More than a backyard trend or passing phase, backyard chicken keeping is here to stay. As more and more people discover the joys of raising a backyard flock with delicious, fresh eggs at their service, chickens have become cherished backyard pets.
The primary function of a chicken coop is to provide the flock with a sheltered spot in which to lay their eggs and keep them safe from predators at night. A coop doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to be functional. It should have spacious nesting boxes filled with soft nesting material, wide, sturdy roosting bars, plenty of ventilation, strong welded wire on the windows, and predator-proof latches on the doors that even the wiliest raccoon can’t unlatch.
Meet the Expert
Lisa Steele is a fifth-generation chicken keeper, aspiring herbalist, freelance writer, and author of Gardening With Chickens ($12). She is also the host of the television show Welcome to My Farm airing in local Maine markets.
But who’s to say you can’t add a bit of fun to your coop? From homemade treats to chic accouterments, chickens enjoy living the high life while providing families with a steady supply of eggs. And while chickens don’t ask for much in return, today’s keepers love to spoil their flock. After all, pampered chickens lay the freshest eggs! Keep reading for 20 tips on sprucing up your coop.
Studies have shown that chickens will instinctively seek out the most secluded spot they can find to lay their eggs. Farmers hang empty feed sacks or burlap bags over the front of their chickens’ nesting area to encourage laying, but why stop there? Use some pretty material to fashion curtains on a rod installed in the coop. Tie the curtains back with lace, ribbon, or string. If you don’t sew, use Velcro, staples, or nail fabric in place. When the curtains get dusty, take them down for laundering or make anew!
A well-dressed coop needs wallpaper, of course! Instead of traditional wallpaper, use vinyl contact paper or shelf liner on the walls. Not only does contact paper prevent mites or other insects from burrowing into the wood to hide, but it also makes cleanup incredibly easy. A wet sponge will quickly wipe the walls clean.
Like getting the right wallpaper, purchasing a scrap of vinyl linoleum or other waterproof flooring for your coop will make cleaning much easier. Mopping linoleum clean is far easier than trying to clean bare wood. It also will prevent floorboards from rotting in the case of spilled water.
Paint Exposed Wood
Painting the exposed wood on the inside of the coop acts in much the same way as contact paper. Cleaning is easier and it makes the wood less attractive to burrowing insects. Choosing a light color will also help brighten up the inside of the coop.
Be sure to use a non-toxic, low-VOC paint. Chalk or milk paint are both good choices.
Hang a Chandelier
Another fun coop décor idea is to hang a chandelier or luxe light fixture from the ceiling. It'll give your chickens a glamorous backdrop and maybe even provide a little extra light.
Put up a Mirror
Hang a mirror on the wall of the coop during winter to keep hens from getting bored when they can’t be outside as much. They will enjoy watching themselves in the reflection. A word of warning if you have a rooster: If he catches sight of another handsome fellow in the coop, he might be tempted to fight him, so be aware of that potential for a broken mirror.
Outfit With Art
Do chickens appreciate a gallery wall as much as the rest of us? We may never know, but it certainly doesn't hurt to give your bird babies something to look at while also elevating their space.
Opt for a Cute Thermometer
Chickens are extremely susceptible to heat exhaustion, so keeping an eye on the coop’s temperature is important. Why not hang a large decorative thermometer to help you track the temperature and add to your chicken coop décor? It can be as big and elaborate as you would like—the chickens won’t mind.
Collect Egg Baskets
Check eBay, antique shops, flea markets, or yard sales for metal egg baskets. If you’re the type who always forgets to bring a bowl or basket from the house to collect eggs, consider hanging a small assortment of egg baskets in the coop. Feed scoops are also inexpensive and can be hung individually or in groups on the walls.
Sprinkle Dried Herbs
Tossing some fresh or dried herbs into nesting boxes is another great chicken coop décor idea. Herbs can help flies and other insects from lingering in the coop and look pretty while doing so. Fragrant herbs and edible flowers such as lavender, rose petals, calendula, chamomile, lemon balm, and mint are all favorites.
Roll Out the Welcome Mat
One of the simplest ways to give your coop a facelift? Roll out a welcome mat and spruce up the outside to look a little more inviting. Install an attractive light fixture, hang a few simple décor pieces, pop in some greenery, and you're all set with the cutest coop around.
Plant Some Greenery
Planting bouquets of fresh herbs does more than just make your coop look and smell great. Place them on windowsills or hang them in bunches from a pegboard or hooks. Herbs have been shown to repel against mites, and they can provide your chickens with a treat to munch on. Basil, thyme, lavender, and mint are good choices.
Combine your love for your bird babies with your love of, well, anything. Get inspired when creating a hen haven—a themed coop will bring you and your chickens joy every day.
Embrace Classic Architecture
Looking for a truly unique home for your chicks? Design your own and model it after your favorite style of classic architecture. For example, if Cape Dutch meets classic French is your inspiration, run with it. The sky's the limit.
Make it Modern
For lovers of modern design, consider giving your chickens a contemporary coop. Opt for clean lines, and a streamlined color palette to get the look. Industrial and organic touches can complement a modern aesthetic as well.
Repurpose an Old Door
Give your coop an extra pop (and save some money) by rehabbing an old door. Leave it as-is or paint it in a contrasting color for some flair. Opting for a door with a working lock will keep your chickens a little safer, too.
Using a regular-sized door instead of a chicken-sized one can make it easier for you to access the coop cleaning and visiting your chicks.
Commission a Sweet Sign
Give your coop a personal touch with a sweet, custom sign. Commission a metal or wood sign locally or from a maker marketplace like Etsy, or opt for a DIY version if you're crafty.
String Some Lights
Every outdoor space can benefit from the addition of some ambient lights—even chicken coops. Hang some affordable string lighting to give your chickens the cute, cozy, and chic space they deserve.
Cultivate the Landscape
Whether your coop is a pre-fab hut or a hand-built haven, it can definitely benefit from some lush landscaping. Aside from beautifying your coop, the right landscaping can supplement your flock's diet, provide them with comfortable shade, and deter pests and predators from harming your hens.
Decorate for the Holidays
Hanging homemade pine garlands, wreaths, and strands of Christmas lights can turn a coop festive for the holidays. As an added bonus, rodents are reputed to not enjoy the scent of pine, so the garlands can act as a mouse deterrent.
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