article reflects my own personal opinions using this product).

 

With the hot summers and chilly winters (with lots of freezing rain) in Southeast Missouri, making sure my flock as easy access in and out of their coop is very important.

 

That’s why a few years ago, we installed an automatic coop door. It worked great….until the goat broke it one day.

 

Since then, the door has stayed silent, and my patient flock had to wait until I made it outside to let them loose for the day.

 

That is, until ChickenGuard asked if I’d review their Automatic Coop Door Opener.

 

chickenguard automatic coop door

They previously sent me an automatic opener and door kit (read that review here). 

 

Since we already had an automatic door that didn’t work, I was excited to test out the Automatic Coop Door Opener and see if we could rig it with our existing door and make it functional again.

 

Since the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener works with any pre-existing door that can easily slide up and down, I had a good feeling it would solve our problems. 

 

And since it’s also programmable, my hens could enjoy the weather long before we woke up!

 

Here’s how we combined our existing door with the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener – and how you can do it with your hen house!

 

Building Your Own Automatic Coop Door

 

For the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener to work, you’ll need to make or purchase door that slides up and down. We already had one, but to make your own, you’ll need:

  • A sawzall or other tool to cut an access door into your coop
  • 1×2 boards to frame the access door (enough for 2 frames)
  • Wood to build your new door from (a 12-inch x 12-inch piece of wood works well. An easy solution is to use the piece leftover from cutting the access door).
  • Screws to secure the frame (the length will depend on your door, but make sure they won’t stick out and hurt your chickens)
  • An eye hook

 

For your door, you’ll want to make sure the color matches your coop (you can either make it the same color, or a complementary contrasting color).

 

Framing the door is important – on the outside, it’ll make your coop look more finished. 

 

automatic chicken coop door

Our DIY Coop Door framed on the outside looks good and helps keep predators out.

 

On the inside, it’ll prevent predators from easily pushing the door out of the way to enter your coop. 

 

The ChickenGuard will only do so much – it’ll open and close the door. To ensure your coop is 100% predator proof, framing the entire area is necessary.

 

You will need to leave enough space between the frames so the coop door can slide up and down. 

automatic chicken coop door

The 1/2 inch grove between the inner frame and outer frame lets the door easily slide up and down.

The gap size will depend on the piece of wood you use. The pre-existing door we had left about a ½ inch gap between the frames.

 

Installing the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener

Once your coop access door is framed, adding the automatic door opener is a snap.

 

To the top of the coop door, drill in the eye hook – you’ll loop the string from the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener through it. We simply tied ours to the eye hook. The motor in the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener raises and lowers the door.

 

chicken guard coop door opener

 

The coop door will automatically rise and fall using the string. It seems simple, but it works VERY well. 

 

We’ve been using this product for months with no problems – and our flock is VERY happy.

 

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Programming & Testing The ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener

 

Follow the directions in the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener manual to program the product. It’s simple, and you only need to press a few buttons. 

 

In our previous review of the self-locking door kit, we had it installed in 10 minutes. We set ours to open at 7 AM, but we change the closing time based on the season.

 

To test whether your new automatic coop door works, simply press the buttons on the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener – if your coop door slides up and down, it works! 

 

You can purchase the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener on Amazon here.

 

If we were to install a 4th coop door (yes, we have quite a few!), I would purchase the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener. It’s worth a little extra effort to create easy access for your chickens to get in and out of their home without relying on their humans.

ChickenGuard Self Locking Door Kit Review

ChickenGuard Self Locking Door Kit Review

For this review, we were sent a ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit to test. All opinions expressed are our honest review of this product.

 

In this article, we’ll cover our review of the self-locking door kit and standard automatic door opener.

 

In a subsequent review, we’ll show how we installed the standard automated door opener on a door we built ourselves.

 

Below are our first impressions, testing results and overall recommendations! Read on to find out about our experience.

 

(You can read about all the products we’ve reviewed right here).

chicken guard door kit

Manufacturer’s image of door kit

 

chicken coop door opener

Manufacturer’s image of standard door opener with LCD screen

What it is

The Chicken Guard Self-Locking Door Kit is an aluminum door with runners intended to be used with a standard automatic door opener. The door is 10 inches by 12 inches with 23.5 inch runners, and the door raises and lowers itself on the runners.

