Shelter for Chickens

As well as having a dry, draft free house to sleep in, chickens require a certain amount of shelter from the elements. Bushes, a hedge or wall can be used if birds free range to get out of the sun, wind or rain but if this sort of cover is not available, you should consider erecting some sort of shelter that allows them to get out of the elements.

Raising a chicken house onto legs about 18 inches off the floor and covering one side in the direction of the prevailing wind is a good idea as this provides them with shelter for the daytime. If you have a covered run, you can put corrugated plastic sheets on the roof which take the strength out of the sun and shelter your chickens from the rain.

Remember to put water containers in shaded positions during the hottest summer months so that water doesn’t over heat. Chickens cool down by drinking water as well as panting. You can read more about that on my page covering Water For Chickens.


  1. hi again,
    brilliant website. so handy for a novice like me.
    just wondering about a shelter for my 6 hens. what height would you recomend it to be? i had thought of it being 32 inches of the ground so they have plenty of room under it. would this be to high for them?


  2. Hi
    We have had two chickens since last summer and they give us so much pleasure. They don’t lay every day and we think that one of them may not be laying eggs at all. Can you tell me what eggbound is? and how long are chickens likely to live.
    Kind Regards

    • It depends on the strain and the way they are kept but generally they will live 5 or so years but some have lived 20 years!

      Eggbound is when a large egg gets stuck in the oviduct and the hen keeps visiting the nest box and stands like a penguin, trying to pass the egg… If it’s not removed, the hen will usually die.

  3. We have been offered some fancy chickens and looking at a hen coop that measures 14 x 14 foot with nest boxes.. Is this ideal and should we let the hens roam free during the day when we are at work ???? We have a large garden just worried about them flying off !!!

    PLease can you advise

    • They shouldn’t go too far and will always come back at night to roost. As long as there isn’t a risk of the fox getting them, it should be ok.

  4. Hi
    we would like to keep chickens, we have a shed that we are looking at converting, bottom half is concrete block, upper half is wood with 3 largish windows in, we are going to put a opening in the blocks that can be closed off at night etc and obviusly it has a door that we can use to go in which will have a lock, attached to the outside we are going to make a meshed run, just a couple of questions, 1) the grass area that the chickens will have has quite a slope to it, is this ok, also we have no problems with them scratching it as the whole area will be for them only, just how will we keep it clean? or will it be ok? also is there a certain thickness that the wire will need to be as we live near the woods and we know that there are foxes about, not to mention hundreds of cats etc, as they are at the top of the garden we want to know that they will be secure at all times because even if we were to go staight to them it would take a good minute to get to them.
    also can we use jeyes fluid inside to disenfect????
    many thanks in advance.
    steve and paula

    • There will be no problem with the slope. It will keep them and you fit!

      The area if small will soon turn to mud. The normal way is to cover it with six inches of wood chippings or similar so they can still scratch and this can be changed periodically. Obviously with the slope you would need to step this.

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