Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hatching A Coop (Part I)

With our chicks safely tucked into their brooder box for the next couple of weeks, it was now time to start planning and building our chicken coop.
Pinterest proved invaluable in collecting information and inspiration. There are so many different types of coops around, from plain and utilitarian to fancy and whimsical, in all sizes, colors, and even architectural styles. After a while your vision goes blurry and your brain will stop working. It's great to have pinterest to collect all the inspiration in one neat spot:

(check out my chicken board here)

We really, really loved the Hobbit Hole type of coops, but for our small urban backyard, space considerations played a major role in deciding on a coop design. Since we are required to keep our hens safely fenced in and need to protect them from birds of prey and the cats during the day, we needed to include a run while keeping the coop a whopping 5' away from the property line to boot. Not a small feat when half your yard is already taken up by an above-ground pool and two A/C  compressors - ugh!
That pointed us into the direction of two-story coops, the kind of coop with a run as the ground level and a cute little ladder going up to the second story penthouse!

Like this one.

 (Pin here)

Or this one.

(Pin here)

We also discovered the Smartcoop (tm) online and really, really like its look, but there were a couple of details that didn't mesh with our requirements, for example we wanted a coop with floor for our silkies (they aren't big on flying and roosting due to their fluffy feathers) as well as a separate door to access the nesting boxes, so we didn't go for that one.
However, after building our coop and adding up the expenses I'd say go for it, especially if you aren't handy with tools. Right now they are even offering free shipping!

At the end of the day we decided on a two-story coop with fold-up roof for easy access and clean-up, a separate door for access to the integrated nesting boxes, and a bottom run. Those two stories with a measurement of 3'x4' give us 24sqft of living space for our chicken without additional attached run (future project alert!).

Not wanting to use pallet wood due to its chemical soaked nature we went shopping at the big blue box first! Stay tuned!

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