AskDefine | Define henhouse

Dictionary Definition

henhouse n : a farm building for housing poultry [syn: chicken coop, coop, hencoop]

User Contributed Dictionary



hen + house


  1. A small house or hutch for chickens or, more specifically, hens to live in.

Extensive Definition

A chicken coop is a building where chickens are kept on a farm or homestead.
The inside of the chicken coop normally consists of several nesting boxes just large enough for the chickens to sit in while laying their eggs as well as perches for the chickens to use while sleeping. Often the floor of the chicken coop is covered with a material, such as straw or wood chips, to contain the chicken waste and to allow easier cleanup of the chicken coop. Sometimes the chicken coop contains feeding and watering devices for the chickens, but these may also be kept outside of the chicken coop. Most have some kind of ventilation to help air out any odors that may occur.
Since chickens are often prone to illness from drafts and poor weather, chicken coops are best designed to be warm at cold times, cool at hot times, and as draft free as possible.

Backyard coops

Many people, especially in rural areas, keep a small flock of chickens to provide themselves with eggs and meat.
These small coops are often surrounded by a fence, usually made with wire fencing to allow the chickens an area to roam, peck, and hunt insects, while contained. Contrary to popular use of the term, fencing known as "chicken wire" is often too weak to pose a barrier to predators and is therefore seldom used to confine chickens.

Other uses

  • In American English, the slang phrase "flew the coop" is used to refer to someone who has escaped impending confinement. For example, The police had a warrant for his arrest, so he flew the coop!
  • American truckers refer to weigh stations as chicken coops.
  • In the poem "Ballad of John Silver" by John Masefield, there is a reference to drowning merchants "lamenting the absent chicken coop". This maritime usage is archaic and may now be lost.

See also

Sources and notes

Different coop designs and pictures.
henhouse in French: Poulailler
henhouse in Hebrew: לול
henhouse in Polish: Kurnik
henhouse in Dutch: Kippenhok
henhouse in Dutch Low Saxon: Kiepehokke
henhouse in Sicilian: Puddaru
henhouse in Finnish: Kanala
henhouse in Swedish: Hönseri
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