Outdoors

Meghan and Harry have sparked a trend for chicken coops – an expert shares how to start your own

We've taken notes from Meghan and Harry's garden – 'Archie's Chick Inn' included

Chickens roaming in a garden, beginner chicken coop tips
(Image credit: GettyImages)

Despite the majority of Meghan and Harry's historic interview with Oprah Winfrey taking place in their friend's garden, we were still offered a brief insight into the couple's California backyard – complete with a large wooden chicken coop, aptly named Archie's Chick Inn. The chicken coop came with a sign, reading 'Established 2021', before Harry shared how Meghan had 'always wanted chickens,' while standing in the coop. 

See: Backyard ideas – get more inspiration in our dedicated guide.

Following the interview, demands for ‘chicken coop ideas’ jumped by 350%, whilst ‘walk-in chicken coops’ increased by approximately 200%. So, if you have been inspired by this unexpected trend but are not sure where to start, look no further than the wise words of chicken care expert Chris Lesley.

Beginner chicken coop tips, Megan and Harry interview with Oprah

(Image credit: GettyImages)

What is the best time of year to buy a chicken coop? 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, springtime is the best time of the year to invest in a coop. According to Chris, who is editor at Chickens and more, these months offer the best weather for chicks to acclimatize to their new home. It is also the time when there is ‘naturally more food’ available.’ 

She adds how 'Springtime is the time of year chosen by nature to start the regeneration of life process’ – so if you’re considering walking in Meghan and Harry’s footsteps, now is the best time to act. 

See: Small garden ideas – clever designs for maximizing a compact gardening space

How much space does a chicken coop need?

Before investing in a chicken coop, it's important to make sure your backyard is large enough for your chickens to live comfortably. Chickens get agitated when they don't have enough space to roam, which in turn causes them to retaliate. In her post, Chris explains that bantams don't need as much space as standard-sized chickens, but they tend to fly higher, meaning 'perches are perfect for them.'

See: Shop the garden furniture from Oprah's interview with Meghan and Harry

She continues, suggesting standard hens crave more space than bantams, but their perches are better closer to the ground. 

She also urges us to accommodate our local climate, as this can affect the size of the coop. If your garden stays warm all year, you can get away with a smaller coop; however, those in colder locations will need to create more room in the coop, as this is where they will be spending most of their time.

Beginner chicken coop tips

(Image credit: GettyImages)

How much does it cost to run a chicken coop?

See: Garden trends – all the latest looks and new ways to garden

While keeping chickens isn’t the most expensive habit, Chris reminds us to remember the cost commitment that may continue for years to come. The costs are split into four categories: housing, including the coop, accessories, such as food, livestock, and maintenance. The latter involves the hidden ongoing costs of keeping chickens, such as supplements and electricity. You might want to work these out before introducing chickens to your backyard.

We have a slight feeling there's going to be a few more chicken coops alongside Archie's, established in 2021.