Backyard chicken coops: Tips and ideas

Chicken Coop
Featured Image by Sarah and Jason via flickr

If you’re looking for a way to get your children more involved in outdoor activities, consider building a backyard chicken coop. Not only will it provide a fun and educational experience for your kids, but it will also offer an opportunity for your family to become more self-sufficient. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of involving children in backyard chicken coops, choosing the right chicken coop, preparing for the arrival of the chickens, involving children in chicken care, incorporating educational elements, and safety considerations.

Girls with Chickens

Image by Rick&Brenda Beerhorst via flickr

Benefits of involving children in backyard chicken coops

Involving children in backyard chicken coops provides numerous benefits, including educational opportunities and life skill development. Children can learn about animal care, sustainability, and gardening, as well as develop responsibility, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Caring for chickens can also teach children about the food chain, where food comes from, and how to be self-sufficient.

Choosing the right chicken coop

When selecting a chicken coop suitable for children, there are a few factors to consider. Safety should be the primary concern, so it’s important to look for features such as sturdy construction, secure latches, and easy access for cleaning. The coop should also be size-appropriate for the number of chickens you plan to keep.

Preparing for the arrival of the chickens

Before bringing chickens home, there are several preparation steps required. Different types of chickens have different care requirements, so it’s essential to research and choose the right breed for your family. You will also need to set up the chicken coop and ensure its safety, including providing proper ventilation, lighting, and nesting boxes.

Involving children in chicken care

Children of all ages can participate in caring for chickens, with age-appropriate tasks assigned accordingly. Younger children can help with tasks such as collecting eggs and filling feeders, while older children can assist with more complex tasks such as cleaning the coop and monitoring the chickens’ health. It’s crucial to supervise children closely when they are working with the chickens to ensure their safety.

Incorporating educational elements

There are many ways to incorporate educational elements into the process of building and maintaining a chicken coop. You can teach children about animal care, sustainability, and gardening, as well as integrate science and math activities into chicken care. For example, you could use the chickens’ eggs to teach children about measuring and fractions.

Safety considerations

It’s important to be aware of potential hazards and safety considerations when building and maintaining a chicken coop. For example, chickens can carry Salmonella, so it’s essential to teach children about proper handwashing and hygiene practices. Other safety considerations include protecting the chickens from predators, providing proper ventilation to prevent respiratory issues, and keeping the coop clean to prevent the spread of disease.


What is the minimum age for children to get involved in building and maintaining a chicken coop?

There is no set minimum age for children to get involved in building and maintaining a chicken coop, but it’s essential to assign age-appropriate tasks and provide close supervision to ensure their safety.

How many chickens should be kept in a coop?

The number of chickens that can be kept in a coop depends on the coop’s size and the chickens’ breed. As a general rule, you should provide at least 2-3 square feet of space per chicken inside the coop, and 8-10 square feet of outdoor space per chicken in the run.

What type of bedding should be used in a chicken coop?

There are several types of bedding that can be used in a chicken coop, including straw, pine shavings, and sand. It’s important to choose a type of bedding that is absorbent, easy to clean, and provides a comfortable surface for the chickens to walk on.

What should be done with the chicken coop during winter?

During winter, it’s essential to provide the chickens with a warm and dry environment. This may include adding insulation to the coop, providing heat lamps or heated waterers, and ensuring that the coop is draft-free. It’s also important to shovel snow away from the entrance to the coop to prevent blockages.

How often do chickens need to be fed and watered?

Chickens should have access to fresh food and water at all times. Depending on the age of the chickens and their feed type, they may need to be fed 2-3 times per day.

What should be done with the chicken coop during vacations?

If you plan to be away from home for an extended period, you will need to arrange for someone to care for the chickens. This may include feeding and watering them, cleaning the coop, and collecting eggs.

How can I teach my children about the importance of sustainability when keeping chickens?

Keeping chickens can be an excellent way to teach children about sustainability. You can explain how chickens can help reduce food waste by eating kitchen scraps and producing eggs. You can also discuss how raising chickens can help reduce your family’s carbon footprint by providing a local source of food.


Building and maintaining a backyard chicken coop is a fun and educational experience for children and families. By involving your kids in the process, you can teach them valuable life skills while enjoying the benefits of fresh eggs and self-sufficiency. Remember to choose a safe and size-appropriate chicken coop, prepare for the arrival of the chickens, involve children in chicken care, incorporate educational elements, and be mindful of safety considerations.


  1. “Building A Chicken Coop: 11 Cheap Tips” by Backyard Poultry 
  2. “6 Tips for Inside a Chicken Coop” by Backyard Poultry 
  3. “37 Backyard Chicken Coop Ideas (Photos and Charts)” by Home Stratosphere 
  4. “25 Best Chicken Coop Kits for Sale – Large Backyard Chicken Coops” by Country Living 
  5. “Beginner’s Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens” by The Happy Chicken Coop 
  6. How to convert a Garden Shed into a Chicken Coop by Garden Buildings Direct