Where on your property should you put your chicken coop?
Most people when deciding to get chickens first focus on the type and size of their coop and what chicken breeds to buy. However, more importantly, where are you going to put your coop? It is not easy to relocate a chicken coop and run so think carefully about where you want to put it. The health and happiness of your flock (and you) depends upon it.
Here are 9 things to consider when determining the location of your coop and run.
Sun v. Shade
Chickens need both sun and shade and it is best to choose a location where they have both available to them. While new chicken owners generally seem most concerned about their birds getting too cold, chickens actually have a harder time with heat. You need to make sure the chickens are able to get out of the sun in the hot days of summer.
It is easy to provide shade for the chickens with man-made structures, but another method is to put the coop or part of the run in the shade of deciduous trees. That way, your flock will be shaded by the leaves in the summer and exposed to the sun in the winter when the trees are bare. If possible, position your coop where the birds can wake up to the sun on their coop in the morning and have shade in the afternoon when it is the hottest.
Chickens do not like wet ground and a wet run can get very stinky. Therefore, be sure that your coop and run drain quickly and are not prone to standing water. If possible, put your coop and run on level, high ground with a slight slope for drainage.
Trees are an important addition to any chicken run or free-range area. In addition to providing shade, trees bring in more food for the chickens, including bugs and berries, and provide protection from predators. Consider including evergreen shrubs or trees for your chickens to hide from predators during the winter.
Distance & Sightline from Your House
Your chicken coop should be close, but not too close, to your house.
Locate your chicken coop close enough to your house so you can easily take care of and visit them several times a day, especially in the winter and during inclement weather. If you live in a snowy climate, will you be able to easily shovel and reach your coop?
Also, if you are like me, I enjoy watching my animals. I like to be able to see them from my home and if I hear a commotion, perhaps due to a predator, I need to be able to get to the coop in time to help my chickens.
However, you don't want your coop too close to your house because, in rainy weather, the run can get stinky and you don't want that smell in your home. Also, chickens can be quite noisy, especially a rooster, so avoid locating the coop too near your home where it may disturb you. (Although, be prepared, if you have a rooster, they are loud buggers and can be heard quite far away. It is just a part of having a rooster.)
Be aware also that if you plan 0n free-ranging your chickens, the closer the coop is to your home, the closer the chickens will be doing their chicken activities. Chickens poop on porches and furniture and wreak havoc on flower beds. We actually, after years of allowing our chickens to free-range our property, stopped free-ranging them for this reason. While we loved seeing our chickens roam around, we no longer wanted poop on our outdoor furniture and had enough of the damage to our mulch and plantings.
Regulations governing chickens vary from town to town and thus, it is important you research any limitations to where you can locate your coop. How close to the neighbors can the coop be?
Also, consider that chickens can be somewhat smelly during wet times and loud all the time. Even hens, when singing their "I laid an egg" song, can be quite loud. Consider carefully how bothersome your chickens could be to your neighbors.
Chickens require that their water be changed every day and sometimes, in the hot months, more than one time a day. Make sure your coop is near a water source or within hose distance. You do not want to carry buckets of water long distances. That gets old real quick, especially during the winter.
While I don't recommend heating your coop because it is dangerous and unnecessary, you will need to be able to keep your water from freezing in the winter months. Make sure there is an electric supply within easy distance so you can hook up winter waterers or de-icers.
Storage and Supplies
Because you will be feeding your chickens daily, you want their food supply to be close to the coop. Do you have storage nearby? If you don't have a shed, you can use a garbage can holder like we do. Chicken feed bags are heavy, so make sure you can bring or drive the supplies easily to the location.
Do you plan on getting ducks?
Ducks, unlike chickens, need a large water source like a pond, stream or pool of water to be happy and healthy. If you plan on getting ducks and want to have them live with your chickens (as we do), think about what you will do for the ducks' water. If you choose to go the pool route, can you easily drain, clean and refill it?
Check out my post https://www.bloomsbirdsbees.com/post/do-ducks-need-a-pond to get my opinion on whether ducks need a pond.