I’ve had a lot of emails from folks in the UK, in particular London, asking me for a recommendation for chicken coop plans to suit UK and its chilly climate. See it’s coming into spring in the UK so there is a real spike in interest which is great. The thing to remember is that while the weather is becoming nice now, there is always the next winter ahead and so you should always plan your chicken coop for the most extreme conditions you are likely to experience. To be honest, its no big deal. Chickens are very resilient animals, particularly the heavy feathered and large breeds (Orpingtons, Australorps, Barred Rocks, Comets etc..) as long as the chicken coop they live in gives them good protection from the elements. You can get away with having an open style coop as pictured below but I would not recommend it.
The chickens won’t have much interest in leaving the coop if it is snowing or extremely cold but they will of course come out when the weather is nicer. I’d recommend a fully enclosed chicken coop for a cold UK winter.
The chicken coop above (left) is ideal for the UK climate. It is completely enclosed so your chickens will be protected from the cold and it has an optional run (above right) that can build around the chicken coop. It’s basically just an enclosure that your chickens can wander around and scratch in in the finer months of the year. This is also a very secure chicken coop which is very important as there are many foxes in London that prey on back yard chickens.
If you really are serious about building a chicken coop in the UK then I really think you should take a look at Building a Chicken Coop by Bill Keene. It has 3 sets of detailed chicken coop plans as well as a massive swag of information on raising and keeping happy and healthy chickens.
Here is what one hobby chicken keeper from the UK said about Building a Chicken Coop by Bill Keene.
“…If you are considering keeping chickens in your back yard, you must read this book. Whether you have a tiny courtyard or acres to play with, Keene’s advice will stand you in good stead and help you build the right chicken coop. The focus of the book is on being well-prepared for your flock before they even arrive. Keene ensures that you consider every issue before you spend a cent on birds, feed or equipment. He discusses which species is appropriate for your garden, what they should eat and, as the title suggests, how you should house them. Anyone with basic do-it-yourself tools and a patch of land could follow his instructions. The drawings and diagrams are easy to interpret and the lists of materials and tools needed are very helpful. Keene also appreciates that the value of using recycled materials in your chicken coop – cheap and environmentally friendly. Keene encourages responsible husbandry – his reminder of tasks to be completed weekly, monthly and sixth monthly should be replicated onto the calendar of any careful poultry keeper. The level of detail is just right, from a list of the color of the egg you might expect from you hen to a description of healthy hen’s poop! If you follow his tips, your happy hens will be very productive. Next we need a cookbook for ideas to use up all the spare eggs…” Tracyann – Amateur Chicken Farmer – Devon, United Kingdom
If you have any extra advice for those looking at building a chicken coop in the UK or if you are keeping chickens in london then please feel free to share it with everyone here by adding a comment below.