Having an extra coop can become very handy in many situations. Here are the multiple roles a second coop can fill: The hospital coop to separate a sick or injured chicken from the rest of the flock. As soon as you notice something abnormal with one of your chickens, separate her from the others. A weak bird can be pecked to death by her mates, especially if she is bleeding. Examine her, bring her to the vet, and keep her in the hospital coop until she is fully recovered. The quarantine coop to isolate new chickens or chickens with a contagious disease. This coop should be located as far as possible from your existing flock to avoid any cross-contamination. The welcome coop to introduce new healthy birds to your flock. Before introducing new chickens, give them some time to meet each other safely and get the resident chickens used to newcomers. See a video of a visual introduction in our “Introducing new chickens” newsletter. The brood coop to protect a mother hen and her babies. A mother hen spends lots of time in the hen house until her babies hatch and can be quite protective of the nest box area, keeping the other hens away. So it’s a good idea to give the mother hen her own space while she is raising her babies. It will allow her to raise her babies in peace before she is ready to introduce them to the rest of the flock. The timeout coop to isolate temporarily a bully bird. If one of the flock members is constantly annoying and attacking the others, she may need some alone time to calm down and think about it ;) . It gives a break to everyone and may change the pecking order. The guest coop to host visiting chickens. If you foster chickens or chickensit for a friend there is no point in introducing the guests to your flock. It would cause unnecessary stress for all involved. Having a second coop to host the guests is the ideal solution. The spare coop to move in when the main coop becomes unavailable. If you do a major cleaning, repair, paint, or remodel the main coop, you will need another place to keep your birds safe during the construction. Similarly if you have a disease outbreak or a mite infestation, you need to treat the main coop and keep the birds away for a while. The second coop doesn’t have to be as spacious as the main coop, but it should be fully predator proof (and ideally rodent proof too). If it isn’t predator proof, consider putting it in the main coop’s run or in the garage.
Over the years, we experimented with different ways to do all of the above. We partitioned the run and used a very cheap miniature coop. We used a dog crate with an x-pen in the garage, a cat carrier and a baby gate in the laundry room. We refurbished a rabbit hutch and added a nest box. And we bought a fancy movable coop. The latter is now our guest coop. It hosts up to 6 chickens. We use it to host friends’ chickens, foster rescued hens, and introduce new girls into our flock. We love it. When we need it, we transform our laundry room into a hospital or a quarantine area. It’s a warm and safe place away from the main coop that we can monitor very closely. The renovated rabbit hutch became a nice outdoor storage place but can still be used in case of an emergency. What does your second coop look like? Have one ready before you need it.