 

The standard door opener is a motorized device that can be programmed to open and close the door so your chickens can access their run at the designated time and be locked securely in their coop at night.

 

To program times into the Chicken Guard door opener, you use an LCD screen with buttons.

 

Unlike other automatic chicken coop doors we’ve tested, Chicken Guard door opener runs on 4 AA batteries. It also has an option to run via a USB cable and charger.

 

Both the self-locking door kit and the automatic door opener prevent predators from getting into your chicken coop and attacking your chickens. 

 

The Chicken Guard Self-Locking Door Kit currently retails on Amazon for $294.99

 

chicken guard coop door

The Chicken Guard coop door in action. We will have to frame the doorway.

 

Where to buy the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit 

The Chicken Guard Self-Locking Door Kit can be purchased on Amazon right here. It’s gotten several 5 star reviews.

 

What the company claims

  • Convenient opening and closing of chicken coop doors
  • Long battery life
  • Save you from getting up in the morning and protect your chickens from predators. 
  • Can be open automatically or manually. 
  • Simple to setup with no complicated wiring or cabling.

 

Our experience

We were excited to test the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit! 

 

We live in the South, and I always worry over summer whether the chickens are too hot. With this automatic coop door, we could let them out at 5 am instead of after we wake up.

 

When we received the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit, we first unpacked the full kit, which came with directions. All the parts were included, and the directions were easy to follow. When we set out to install the door, we felt confident.

 

We first had to select a spot in the chicken coop for a new door. We have a side run in addition to the main run, but it can’t be accessed easily by our flock.

 

So we decided to install the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit so the flock could use it in the early morning hours before we get up.

 

The door is made of aluminum with plastic runners, and seemed sturdy. Installing the runners was easy, and the kit comes with the hardware you’ll need. We didn’t forget to bring our electric screwdriver!

 

chicken guard coop door opener

The programmable opener with LCD screen and buttons

 

After installing the door, we then added the opener to the wall, and attached it to the door itself. The door lifts up via a string attached to the door opener, which raises and lowers the string at the pre-designated times. While it seems simple, it’s very effective.

 

To program it, we followed the directions in the manual (it’s very simple), and in the span of 10 minutes, our new automatic coop door was installed!

 

Because we installed it in the middle of the day, we left the door open, but programmed it to shut at 8 PM. Because it was summer when we performed our test, there was still enough light and no predators around. However, if it were winter, we would have programmed it to close earlier in the day.

 

The door closed at the designated time, but none of the chickens used it (they’re trained to go through a different door) since they hadn’t yet realized there was a new entry portal into their coop.

 

The door was silent, but operated as promised.

 

The following day, I noticed my chickens were all out when I woke up. We had programmed the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit to open at 5 AM.

 

The door and automatic opener worked!

 

My chickens and ducks were happy – they could wander around during the cooler hours of early morning, and didn’t have to wait for me to wake up.

 

By the following evening, the chickens and particularly the ducks understood they could go back into the coop at sundown via the automatic door. The ducks appreciated the door was at their height.

 

Note that since our coop is a large walk-in, we installed our kit on the inside. If your coop is smaller, you will need to install the programmable door opener on the outside of your coop. We did not test the weather-proofing of the door opener.

 

Does Chicken Guard’s Automated Chicken Coop Door Opener live up to its claims?

Yes! This door and the opener are convenient, operate as stated, and lets our flock out at the proper time. The chickens quickly learned how to use it, and appreciate getting out of their coop earlier in the morning. It fully locks at night, and we don’t need to worry about predators getting into the coop.

 

What don’t we like

The only qualm we have with the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit is that the opening (not the door itself, but the opening in the wall of your coop) will need to be framed. 

 

Although the door locks tight and predators cannot get in, we can still see daylight between the door kit and the wall of the coop. Framing the opening with 1×2 boards and brad nails will prevent this.

 

Is it useful for chicken owners? 

