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What Are the Different Types of Backyard Chicken Coops?

Backyard chicken coops come in various styles, from the traditional wooden barn-like structures to modern eco-friendly designs. They range from simple A-frames to elaborate multi-level enclosures, each tailored to suit different flock sizes, climates, and backyard aesthetics. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned poultry keeper, there's a coop to fit your needs. Curious about which coop could be your chickens' next home? Let's explore together.
C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

The three main types of backyard chicken coops are stationary coops, tractors, and small coops that can be lifted and moved from one area to another. In terms of design, many backyard chicken coops feature traditional farmhouse architecture and color schemes, though there are also modern, igloo-shaped coops that focus more on function than form. Coops may come with runs which allow chickens to spend time outside in a confined area or may open up into an unfenced yard or farm. The size of chicken coops varies considerably from tiny chicken houses made to hold a couple of hens to large structures that house dozens of birds.

The most common types of backyard chicken coops are stationary coops. These structures are usually built in a person's backyard because once they are constructed, they are too large and heavy to move. Typically, these coops are large enough to house a dozen or more hens and are elevated off the ground by the use of posts which keep the coop dry and the chickens safe from predators. A door, sometimes large enough to allow a person to walk through, makes the interior of these coops easy to access to collect eggs and to clean. A fenced chicken run may be attached to this type of coop so that backyard chickens do not escape into a neighboring yard.

A small chicken coop is best for people who just have a few birds.
A small chicken coop is best for people who just have a few birds.

One of the other popular types of backyard chicken coops is the chicken tractor. These coops have a small enclosed henhouse and a larger fenced off area so the chickens can forage outside without escaping. In a chicken tractor, the entire structure is placed on wheels so that it can be moved from one part of the backyard to another. This is very useful because a group of chickens will turn a patch of grass into a patch of dirt in a few weeks, so moving them from one spot to another allows the chickens access to fresh grass while keeping the lawn safe from damage.

Small, portable backyard chicken coops are also popular among people who have only a few chickens. These coops may open into the yard or may be attached to a fenced run. Often they are made out of plastic because wooden coops are heavy, even when they are small. Plastic coops are often shaped like igloos and come with sliding doors so that the chickens can be confined at night if there are predators in the area.

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Discussion Comments


@JessicaLynn - I'm not surprised some local ordinances don't permit chicken coops. I can just imagine what my neighbors would say if this was allowed in my area. I imagine they could crow about property values and the "image" of the neighborhood.

Still, I think a backyard chicken coop is a great idea. I think I would have especially loved something like this when I was a kid! I can just imagine how great it would be for science projects and especially for teaching biology to home-schooled children.


A few of my friends have backyard chicken coops. They are passionate about healthy eating, and prefer to have free range eggs from chickens they know are well fed and happy. My friends tend to favor the tractor style chicken coop because they like to move the coop around every now and then.

I think having chickens sounds neat, but keep in mind you can't do it in every area. In some areas zoning doesn't permit keeping "farm animals" in a neighborhood. So if anyone is thinking about getting a backyard chicken coop, check your local ordinances first!


Backyard chickens are great but I think a lot of people rush into getting them. It is harder than it looks to take care of chicken and there are tons for common problems that creep up which no one would expect.

Here is an example from my own experience. At the time this happened I had about 13 chicken living in one stationary coop. One of the chickens caught some kind of disease and began to get sick rapidly. It feather fell out and it was lethargic until it eventually died. I chalked it up to bad luck and carried on until another one of the chickens developed the same symptoms.

Within 2 weeks they were all dead. So now I had no chickens and I had to deal with 13 chicken corpses, no easy in a city. maybe I could have taken one of the chickens to a vet but I don't have that kind of money, especially to treat all 13. I couldn't do anything and doing nothing led to their death. I never would have thought I'd end up in a situation like that.


There is a guy down the block from me who has one of those house where there is just junk and crazy stuff scattered everywhere. My wife calls it the Pee Wee Herman house.

Anyway, he has a backyard chicken coop that he has designed to look like a Victorian mansion. It has incredible detail and a nice paint job. He built the whole thing himself. Inside it looks just like a normal chicken coop but from the outside you would think it was a dollhouse. Its not an idea that I would have had but I guess its kind of cool.


A friend of mine just built a movable chicken coop out of scrap lumber he was able to salvage from the alleys around his house.

Before he just had a coop and then the chickens would roam around his fenced in backyard. This worked for a while but slowly the chickens started to disappear, either because they escaped or were killed by other animals.

Now the coop lets the chicken run down into a kind of small run. They can pick and scratch in one area for a day or two and then he moves it to a different part of his yard so it doesn't get too run down. Its a pretty clever system and so far none of the chickens has disappeared.

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    • A small chicken coop is best for people who just have a few birds.
      By: Anatolii
      A small chicken coop is best for people who just have a few birds.