Chances are, if you’re reading this post about walk-in chicken coops, you and I have a lot in common. We care about what we consume and animals. We want to know what is in our food and where it came from.

The idea of stepping into your backyard, greeting your hilarious chickens, and returning with a basket of gorgeous eggs is the dream.  However, seasoned chicken owners know there’s more to the backyard chicken lifestyle than the idyllic Instagram posts might suggest. Maintaining a happy and healthy flock requires dedication—consistent coop cleaning is paramount for disease prevention and optimal bird health. Trust me, if you can, get a walk-in chicken coop for your own sanity, and your chicken’s mental health. Learn all about walk-in chicken coops in this post.

My chickens

My First Walk-In Chicken Coop—DIY on a Budget and The Mistakes I Made

Even though I was on a very tight budget when I adopted my first flock of 7 chickens, I knew I wanted a walk-in chicken coop. I wanted a walk-in coop because it was easy to clean. I also wanted to reduce the stress on the chickens. My coop is not ever going to wind up in a magazine.

 “I made the rookie mistake of trying to save a few bucks and used chicken wire instead of hardware cloth in some areas.”

Unless your coop is strictly for sleeping and egg-laying, and your birds will be out roaming all day long, you will need to create an outdoor space around your coop for your birds to safely spend time outside of the coop. That outdoor space will need fencing. Most people use wire called hardware cloth to fence in their birds. Hardware cloth is not cheap.

Chicken Wire or Hardware Cloth for Your Walk-In Chicken Coops?

Chicken wire is thinner, cheaper, and has larger holes than most hardware cloth (which is not cloth at all). The parts of my fencing built with chicken wire has become rusty and is very easy to break (a coyote found a weak point once ). I’m in the process of replacing all the chicken wire, which is no fun at all.

Because a clan of ground squirrels have figured out how to break in through the old rusted chicken wire, I’m losing precious chicken feed to the ransacking of the squirrels. So, don’t make my mistake, no matter how much cheaper the chicken wire is, cough up the extra money for the stronger hardware cloth.

My chicken coop

Advantages of Walk-In Chicken Coops

  • Less Mess: Walk-in access makes cleaning and maintaining the coop less horrible. Make no mistake, chicken poop happens. A lot of it. It can pile up. If the pile up of poop isn’t removed, it can spread disease, stick to the chickens feet and get your beautiful eggs soiled.

  • Happier Chickens: Provides ample space for chickens to roam freely and express natural behaviors. Less pecking, less fighting, happier chickens.

  • Keep The Ladies Agile: Chickens sleep perched on a branch (or rod, or ledge). Because the coop is walk-in and has high ceilings, the perch is 4-feet off the ground. The chickens must jump up to the perch. They love it. It keeps them exercising their jumping/flying skills everyday. They also feel safer (I assume) because they have a wider view of their space at night.

  • Become Friends: Allows for closer interaction with your flock, making them more tame and enjoyable to observe. Your flock gets-to-know you better. So, when they are roaming your yard and you need them back in their coop ASAP (In my case, a coyote is nearby), they don’t run away from you.

“Chasing running chickens is close to impossible.”

My chicken coop

Considerations for Your Walk-In Coop

  • Size: Discuss factors to consider when determining the appropriate size for your flock and desired features. Where I live, each bird needs 10 square feet of space. If your birds will not roam around freely all the time, you must give them sufficient coop space. In my case, there are too many coyotes present to allow them to roam unsupervised. Sufficient space is vital.

  • Predators: What kind of predators are around? Predator-proof construction is a must. I knew there were coyotes and I built my coop with wire everywhere. A coyote still managed to break through some of the wire and eat one of my birds.

  • Materials: Your chicken coop must stand up to the elements, but should be non-toxic for your birds– meaning it should not have any material that can flake off into the coop.  Think toxic paint peeling off that your chickens mistake for food. My A-frame coop is built of plywood and common pine board. It has been outside in the elements for 7 years. I made the mistake of painting parts of the interior only to deal with flaking paint years later.

  • Cost: The cost really ranges. How handy are you with power tools? What are the predators like where you live? The more predators- the higher the cost. If you live in a cold climate, your coop will need more walls and insulating. If power tools are not your thing, be prepared to spend a bit more. I’ve got a round-up of ideas and inspiration below

Our Favorite Walk-In Coops to Purchase

1. Walk-In Chicken Coop & Run

2. Chicken Coop (Up To 6 Chickens)

3. Freddy Chicken Coop Run

4. Metal Walk-In Chicken Coop in Pale Eucalyptus

5. Gray Wooden Hen House with Run

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