Yes! We recommend the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit for flocks of all sizes with chickens at least 8 weeks of age (younger chickens that don’t yet roost or who do not have older chickens who will return to the coop at sundown should still be herded into the coop to ensure they’re locked safely away).

 

The best part is that it automates opening and closing the coop. If you want to go away for a weekend, you won’t need to worry about your flock being safe at night. If you live in a very hot area, your flock will have the freedom to leave the coop early in the morning, and you can sleep in.

 

Flock size doesn’t matter with this product – we tested it with our very large flock of both chickens and ducks (and the goat), and they all understand how it works. 

 

What to watch out for

Resetting the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener for winter hours

You will want the coop to close at sundown, so you will need to reprogram it based on the season. It’s best to not close the door in the dark, since predators like skunks, rats, raccoons, and opossums start their prowling just after sundown. 

 

Keep a regular door in case of stragglers

We have lots of stragglers (especially ducks) who like to wander around at sundown. You’ll still want a regular door, or you’ll have to install the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit on the outside of your coop so you can manually raise the door for stragglers.

 

When you install the automatic door opener, make sure it and the string are directly above the door

 

chicken guard coop door with spring

It’s important you install the opener directly above the door for maximum use and longer battery life.

 

This is just a tip – you can learn from our user error. 

 

We initially installed the door opener so it wasn’t perpendicular to the ground and directly above where it attaches to the door. In other words, the string had a slight bend to it, because the door opener was 1 inch too far to the left.

 

Because of this, we noticed that the door didn’t raise as quickly, and it likely would run the batteries down faster. So to stop wear and tear on the motor and preserve battery power, we had to adjust its location.

 

Keep in mind the season and weather

Remember that the ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit will open regardless of weather, so if you want chickens to stay inside for any reason (freezing rain, for example), you will have to manually turn off the door the night prior.

 

Summary

The ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener with Self Locking Door Kit is a wonderful addition to any coop, and well worth the investment if you want peace of mind. It lives up to its promises, is easy to install, and the chickens appreciate being let out of the coop earlier in the day!

Build A Chicken Coop That’s 100% Predator Safe

Build A Chicken Coop That’s 100% Predator Safe

Building a chicken coop – or at least providing a safe home – is a task we take on the moment we bring home chickens for the first time.

 

With a such a huge task like this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed – especially after you realize that your new feathered friends are a meal for hungry predators.

 

In this article, I’ll take you step by step and answer all your “how to build a chicken coop” questions.

 

Whether you’re using small or large chicken coop plans, or if you’re adventurous enough to tackle a walk in chicken coop, we’ll give you enough details so crafting your chicken house is easy peasy.

 

Build A Chicken Coop & Keep Out Predators In 11 Easy Steps

  1. Choose chicken coop plans that allow at least 10 square feet of space per chicken. It’s okay to alter them for your needs.
  2. Your ideal coop should also be at least 8 feet tall so you can easily clean the coop
  3. Add roosts at least 6 feet off the ground so your chickens are protected at night
  4. Before building, decide on a location – it should be partly shaded if you live in a warm climate.
  5. You can use recycled materials or new.
  6. Screws make it easier to correct mistakes, and are stronger than nails. Use an electric screwdriver or nail gun to speed up building a coop.
  7. Add an automatic coop door so your chickens are safe at night
  8. To keep them safe from predators, the run should be at least 8 feet high, and made of hardware cloth or chicken wire.
  9. Secure chicken wire with industrial staples or screws and washers.
  10. Add chicken wire underground to prevent predators that dig.
  11. Add 1 nesting box for every 3 chickens (more on this below)

 

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Chicken Coop?

Chickens are incredibly low maintenance. You can build a coop for free using reclaimed materials, or spend $5000 and up (especially if you’re using chicken coop plans for 12 chickens), depending on the size, features, materials, and furnishing.

 

It goes without saying that building a DIY coop would likely be more cost-effective, especially when using recycled materials.

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You’ll need to buy:

  • Wood
  • Nails or screws
  • A hammer (or nailing gun, which is what we use)
  • Roofing materials (using corrugated tin makes it easy and creates a nice finished product, but you can also use wood and shingles)
  • Flooring, depending on whether you’ll have a floor in your coop or not.
  • Circular saw for cutting wood
  • Chicken wire or hardware cloth for windows and the run

 

Of course, you have to assess your strengths and capabilities in handling power tools too. You wouldn’t want to lose a finger, right?

