The hens look for a space to sleep which should contain a number of perches and a nest box for laying eggs in. Preferably the coop should prevent predators from being able to break in and also keep bad weather out.
A home for chickens is best placed in a position which is not in direct sun all day and is sheltered from wind and rain. a run can be attached to the coop or the coop can be placed inside a large run. Wood is often the preferred building material for the hen house but it can also be made in plastic or other suitable materials. The roof may be covered with roofing felt to keep the hens dry. The run can be placed on grass or on a hard surface and covered in untreated wood chip.
Red mites can be a major problem for hen keepers. The red mites can live in the coop and come out at night to feed from the chickens. to avoid having this problem it is necessary to ensure the coop is cleaned often. There are sprays which can be used to kill the mites but they can hide successfully in joints and other holes and spaces in wooden coops. they can also live under roofing felt and sometimes the felt will have to be replaced to rid the house of mites. a smooth interior should be obtained to make thorough cleaning possible.
It is important to provide a nest box for the girls as they mostly lay an egg each day and like to have some privacy to do so. The number of hens to be kept will determine the size of the nest box as 2 or 3 or more hens may want to lay at the same time. The nest box should have a lid or a door for ease of access to retrieve the eggs.
The sleeping area should contain a number of perches. just like the roof and the coop red mites can infest the perches if made of wood. one way to address this is to have double the amount of perches required so that they can be changed and cleaned frequently.
The chicken should be able to drink as much water as they wish and food should be readily available. Predators will find any way of getting into a run or hen house and therefore the wire used to create a run must be strong. it is important predators cannot dig under the wire to gain access to the hens.
For the safety of the hens it makes sense to close the hens in their coop at night. they do have feathers to keep them warm in winter but they probably appreciate an enclosed area overnight when the weather is bad. If the hens are to be left overnight an automatic door opener can be fixed. This means the door will be opened at a specific time each morning and closed each night.
The main criteria for small chicken house plans are: size and location, ease of access for both the owners and the chickens, safety and comfort and the owner’s aesthetic requirements.