Choosing the right coop for your flock is one of the most essential tasks for new owners. There are so many DIY versions, premade versions, and you could design your own. The two main types of chicken coops are permanent or mobile. These two styles have a lot of advantages and disadvantages to them. If you choose the wrong one, you could subject your chickens to hardship and dangers. Let’s talk about the permanent vs portable chicken coop, and which would be best for you.
Permanent vs Portable Chicken Coop
The first thing we should discuss is the main differences between a permanent vs portable chicken coop. And for the most part, the name is just how they sound. A movable chicken coop is one that is usually on wheels (called a mobile or portable chicken tractor coop) or has a light metal frame. These coops can move around the yard by one or two people. The mobile chicken tractor is usually smaller and only holds a few chickens, but this can be great for most families.
A permanent coop has a sturdy framework and has parts buried underground. These hardware setups are harder to dig up to move the coop if you needed to. The permanent coop usually has some sort of floor and bedding used for hygiene. But the permanent coop is larger and can hold more hens for larger homesteads.
Advantages Of A Movable Coop
One of the ways to see which is the best coop is to look at all the pros and cons. Seeing all sides of each coop can give you a better understanding of what your unique circumstances need.
Putting together one of the best chicken tractors is effortless and less expensive than permanent. Some are made using pvc pipes and chicken wire to make it lighter and easy to move around. These coops can usually be put up within a day, and you don’t need to buy elaborate structures for them. You can buy them already manufactured, or an easy-to-assemble kit.
One of the biggest perks is that the mobile hen house makes it an easy access for you to maintain your grass. If you relocate the coop every few days, you will not have to worry about your lawn going bare. And your chickens will have a new area to forage for bugs, seeds, and weeds. This rotation works out best for people who have a large yard.
The average family only needs 4-6 chickens to keep up with their egg supply. Most mobile coops hold up to 6 chickens complete with a nesting box, which can be a more accessible and cheaper option. And if you decide to add to your flock, it is easier to replace a smaller coop with a larger one.
Mobiles are the easiest coops to clean. There is virtually no cleaning as long as you are rotating the coops spot. When your chickens poop on the grass underneath, it becomes a natural compost. When you move the coops position, there is very little that you have to do to clean.
Another great benefit of a portable coop is how small it is. The nest boxes can be attached to make egg gathering easy. These small coops take up less space than a large permanent coop. These small sizes are great for fitting them into new spots between buildings. And it can be of great benefit to keep your flock out of harsh weather.
Speaking of weather- having a mobile coop is great for moving your flock in case of storms. You can move them out of high winds, harsh sun, and even into warmer areas during winter. Weatherproofing your portable chicken coop is more accessible than a permanent one.
If you free roam your chickens, having a mobile coop might be an excellent option for you. Since you won’t have to worry about rotations or to give your flock enough space, a smaller mobile coop with roost bars could be used best at night.
And finally, having a mobile coop also decreases the chances of parasites. This works because your coop will be moved every few days away from feces. Once your coop is moved, it does not allow for parasites to complete a full lifecycle to spread to other chickens. And this could save you hundreds of vet bills.
Disadvantages Of Portable Coops
You should only use these in urban areas. You might find that your coop will need frequent maintenance. and you will need to tighten all bolts and inspect the connectors well after every move. Since these coops take a lot of wear and tear, you will find that parts may wear out faster than a permanent coop.
The biggest disadvantage of a mobile chicken coop is that they are not predator-proof. Since these coops have no bottom, predators can easily dig under if the ground is soft enough. The idea is to keep the coop moving so that no predator will burrow all the way through. But a determined carnivore could dig under easily is soft or sandy soil.
Another disadvantage is that some of these cages are too small for the long term. If you were hoping these small coops could keep your chickens contained all the time, you might want to look at a permanent instead.
And our last disadvantage is that these coops can flood quickly. If your property is known to flood, then these coops will flood right along with it. Since there is no flooring or bedding, there will be nothing to keep your hens from standing in water.
Advantages Of A Permanent Coop
Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of a mobile coop, we can now look at the permanent coop. These pros and cons will give you more clarity on which type of coop is best for you.
If you want a large flock with plenty of room, permanent is best for you. You can get coop designs that can fit as many chickens as you want, without compromising their comfort and ability to run.
permanent coops are also the best for protection. Since they have hardware cloth that fits underground, predators are less likely to dig under them. Stationary coops are the only ones that can be 100% predator-proof.
Another fantastic aspect of a permanent coop is that they are large enough for your chickens to be in all the time. You will never have to worry about them not getting enough exercise or the ability to move. Most permanent coops have enough room for your chickens to run from end to end.
Stationary coops also withstand weather well. You will have little chance at weather damage, and if built in the right location, they are great for all seasons.
For those of you with smaller backyards, a permanent coop is probably the best for you. That is because your yard is likely too small for a rotation that will not kill your yard. With a stationary coop, you will have the room for your chickens, without compromising your grass.
If you also garden, the bedding can also make great compost for it. When you clean out your coop, you can easily add the wood shavings and feces to your compost or garden directly.
Disadvantages Of A Permanent Coop
The first disadvantage is that these coops cost a lot more than portable options. They tend to have more complex designs and require more work to put them together.
Placing these coops needs a lot of consideration. These coops do not get moved easily without digging up part of the coop and reassembling. So take into consideration seasons, sunlight, winds, and noise when placing these.
You will also have to spend more money on bedding with a permanent. These coops don’t have a fresh grass floor, so to keep your chickens from stomping through waste, you will need to get a pine shaving bedding. This bedding creates the perfect habitat for good bacteria to break down the feces that you can then add to your compost.
Since a larger chicken coop doesn’t have grass flooring, it also takes away the option for your chickens to forage freely. So you will need to take extra care to fulfill these needs with different treats and grasses that they can peck from daily.
The permanent coop will also need regular cleaning to prevent too much fecal matter from building up. Cleaning a chicken run can be time-consuming, but they are not labor-intensive depending on the type of runs you get.
And lastly, these coops can increase your risk of parasites if not cleaned often enough. Unlike mobile smaller chicken coop, your hens will be in direct contact with feces for the entire parasite lifecycle. So this can easily infect all of your chickens if not appropriately controlled.
Which Is Best For You?
Now you know all there is to know about permanent vs portable chicken coops. But which one is the best for you? Well, if you have a large yard and a small flock, a mobile coop might be one of the best options for you. Or if you have a predator issue in your area, a permanent is the only way to go. For those of you with small yards and large flocks, stationery is also the best way. You will also be a good candidate for a moveable coop if your chickens are mostly free-range on a large plot. Hopefully, with our permanent vs portable chicken coop comparison, you can choose the best choice for you.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!