 

Pallets are also a free way to build a chicken coop (just make sure they’re safe to use). You can get these from local businesses (just be sure to ask whether you can take them).

 

You can find a lot of inspiration about how to build a chicken coop out of pallets with my free plan ideas here.

 

Do Chickens Need a Coop?

While the idea of having chickens roam around your backyard day in, day out is what dreams are made of, you’re not the only one watching your hens.

 

Chicken predators are a big issue when it comes to taking care of our flocks.

 

Quite at the bottom of the food chain, our fluffy butts are hunted by animals morning to night, both from the air and land, and from the water if there’s an alligator swamp nearby.

 

Aside from that, chickens also need a place to stay in during the cold winter months and during inclement weather. Nothing is more dangerous to your flock’s health than the cold and damp!

 

You can find different free chicken coop blueprints and plans with hen houses for flocks as small as 2 and even specific chicken coop plans for 6 chickens online – so there’s really no excuse to not build a chicken coop for your feathered friends.

 

You can find 55 free small and large chicken coop plans here.

 

How Much Room Do Chickens Need In A Coop?

The rule of thumb is 10 square feet of space per chicken, although more is better. This is true whether you’re wondering “how big should a coop be for 20 chickens?” Particularly since chickens will poop everywhere, and soon you’ll have a mucky mess in your run. The more space they have, the less they’ll scratch their area to dirt.

 

Exercise is important for chickens and it’s not really in their DNA to stay indoors and knit. It’s part of their personal care to spend time and figure out how to peck a worm from the ground!

 

Do Chickens Need To Free Range?

This is a common question, and can help you decide how big to build a chicken coop for your backyard. While chickens would love to free range and get supplements to their diet from mother nature herself, there are a few issues with safety (i.e. foxes and coyotes). Also, your hens might decide to hide their eggs if they’re allowed to free range for long periods.

 

Plenty of chickens are happy living in their coop and run full time, and so you should build a coop and run that’s large enough to safely house your flock full time.

 

Do Free Range Chickens Need A Coop?

Free range chickens need a run for training, management, and bad weather (and even shade in hot weather). Even when free-ranged, you still want your chicken to roost and lay in one place. Ideally, that would be a chicken coop with a run – and learning how to build a chicken run is no different than building a coop.

 

How To Build A Chicken Coop Out Of Pallets?

You’ll find that tackling chicken coop plans for 50 chickens can be scary to the pockets.

 

But not if you find the right materials! Pallet wood can be recycled into a cute coop, especially since they’re made from lumber that’s designed to be a sturdy transport structure.

 

Thinking of using these materials to build your chicken coop is not a crazy idea.

 

You can break the pallets down and start building the chicken coop based on the design that you chose. You can resize the pallet, or keep them the way they are for a rustic, shabby-chic look.

 

How Many Chickens Can I Fit In My Coop?

A frequent questions I get is “How many chickens can you put in a 4×8 coop?”

 

There are a lot of websites advertising that 4ft x 8ft coops can house 15-20 chickens. This isn’t really true. Your chickens should have about 10 square feet of space per hen. So, a 4×8 coop with be comfortable enough for 3 normal size birds (araucanas or speckled sussex chickens) and 4-5 bantam silkie hens. It wouldn’t be large enough for larger breeds like brahma chickens, though.

 

Just remember that these are general guidelines – what YOUR coop needs depends on the individual personalities of your fluffy butts. However, as a general rule, chickens like space, and the more, the better. Like every other animal, they have different personalities so personal space is important.

 

Bantams require less space compared to heavy breeds. Try to take the size of the breed into consideration when wondering “How big should a coop be for 20 chickens?” or more.

 

Here’s some other common questions:

What size of coop do I need for 10 chickens? – Ideally 100 square feet.

How much room do you need for 12 chickens? – 120 square feet is best.

What size coop do you need for 6 chickens? – 60 square feet so they have enough space.

What size coop do I need for 8 chickens? – 80 square feet is ideal.

