The golden rule when buying a chicken house is to get the largest one you can afford. As the single biggest cost involved with keeping chickens it’s important to get this bit right at the start.  

A chicken house must provide shelter from the wind and rain, a dry floor, good amounts of natural light and protection from draughts but, at the same time, adequate ventilation. 

Position the house so that the door is sheltered from the prevailing weather, preferably with some shade cover.

The size of the house your birds will need is dependent on a number of factors  – how many birds, their size, the space available, your budget. As a guide, a simple ‘pent roof’-style house measuring 4’x3’ will be suitable for four or five large fowl or 6-7 bantams. Working up from this, allow a minimum of two square feet per bird for inside space. So a house measuring 6’x4’, for example, could happily accommodate 10-12 birds.

Wooden or plastic?
While the majority of poultry keepers seem to favour a traditionally-made, wooden henhouse, there’s a slowly growing number learning to appreciate the benefits of plumping for plastic chicken housing. 

Wood is the cheaper option, but it does have its downsides. For a start, the quality of the build counts for a lot; flat-packed imports from the Far East – although available at bargain prices – are best avoided if you want a house that’s going to last more than one winter. So buy from an established manufacturer.

The design of wooden houses and, in particular, their reliance on tongue and groove planking, makes them potentially awkward to clean and heaven-sent as far as chicken pests like red mite are concerned. 

Wooden houses also need periodic maintenance, and protection from rats and mice. 

On the other hand, a well-designed plastic henhouse is maintenance-free, lasts a lifetime, is very parasite unfriendly, easy to clean and its sectional construction means that any part can be replaced.

 

See here for more detail on plastic housing options
See here for more detail on wooden housing options

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