Here are some of the steps I took for having chickens and making their home pretty fancy. But before that, here’s what we’ve got in the yard:
It’s was definitely a bit more complicated than I had initially anticipated. Unless you are handy and have someone to help (thanks Dad!), I don’t recommend such aesthetic construction if you’re wanting to get chickens in the next couple weeks.
I sketched this design this after researching coops on google images. I found so many “chicken resorts” that I was lost in the mess of coop designs for a while. I eventually came upon a series of coops that were sold by Williams-Sonoma (fancy that), and I decided to incorporate more functionality and a modular aspect (as described later). Here are a couple of the designs that caught my eye:
Desiring a rustic look, I leaned toward the second option. Undoubtedly it was too short and small for any additional chickens in the future! So I decided I’d rather combine the two and my own aspects into my own coop. Here are my rough sketches of what I wanted:
The coop is designed to detach from the chicken run. This will allow for relocating the coop to another part of the yard or expansion for a larger chicken run. The coop can hold as many as 10 chickens but I’d suggest no more than 8, especially if you have chickens that are not as docile. The project will cost you around $320, much cheaper if you have tools and a stapler for the fencing and some time to visit Habitat for Humanity. I was able to get my coop for around $200. I had some things I could’ve returned afterwords that I never used but I didn’t bother. Here’s my list of purchases:
At the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, door hinges were $0.50, latches were less than $1, and my father was able to locate a pallet board company that had plenty of excess scrap wood to make the wooden shingles. If you can find chicken wire or another type of fencing that’s cheaper, it’ll drastically reduce project cost.
The food reserves last around 3 days (if they are on free range it lasts much longer), the water about 3 on hot days. We decided to try using wood chips for padding in the coop, it’s proven to be pretty messy so I will be sticking with hay in the following months. I also ended up adding a wire-extended solar-powered light from the dollar store to place in the coop because I am told “Happy chickens equals eggs” and they like having a night light.
Finally, introducing the chickens was the best part for me. We purchased two black Sex Link chickens and two Ameraucana’s (they lay colored eggs). If you’re looking to pick the right chicken for you, I’d suggest clicking here for some general breeds and characteristics. I also visited backyardchickens.com for some reference on feeding them our scrap food.
All in all, the coop was a success and we’ve been getting a minimum of 2 eggs/day and very often get an egg from each chicken daily. The project took around a month (with many days not working on it) and a bit of help from the ole’ Pops.