It's time to bring your chickens home. But what should you put them in? Should you choose a stationary chicken coop or a portable one?
One of the biggest and most important investments of a chicken keeper is buying the chickens' housing. After all, you'll want your chickens to have adequate space to move around, feel safe, and stay healthy in their coop.
Keep in mind that not all models are suitable for every chicken and yard. This is why it's crucial to learn more about the different types of coops and see which one corresponds best to your situation. Read on to find out the pros and cons of portable chicken coops and stationary coops to make sure you're buying the right one for your chickens.
What are portable chicken coops?
Known for their versatility and practicality, portable chicken coops are a highly preferred option for those with enough garden space. These types of chicken housing are designed to be moved around since they typically feature a lightweight frame and/or wheels. However, you may stumble upon certain designs that don't necessarily come with wheels and may require a tractor to move from one spot to another. That is the case for larger chicken coops that can shelter large flocks of chicken. If you're only keeping a few hens, you can find models that can easily be moved by hand. What they all have in common is that they're floorless, so the chickens will be able to walk on the land and eat grass and insects.
What are stationary chicken coops?
Stationary coops, as the name suggests, aren't movable. This may be a disadvantage for some, but can be useful for other chicken keepers. They're much larger and are ideal for those looking to grow their flock size. Since stationary coops have parts buried underground and must stay in the same place, they have a sturdier framework and solid floor. They also feature a bedding area for laying hens and often come with a section where the chickens can access the ground.
The advantages of portable chicken coops
If you have several chickens and spacious pasture land, a portable chicken coop may be a great option for you. This is because the coop can be placed in different areas of the garden that needs to be fertilized or cleaned up. Your chickens will forage for bugs, find weeds and seeds, and graze the area which will benefit the soil. Portable coops are extremely versatile and can prove to be useful for your land. Additionally, they're easy to clean, which is important for your chickens' health. If the floor happens to be covered with too much manure, all you have to do is relocate the coop to fresh soil. Plus, regularly moving the coop prevents parasite infestation in your poultry since the parasites won't have enough time to complete a full lifetime cycle.
If you're hosting a garden party, simply move the coop to another spot. If heavy rain is on its way, bring the coop to a sheltered spot in the garden. Is it too sunny outside? Simply carry the coop to a cooler area. The main advantage of portable chicken coops is how practical they are in various situations.
Although a lot of chicken owners with portable coops have large backyards, those short on space can also benefit from mobile coops. There are plenty of small designs that take up less space for those with smaller yards. Small portable coops are also ideal for those who free roam their chickens during the day but want to keep them safe at night or during certain occasions.
Another great benefit of portable coops is that they don't require a lot of effort to put together. You can either buy the coop already manufactured or in a kit that's easy to build. All you need is a couple of hours at most and there you have it! Besides, they're much less expensive so that could be a nice bonus for those on a budget.
The drawbacks of portable coops
One major inconvenience of portable chicken coops is that they aren't always robust since they need to be lightweight enough for mobility. Moreover, if they aren't heavy enough, predators will be able to attack it or dig under if the ground happens to be soft. To avoid that, make sure the coop isn't flimsy, add materials around it, and frequently reposition it to discourage digging. Avoid portable coops at all costs if they're going to be placed in wide-open spaces.
Since you'll be moving the coop around a lot, it'll need frequent maintenance. Some parts will wear out while others will loosen. In addition to taking care of your chickens, you'll also need to pay attention to their housing. When the rainy season comes, keeping your portable coop dry could be somewhat of a challenge. The water on the ground will turn into puddles, thus resulting in your chickens standing in cold water. If you don't want them to get cold in their portable coop, always cover the ground with straw or hay, especially when it's raining.
Portable coops are only ideal for temporary confinement since they aren't as big. If you're looking to keep your chickens in full-time confinement, portable coops aren't the solution.
The advantages of stationary coops
Problems such as puddles, wet areas, digging predators, and wobbliness don't exist when you have a stationary chicken coop. Stationary models generallycome with elevated platforms that aren't subject to flooding during rainy seasons. They feature floors that predators just can't pass through. These are the only coops that are 100% predator-proof! Furthermore, they're more durable and heavier so you don't have to worry about the coop getting blown away during harsh weather conditions. They'reperfectfor all seasons!
Since stationary coops are a permanent addition to the garden, there are plenty of designs fitting to all tastes and garden styles. You can find modern designs, colorful ones, simple coops, and much more.
As mentioned before, stationary coops are greatfor chickens who can't roam freely outdoors. They provide enough room for large flocks without affecting their comfort. So, don't feel bad or guilty if your chickens stay in their coop all the time. Stationary coops are designed for full-time confinement! Your chickens will still be able to run and get enough exercise with a spacious permanent coop.
If your garden is too small for numerous rotations, getting a stationary coop could be a wise alternative. All your chickens' manure will be gatheredin one place and you can later clean out the coop and add the manure to your garden or compost.
The drawbacks of stationary coops
Stationary coops aren't for every budget. They cost more than portable coops and their complex designs are quite difficult to install. You'll also need to carefully consider the coop's site. If you pick the wrong place, your chickens may suffer from sun exposure or worse, freeze during cold seasons. Consider factors such as the sun, wind, and noise when choosing a location. This may take some time to figure out or require expert help which could be a disadvantage for impatient people.
Their immobile feature also comes with its downsides. Since your chickens will be staying in the same place and have direct contact with their feces, they will be more prone to parasites if the coop isn't regularly disinfected and cleaned. The area will eventually turn into a dirt floor, manure will build up over time, and vegetation will no longer be able to flourish in that zone. You'll constantly need to maintain the area to limit fecal manner buildup and prevent foul odor. Stationary coops require a lot of maintenanceand cleaning which is unfavorable for those with busy schedules.