 

How Tall Should My Chicken Coop Be?

Realistically, you’ll need to clean your chicken house– right? So, it’s best if you can easily get in and out of a walk in chicken coop. In other words, your coop should be tall enough that you can walk inside. Additionally, you’ll want your chickens safe from predators, right? The taller the better – your chickens will roost at dusk, and they’re less likely to become a meal for a predator if they’re 5-6 feet in the air.

 

What Should Be Inside A Chicken Coop?

At a minimum, you’ll want chicken feeders and waters, nesting boxes, and roosting bars. Adding bedding such as shavings, hay, or straw on the floor helps provide a clean living area. You can also include toys, a droppings board (to make manure clean up easier), and even a roll away nest for easier egg collection.

 

You can get a full list here.

 

How Many Nesting Boxes Does A Hen Need?

When building your coop, a good general rule is 1 nesting box per 3 hens. However, you’ll find that your hens will all likely lay in the same box, and they might even fight over them!

 

How Many Nesting Boxes Do I Need For 20 Chickens?

Based on experiences in the farm, 6 boxes would be enough for 20 chickens. They might only use two of those and making one nesting box for each hen is overkill.

 

You can find out more about nesting boxes in our article here.

 

How Do You Clean A Chicken Coop?

Want to do it right? I have a full article here (and all-natural coop spray recipes here and a coop refresher recipe here). Here’s some additional tips!

  • Use a garden hoe for roosting bars – chicken poop all the time when sleeping. Run the hoe over the bars and you’ve got a clean slate!
  • The hoe magic also works for nesting boxes. Pull out whatever material you used as a bedding with the hoe. Replace with bedding and don’t forget your nesting herbs!
  • A rake, stall pick, and a shovel will come in handy for the floor. Dried poop can be as tough as concrete so be prepared with your muscles. You can use a hose to soften it up too!
  • Vinegar can be a friendly cleaning agent. After scraping everything, slosh pure or diluted vinegar and brush. Rinse and air dry!
  • DO NOT use chlorine or bleach – it will mix with the ammonia in your flock’s urine. You’ll then create a very dangerous gas! It’s best to stick with all natural solutions for cleaning your coop.

 

As stated before, you should build a chicken coop tall enough so you can easily clean it.

 

How Long Can You Leave Chickens In Coop?

It’s safest to leave them in a coop with enough food and water for no more than 24-48 hours in temperatures less than 70 degrees F. Over 80 degrees F, it’s not safe to leave them locked in a coop at all because they might get heat stroke or suffocate.

 

Chickens have a mind of their own and are quite self sufficient. However, we’ve taught them to rely on us for food and water. And the longer they’re locked up, the more likely they’ll develop bad habits and respiratory issues from urine and dust.

 

If you’re planning a vacation, it’s best to call a chicken sitter to look after your feathered babies!

 

How Do I Keep My Chickens Warm In The Winter?

If you plan to build a chicken coop, you’ll want to make sure it’s warm enough during freezing temperatures. There are some effortless steps with big-time effects that you can do to keep your chickens warm during winter months.

  • Close the gaps – make sure that there are not drafts to minimize wind chill. Check gaps every year especially when the coop has been their shelter for more than 5 years.
  • Petroleum jelly against frostbitewattles and combs are susceptible to frostbite. A great way to prevent this from happening is using grandma’s answer to all your problems – PETROLEUM JELLY. Cover these areas and they’ll be safe.
  • Let them cuddle – Chickens roost together. They share and generate heat this way. Giving them enough space to roost together would keep them warm. Also make sure that it is at least a feet above the ground to prevent contact with the cold ground.
  • Deep litter works! – This isn’t just about not cleaning the litter. Deep litter bedding is a well managed process that if done right would add to the heat the chickens need. What you have to do is to sprinkle tree shavings like pine or other organic matter over the floor. Use a rake to stir it. Regularly top up with shavings. Once the litter forms a compost layer, it will help insulate the coop. Also, the compost has good microbes that eat the bad bacteria from the litter.

 

Hopefully this article has given you lots of ideas to build a chicken coop and keep out predators (without getting completely overwhelmed by the process). Have a question? Leave a comment below!

 




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