The 10 Best Hen Houses
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in July of 2018. You don’t necessarily have to be a farmer to keep chickens or other small animals on your property. One of these hen houses will shelter your fowl from inclement weather and provide protection from prowling animals, like foxes, raccoons and coyotes. Most of these structures also feature nesting boxes to facilitate egg laying, a small run for exercise, and perches for sleep and relaxation. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 10, 2020:
Between widespread availability issues and poor ratings, the only reasonable course of action during this round of updates was building these rankings back up from scratch, to feature all new options. The seven previous choices we eliminated were the ChickenCoopOutlet Deluxe, Lazymoon Outdoor, Olymstore Coop, SnapLock Formex, Tangkula Backyard, Tangkula Garden and Tangkula Poultry Cage, and the 10 new selections we added included options like the ChickenCoopOutlet Outdoor Cage – a 260-square-foot run that can make a serviceable expansion for existing hen houses, the PawHut Patio Space — a painted model that looks a bit more modern than some of the unfinished-wood options in this category, and the Pets Imperial Green Ritz — which is made of tongue-and-groove treated timbers and sports an eye-catching, rounded run area.
A few things to think about for this category:
Capacity: This is a bit of a tricky consideration, as some would describe it as a matter of opinion. Your average holistic-lifestyle hobby farmer’s ideas on how much space chickens need will vary drastically from the opinions of your garden-variety factory farmer. For the purposes of these rankings, we assumed that a reasonably sized run would provide four square feet per bird, and even among hobbyists the general consensus seems to be that this much space is humane, but I’m sure some free-range advocates would still call that animal abuse.
You also need to think about the size of breed you’re housing, and how many nesting spots your house provides. Ultimately, you might need to do a bit of your own research, to decide what the reasonable population capacity of your hen house will be. If you’re not sure, we suggest starting small and seeing how it goes; expanding your flock in the future is easier than expanding your coop.
Clean Up: The sound of a rooster crowing in the morning, and the taste of fresh eggs at breakfast, all seems very picturesque, but in practice these birds are messy. If you don’t stay on top of cleanup, your coop can get to be quite disgusting, quite fast. So, with that in mind, select a hen house that makes maintenance easy.
Many options – such as the Petmate Cape Cod and Exacme Lovupet 1305 – include a pull-out tray that simplifies the process of retrieving droppings off the floor of the hen house. Others – such as the PawHut Patio Space and Friday Discount Poultry Cage – have hinged roofs that make it easy to get in for a clean up from above.
Security: As important as providing your flock with ample space and clean quarters is, neither luxury will do your birds any good if you can’t prevent hungry predators from penetrating their home’s defenses.
While some models – like the Exacme Lovupet 1305 and Tangkula Animal Cage – feature barrel-bolt latches that will keep most critters out, cunning creatures like raccoons have been known to get past these devices, so don’t think that your birds aren’t at risk just because these mechanisms are in place.
A safer option to consider would be something outfitted with hasps – like the nesting boxes on the Lazy Buddy Chick Cage – which can be secured by a padlock, which is very unlikely to be compromised — even by the most impressive of racoons.
Note that none of our selections for this category are 100% animal proof. Depending on your location, and which predators you’re trying to fend off, extra measures – such as reinforcing wire, adding locks and adding a solid floor to guard against digging – may be necessary to ensure the safety of your hens.
Carolina Coops If you're looking for an option that can accommodate a larger brood, check out this North Carolina company's selection of walk-in coops. It ships nationwide, with curb-side delivery available in many areas, and even takes on custom projects. carolinacoops.com
The Smart Chicken Coop Not only does this California company offer an attractive selection of backyard-friendly hen houses, but it also has a range of clever add-ons available, making it easy to automate everything from feeding your birds to opening and closing the door to their coop every day. thesmartchickencoop.com