For the updated review of this coop, click here. I list all the pros and cons of this coop and my overall verdict after owning it for 19 months.
My husband, Steven, and I currently have the OverEZ large chicken coop for our backyard flock of Barred Plymouth Rocks. We’re both engineers so we wanted to have a coop that was designed by people who understood chickens and their behavior, and not just something that looked cute. Before we bought this chicken coop we researched several different brands and styles online but ultimately bought this coop.
The OverEZ large chicken coop is a kit that comes with all the materials you will need for building your coop. It is designed to accommodate up to 15 chickens and according to the manufacturer it can be used for chickens in hot and cold climates.
Keep reading to find out about this chicken coop and learn the things we wish we would have known before buying.
This coop comes with solid wood materials for constructing your coop, which are made in the USA. The walls are made of solid wood paneling, with the outside painted in a typical barn red color with white trim. The floor of the coop is a solid piece of plywood. This is great because it will keep out predators trying to crawl under the coop and is easy to keep clean.
The roof of the coop is made of metal, similar to what you see on carports. We experienced 4 inches of snow in a day and several thunderstorms and this roof has held up with no leaks. It’s important for the inside of chicken coops to remain dry and this roof accomplishes that goal. The ceiling has radiant barrier sheathing which will help to keep the coop cooler during the summer months.
On the inside of the coop, there are 2 roosting bars that are solid wood. I sat on one roosting bar and it didn’t budge, giving me assurance that once all 10 of my chickens are on the bar it won’t be going anywhere. There are 5 nesting boxes which is plenty of space for my 10 chickens to lay eggs, even though they all seem to prefer the one box closest to the human door.
Steven and I are both very pleased with how heavy duty the materials are with this coop. I have to admit we had a bit of sticker shock when we bought this coop, but that disappeared when Steven and I saw everything that came with the kit and the high quality of materials.
The construction of this coop was relatively easy. The OverEZ website says the coop can be put together “in less that 30 minutes.” Maybe if you’ve already put one of these things together you can get it done in half an hour.
It took Steven and my Dad an hour on a Saturday to construct the coop (with me supervising and holding things as needed). The written instructions that came with the coop were good to follow and we also watched the YouTube installation video to supplement the written instructions.
The four walls of the coop are pre-made so you just need to screw them together. There was some adjusting that had to be done to make everything fit together. My Dad and I would hold two walls together in just the right way so that Steven could screw it together so everything was tight.
I would compare the level of difficulty in assembling this coop similar to Ikea furniture as it was fairly easy. If we had another coop to put together, it could probably be done in under 30 minutes.
The person and chicken doors on this coop have door handles that turn to latch the door shut. We have raccoons in our neighborhood and I don’t think they would ever be able to open this door, even with their thumbs. The lid for the nesting coops have the same type of latch.
All three doors on the coop have a lock. At first, I thought this was a bit of overkill. But then, we ended up using the locks and were thankful to have them!
We had just bought our new house and it didn’t have a fence around the backyard yet. We had the coop in the backyard and anyone driving by our house could easily see it. We still had our chickens at the old house in our DIY coop, so the new coop was empty but we weren’t living in the new house yet. I had such peace of mind knowing that I could lock the coop and keep out kids looking for trouble and vagrants looking for a place to nap.
The kit came with two small keys for the locks on the doors. Just be extra careful to not loose the keys if you lock your chickens in the coop at night. Trying to break into this coop could be a challenging task.
Ventilation is the number one most important feature to consider for any chicken coop. Our previous chicken coop was a DIY coop that had extensive ventilation. We live in West Texas and it gets HOT in the summers (easily above 100 degrees F in the shade). When we saw the photos of the larger OverEZ chicken coop online, we assumed that it would also have great ventilation.
The OverEZ coop has the person door on one wall with the chicken door on the opposite wall. Both of these walls also have very small circular vents at the top of the wall near the ceiling. There are two windows on the wall between the doors, that have screens and can be opened or closed.
Based on this description, it would lead one to think “that sounds like plenty of ventilation.” Here’s the problem: it’s not enough ventilation for Texas heat where we don’t have a cool breeze at all during the summer.
In general, to maximize ventilation, in a house, a chicken coop, or any other structure, there are some basic principles to follow. Make sure you open at least two windows at opposite ends of the structure to get a benefit from the cross breeze. Opening several windows on the same side of the structure won’t have the same impact as opening windows 180 degrees or even 90 degrees from each other.
The amount of air that is moved through a structure will be directly proportional to the size of your air inlets and outlets. Opening large windows or doors will get you the most air ventilation in a structure. In our Colonial home, the front door is exactly opposite from the back door. By opening both of these doors, plus opening windows at 90 degree angles from the doors, we’re able to get a great deal of air moved throughout our home.
