Every chicken needs a palace.
Right? That’s a thing, right?
Okay, maybe that’s not really a thing, at least until you get into the realm of backyard chickens. I can already tell a month in that backyard chicken keepers are a special breed – we’re going to pamper and pet and love these peeps. And in return we will receive avian affection, a dose of hilarity, a good number of unexpected, possibly traumatic events, and oh yes eggs, delicious fresh eggs.
In the face of all that, what choice did we have but to make it a cheery yellow?! But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Yes, we thought about DIY’ing it. It’s a great option: cheaper, customizable, there are tons of plans on the web, and you know I love a project. Ultimately we decided against building a coop ourselves mainly because we realistically didn’t have the time or the expertise to get it done properly; perusing lots of Instructables and blogs, we realized many people make mistakes on their first go, or end up rebuilding in a year or two, and we didn’t want to risk it.
Turns out once you decide to buy, you can spend a lot on a coop! Custom, high-design, mobile, made of reclaimed this or repurposed that – the choices are endless, even among used coops, although most we ran across were way too big for our teeny space. On the other end of the spectrum are the mass-produced prefab jobs from China. These last are attractive starter urban coops, mostly small and cheaply made, but perfectly acceptable for a couple years’ experiment. Of course they’re a little overpriced and a touch lacking in soul. We hoped to find something in the middle, and we got lucky.
Our brand new coop was waiting for us on Craigslist, designed and assembled in our backyard by a local man named Nastrat who told us he loves his silkie bantam hens for their pink-hued eggs. His coop design is taller than most prefabs which is nice for the hens but apparently makes it pretty much un-shippable – even broken down, the length of the boxes pushes it into a higher price bracket. (I had wondered why all those other ones seemed so low to the ground! Logistics.) It has all the things we required and more – built entirely of cedar, with two protruding nest boxes at waist-height, well away from predators’ reach but at perfect gathering height for us; a litter tray for easy cleaning; two roosts in the main coop room (enough room for 8 chickens); a lovely ramp with a sliding door up top; a good-sized enclosed and covered run; a sliding ventilation window; and multiple complex locks on every opening. It even has a roof that opens wide to let the sun in occasionally, something we’d not seen before but that makes our coop look like an excitable anime character.
We’ve spent the last week or so priming and painting our new wing (ha, get it?!) a peep-friendly yellow and white, partly to make it easier to keep clean, but mainly because we wanted it to look cute. Who wouldn’t want to be greeted by a sunshiny hue every morning on the way to snag your farm-fresh eggs?
Come back soon and we’ll get that tape off and give you a tour!