Until recently, the decision to operate one’s own chicken coop was considered granola, but it is not uncommon to see one of Hollywood’s most glamorous celebrity property lines nowadays. Take Nicole Richie’s Beverly Hills home, for example, a custom coop designed to match the home. In upstate New York, Isabella Rossellini’s property includes a 120-strong chicken coop. Although outdoor fixtures have gone from bucolic idiosyncrasies to glamorous aspirations, this is definitely still a backyard project and can be achieved by people who have room to share.
“I would say that it was a key factor in the increased popularity of backyard chickens during the epidemic, because it was a time when people felt the need to become more self-sufficient and build more connection with nature,” says John Sharp. Principal Designer at Studio John Sharp in Los Angeles, he has worked with numerous clients on backyard chicken coop, including Sophia Bush, who created a Mid Century inspired coop to complement their classic California bungalow.
See what four chicken coop enthusiasts share when it comes to the key stages of chicken coop creation in the backyard.
Consider your geographical location
For Stephanie Cleary, co-founder and creative director of Morrow Soft Goods in Los Angeles, planning a chicken coop in the backyard means assessing the specific needs of Southern California life. It is essential to consider heat and existing wildlife. On the other hand, if you live in a place with long, cold winters, create a plan to keep your chickens warm and cozy when the temperature drops.
Think about property design
Before building a backyard chicken coop, remember that it can take up a good portion of the yard. “The overall size of your coop depends on how many chickens you accommodate; the race rule is 10 feet per hen,” says Sharp. “If you have free-range chickens and leave them for forage in your garden during the day, this may be a little too small.”
Shelby Orme, a sustainability specialist known as Shelbizleee for his 300,000+ YouTube subscribers, is based in San Antonio, Texas, eager to have a chicken coop in his backyard, though he eats it in his garden. “I think people don’t realize that it takes up space where you want other things to grow,” Orm says.
Choose the right number of chickens for you
The number of chickens you want to raise will greatly affect every detail of the chicken coop in your backyard.
“Start with a manageable number of chickens,” says Douglas Friedman, a photographer based in Marfa, Texas, who raised their chickens with a baby and underestimated how much space they need. When he started the coop, he thought, “Oh, I’ll start with 30 cubs.” However, they soon realized that this was a lot of chickens. “We actually had to expand the size of the coop and make it larger to accommodate them,” he says. Friedman’s coop (recorded on Instagram @thebestlittlehenhouseintexas) has been restored to his neighbor’s property by a ruined coop, so most of the chickens expand the existing structure.