The small air vents in the walls are a nice idea, but there is not enough air that can adequately move through the coop with such small inlets and outlets. The human door is rarely opened, which would help with the ventilation of the coop. The windows allow some air, but since there is only the small chicken coop door 90 degrees from these windows, you’re unable to maximize the air flow through the coop.
To remedy this issue, we set a box fan on top of the nesting boxes so it would blow air in one window. When you stand in front of the other window you can feel air blowing out. You can also feel some of the air blow out between the nesting boxes and the lid. I’m not crazy about this idea since we have an extension cord draped through the yard but it helps to keep the coop ventilated.
Update: Steven and I are replaced the human door with a screen door this summer. We used the current door as a pattern and used half inch hardware cloth to make the door predator proof. The coop has much more ventilation now and the chickens seem to enjoy the additional breeze! It would be nice if OverEZ offered a screened human door as an add-on to their chicken coop kits because I think many coops located in the South would benefit.
The windows on this coop are really cute but there is room for improvement.
First, you have to crawl inside the coop to open or close the window at the far end. We leave the windows open nearly all the time. We only close them if there is going to be driving rain on that direction of the coop. The adjustments for opening and closing the windows are on the inside of the coop, but it would make much more sense if the windows were reversed so you could adjust them from the outside.
In addition, the window screen can easily be torn by a predator. It really needs to be replaced with half inch hardware cloth. Due to the adjustments of the windows being on the inside we’re going to have some difficulty adding the hardware cloth to the window where it doesn’t look horrible.
The OverEZ large chicken coop is advertised for housing “up to 15 chickens.” We currently have 10 chickens in this coop and I would be cautious about adding any more chickens. The interior floor space of the coop is roughly 30 square feet. If you estimate that chickens need a minimum of 3 square feet each, then you are right at 10 chickens comfortably in this coop.
My chickens like to all sleep on the top roosting bar at night. If there were more chickens added to the coop, I’m sure there would be bullying since not a single more chicken can fit on the roosting bar and someone would then need to sleep on the lower bar.
There are five nesting boxes, which is plenty for 10 (or even 15 chickens). Right now, my chickens are all laying eggs in the nesting box closest to the human door. I think it’s probably because it has more privacy than the boxes closer to the chicken door and ramp. I will usually find one egg in one of the other boxes, but the majority are in that one box.
While there are plenty of nesting boxes and roosting bar space for 15 chickens, it gets unbearably hot in the coop during the summer (even at night). Increasing the number of chickens in the coop will increase the amount of respiration, leading to increased moisture in the coop, which already has poor ventilation.
Chickens have sensitive respiratory systems, which makes them susceptible to many different respiratory disease (which are the most common cause of death, after predation). Chickens have a high respiration rate compared to humans and other animals. Because of this, they need proper ventilation to ensure they are breathing clean air that is not full of moisture.
|Respiration Rate |
The OverEZ large coop is advertised to fit 15 chickens, but in hot climates I think this would be too many chickens in a single coop. Even if they are only sleeping and laying eggs in the coop, the lack of ventilation makes it very hot, even at night.
Compatibility with Run
All OverEZ chicken coops are compatible with attaching to an OverEZ chicken run. The chicken runs also come in a kit delivered by truck on a pallet.
We have the walk-in 15 foot OverEZ chicken run and this is where our chickens get to roam during the day. I like that the run and coop were designed to be attached. We did have a few issues constructing the run from the kit, so it took us a couple of hours to complete. It was more difficult to construct than the run, but our situation was not helped because it was super cold and windy the Saturday that we put the run together.
I like this run for several reasons. The top is tall enough that you can stand upright when in the run with the chickens. The metal panels are sturdy and the run has held up great in snow, rain, and high winds. A major drawback with this run is the low header on the doorway. You have to duck to walk in or out of the coop, which is easy to forget since you are not ducking while inside the coop. Both Steven and I have hit our heads on this several times and let out a few choice words every time it happens.
OverEZ also has panels that can be attached under the coop so when the chickens are in the run they can walk under the coop. We have not bought these, but have considered making our own. The bottom of the coop is shaded all day and would be another cool place for our chickens to go during the day.
The OverEZ chickens coops are a bit pricey. However, if you were to build your own coop from scratch, it would also be expensive since lumber prices are so high right now (Summer 2021), not to mention the price of all the other parts you need to build a coop (windows, hinges, door latches, paint).
I like how the coop kit included everything we needed. It even came with touchup paint in red and white! These kits are made in the US and are designed by Amish craftsmen. I always prefer to support US businesses, especially those that are small.
I would recommend this coop if you don’t have the time, money, or construction skills to get the “perfect” coop built now. While I recommend this coop for people raising chickens in their backyards, there are several features about the coop that we will be modifying. We will eventually build our next coop from scratch to get close to having the “perfect” coop (assuming that exists), but for now this one works and our chickens seem happy!