Home Sweet Hen
Kim Stoddart on luxury coops
Chickens are such a delightful addition to any garden. Our relatively lowmaintenance feathered friends are fascinating to watch and provide us with so many delicious home-produced eggs throughout the year. Therefore maybe it is time to spoil them a little more.
Although housing comes in many different shapes, materials and sizes, there are options which are much less run-of-the-mill. More showstopping, in fact. Regardless of the calibre of your birds, whether they a rare breed pedigree, bantam or plucky rescue warren, it is quite possible to make a stunning feature out of some of the coops currently available to buy.
As well as affording your hens with high quality housing, these top of the range structures also have the potential to provide much enjoyment for both chickens and owners alike.
Here are just a few of the most interesting readily available options:
TO THE MANOR BORN
Henny Penny Hen Houses sells a luxurious range of accommodation, all of which is lovingly hand-made in rural north Yorkshire by local craftsmen using only the highest quality ecofriendly materials, chosen with both strength and longevity in mind. From its stylish starter home, The Chalet, to its grandest design, The Manor House, all of its housing is made to impress.
Henny Penny was born out of Penny Roberts’ love of chicken farming and design. Having been disappointed by chicken coops in the past, and as a designer herself, Penny decided to embark on a mission to produce, as she describes it, “light and spacious poultry housing which would be practical and look charming and attractive in any garden”.
Penny and her resulting designs have garnered plenty of media attention over the years, in the press and on the telly, including a feature on ITV1’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show, as well as on The Apprentice. Peter Andre is even the proud owner of a Lodge chicken coop from the company.
The Manor House provides privileged accommodation for up to 18 lucky hens and comes with a trademark thatched roof. With its traditional cast iron wheels, it is easy to move about and comes with excellent ventilation control and easy access for cleaning.
Coop prices start from £999 (for The Chalet), while The Manor House retails for £2,490, plus shipping costs. For information, visit www. hennypennyhenhouses.co.uk.
Flyte so Fancy sells a wide range of high quality and delightfully designed coops and runs, all produced by its team of expert craftsmen in Dorset. The company sells so many beautiful houses that it is hard to choose just one. As I have written about its stunning
Gypsy Chicken House before, this time I want to home in on the Fantasia, which provides a beautiful, fairy tale abode for some very lucky ladies (and gentlemen).
It comes with top quality details and features you would expect from this excellent company, including ease of access and cleaning as it boasts an internal droppings sheet. It provides luxurious housing for up to eight birds and, with its majestic design, it can take pride of place in even the most elegant of gardens.
Prices start from £850 for the unadorned structure, and for just a little extra you can also choose from a range of attractive painted shades as well. If you really want to go to town, the company even offers the Fantasia Rose Hen House which comes decorated with hand-painted entwining roses in a colour choice of pink or yellow flowers. For information, visit www. flytesofancy.co.uk.
THE PLASTIC FANTASTIC
Of course high-end housing doesn’t have to be wooden and traditional. With Omlet’s coops, you also get fabulous brightly coloured modern designs as well.
The company’s latest addition to its collection, the Eglu Go UP, is guaranteed to make chicken keeping easy, classy and fun. This plastic chicken house, which retails at £299 (for the coop), and which comes with the usual impressive Omlet bits and bobs, including easy cleaning and insulation, provides quality housing for up to four birds.
Although it can be used in a stationary position, with the optional extra of wheels it can also be easily moved around by one person thanks to its foot-operated wheel mechanism.
The additional fox-resistant chicken run (which is also extendable) enables hens to roam safely during the day when there is no one at home. This is a modern abode for savvy chicken-keepers. For information, visit www. omlet.co.uk/shop/chicken_ keeping.
Framebow’s chicken houses and runs are beautifully shaped design classics and its Arch Chicken Coop boasts a unique modern look that makes it truly special. Suitable for up to eight pampered birds, the attractive structure is made from top quality, pressuretreated Scandinavian redwood timber.
Providing an all-in-one safe structure for birds, with a 9x4ft run, including under-house space for shelter and shade, there is also the option of extending the space even further with an optional 6ft add-on. It retails at £829 (including VAT). For information, visit www. framebow.co.uk/shop/
Regardless of the calibre of your birds, whether they a rare breed pedigree, bantam or a plucky rescue warren, it is quite possible to make a stunning feature out of some of the coops currently available to buy
The Henny Penny Manor House is lovingly hand-made in rural North Yorkshire
Above: The Fantasia Rose Hen House, from Flyte so Fancy, can be regarded as a fairy tale home for some very lucky ladies (and gentlemen)
ABOVE: The Eglu Go UP is guaranteed to make chicken keeping easy, classy and fun BELOW: The Arch Chicken Coop from Framebow is made from pressure-treated Scandinavian redwood timber