A Good Small Coop

Now that backyard chickens are so trendy, lots of companies are selling coops on-line and at feed stores, garden centers and even box stores. Most of these coops are too small for the number of chickens that they claim that they house. They are dark, poorly ventilated, and inappropriate for most climates.



With coops, size matters, and the more space the better. My preference is for walk-in coops. But, if you’re in an urban environment, on a tight lot, and need to maximize the footprint, then a raised coop that utilizes the space below can be used, if it is designed and built right. This one is done right.



Kara O’Brien, the builder is a home remodeler, and made use of discarded materials, from stair treads to windows and a door. Here is a photo of the coop from the other side, when it was halfway built. There’s light, ventilation and air space.


The run is not large enough as is, but Kara has expanded it. A coop like this is charming and a good home for hens.

For more ideas, go to my Small Coop Ideas Pinterest board. For specific dimensions and details that I recommend for small coops, read this post.


  1. I have an idea to share about waterers. We fill a plastic 2 gallon flower pot with sand leaving a couple ins. at the top. The plastic waterer sits nicely inside, This prevents it from both being tipped over and is the perfect ht. for the Hens to access it. We put it under the house part of our enclosure and it stays un-soiled. We have a feeder that my husband made that I like but I suppose this idea would work well for that as well. Simple but effective. :)

  2. That is one classy and sassy coop. Would like to see a pic when it’s finished. Wonder how many chickens she’ll put in there?

  3. I’d like to see how she expanded the run area because it looks like she doesn’t have much room to the property line. Mine is a similar size, 4×10 (elevated coop 4×4), and I have 3 hens. I’d like to get 2 chicks next spring when my current girls turn 2 so I’m deciding on how to add on a compost area to give them enough wing room.

  4. Hello Terry,
    my second time on your site. we have 4 hens. one started laying today, but did not go into the nesting box, but on the shavings under the roosting bar. how can we trained them to go iside the nesting box. we placed one fake egg inside each box. appreciate your reply. again thanks for having such great site!

    • My guess is she’ll get with the program soon. Don’t let them free-range until they’re laying in the nesting boxes, or they’ll pick hidden spaces again.

  5. we started off with the coop in the first image. website noted that it would fit 6 chickens, i disagree with that now. we had five chickens and they all roosted on top never inside. the girls have since been upgraded to a castle (we expanded space for them in our 20×20 shed) thanks to the recommendations i’ve read on your blog. i would go back & start with the raised ones first. really appreciate the info for a beginner :-)

    • Buying those badly built and designed prefab “coops” can be a costly and frustrating experience. Glad you stuck with your flock and figured out different housing for them.

  6. I have 11 chickens in that coop now, but the run I built is 400 sq. feet and then I attached a chunnel (chicken tunnel)that runs across the entire back of the property (and is about to turn the corner), that we built from free oak pallets, painted green and then covered in chicken wire. If you want to email me, I’m happy to share photos of the run and chunnel.