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Hen House Designs

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Building a hen house is a must if you wish to raise hens. It helps to safely contain your chickens within your yard. Here are some basic designs.
Raising hens is not a very easy task. Hens are vulnerable to many diseases if they are not provided with a clean and hygienic shelter. Since they tend to get dirty pretty often, it is difficult to maintain a clean shelter for them.
If the hen house design is faulty, it may fail to provide proper ventilation to your hens. Several factors need to be considered while building one.

Hen House Designs

Though there are several designs for building a hen house, the basic design aspect remains the same.
The different designs are influenced by two schools of thought. The first one says that hens do not like confined places that are shady and have poor ventilation. The other states that hens cannot tolerate outdoor conditions. Extreme weather conditions make them feel sick. These conflicting views put restrictions on designing an ideal shelter for them.

Backyard Coop

This design is mostly popular in rural areas. It consists of a small chicken coop that is mobile and surrounded by a fence. It is a form of a yard where the hens are allowed to roam freely. The hens can peck and hunt insects within the confinement of the coop.
The open structure facilitates proper ventilation, and the birds do not feel confined inside it. This is the design that is closest to their natural habitat.

Nesting Boxes

This is an enclosed design which finds a place in almost all the design plans. These boxes provide access through a hinged roof. This makes it possible to collect eggs on a daily basis as well as clean the bedding regularly.
Whenever you want to clean the shelter, you can simply prop open the roof and take the boxes out. You can then pressure clean the entire pen with a hose. Since this is an enclosed form, it is essential that you provide clean and hygienic conditions for the hens.

Factors to be Considered while Designing a Hen House

Sturdy Construction Materials

Make sure that you use good-quality construction materials. If you are planning to use a wire mesh for making the windows, it is likely that rodents or predators may chew on it to get to your hens. Hence, always use strong wires to support the windows. Moreover, use concrete flooring to set up the coop as it provides a strong base and enables easy cleaning.


Hens cannot tolerate wet conditions. Ensure that the shelter is airy enough. If your design demands doors and windows for ventilation, it is necessary that they are hassle free and easy to open. Messy and crowded structures can spell a disaster for your birds.


Chickens hate shady places. If you are going to rely on natural light, make sure your design has provisions for doors and windows. Electric lighting is a good option, as it not only lights the shelter, but also provides warmth and comfort at night and during the winter.


This is the most important aspect of the design. An ideal shelter design should have provisions for easy and quick cleaning. Make sure that you routinely clean it, because unclean conditions are likely to cause numerous diseases among the hens. It also makes them annoyed and irritated, which may in turn affect egg production.
Before building a hen house, evaluate the present and future number of birds that it is likely to accommodate. Select a design which fits in the available space at your disposal. Remember to allot 8-10 inches linearly for every bird.