Building or placing a chicken coop is a big deal, you want to get it exactly right for your chickens!
In this article, I'm going to help answer, "how high should a chicken coop be off the ground?"
Little things like how high a coop is, the number of windows, size, and design can have a huge impact on the wellness of your chickens.
Should a Chicken Coop Be Raised off the Ground?
It's not mandatory to elevate a chicken coop off of the ground, but there are certainly a lot of advantages to doing so.
The most common reasons why people raise their coops are:
For Predator Defense
The main reason chicken coops should be raised is that it's easier to keep predators out and your chickens safe.
We all know that there are a load of animals out there that would just love to have a chicken dinner, including:
Coyotes, foxes, raccoons, opossums, weasels, rats, skunks, and snakes.
Some of these crafty predators are able to burrow effectively, and most will pester chickens by scratching and trying to break into their coop.
It also stops rodents and other small nesting animals from creating a nest in some hard-to-reach place under the coop.
Another great reason to raise a chicken coop is for ventilation purposes.
Chickens produce a lot of moisture, and you want that moisture to be able to escape the coop so your chickens don't become sick.
Elevating the coop also allows for cooler air to flow in during hot summer days.
I've read accounts from owners that say it also extends the life of a coop by better protecting the floor, so that's an added bonus, too.
Better Entrance Access
Another big advantage to having a chicken coop raised off the ground is that you don't need to worry about the entrance being snowed over or flooded.
Harsh weather can quickly become a really big problem if the entrance to your chicken coop is on ground level.
Related - Should a chicken coop have windows?
Chickens Can Explore Under the Coop
If you raise your coop high enough, your chickens can explore underneath and possibly find some tasty bugs taking advantage of the shade and dampness.
It can also provide shade on a hot day, and you never know, you might need to get under the coop for some reason.
How High Should a Chicken Coop Be off the Ground?
There is no right or wrong answer to how high a chicken coop needs to be (within reason!).
Generally speaking, most chicken coops I've seen are raised a few feet off the ground.
If you're buying a premade coop or ordering it ready to assemble, you might not have a say in the matter.
Most coops are designed at a set height with a ramp leading up to the coop entrance.
However, if you're building your own coop or you have the ability to set your own height, it's up to you how high you build your coop off of the ground.
I'd recommend at least 16 inches if you want to be able to easily get underneath the coop for any reason.
How Far Away Should a Chicken Coop Be From the House?
If you're planning where to situate a chicken coop on your land, you want to find the perfect balance between being close enough that you can keep an eye on the coop and far enough away not to bother you or your neighbors.
In some states, there are also laws governing the minimum distance you can place a coop in relation to a residential structure.
For example, in Texas to comply with the ordinance you cannot place a chicken coop any fewer than 20 feet from an adjacent property or fewer than 30 feet from any adjacent residential structure.
These laws are in place to help ensure tight biosecurity measures are in place and the risk of disease from chickens is kept to a minimum.
It also comes in handy if you have neighbors that don't want to see or hear your chickens!
How High off the Floor Should a Chicken Roost Be?
The next big question when building a coop is how high your chicken roost should be.
A chicken roost is basically a perch where chickens sleep, and they should be able to comfortably fly (or flap, hop, however you describe a chicken trying to fly) up to it.
I've seen chicken roosts that are as low as 12 inches off the ground and as high as five feet!
It really just depends on how high you can build your coop and what kind of chickens you have.
Bantam chickens, for example, are a smaller breed of chicken that can't reach higher places very well, so they don't need as much height to get up on a roost.
On the other hand, if you have larger chickens like Orpingtons, you might want to give them a little more height so they're not cramped.
The important thing is that your chickens feel safe and secure on their roosts, so they can get a good night's sleep.
As you can see, there are many reasons why chicken coops should be raised off the ground, as well as a few things to consider when deciding how high to build your coop.
I hope this article has helped clear some things up for you and given you a better idea of what's best for your chickens!