Be­ing all cooped up is a good thing with th­ese hand­some habi­tats.

Country Sampler's Prarie Style - - Contents - WRIT­TEN BY Bar­bara Jack­sier. PHO­TOGRAPHED BY Mark Lohman ex­cept where oth­er­wise noted.

Be­ing all cooped up is a good thing with th­ese hand­some habi­tats.

most first-time chicken own­ers, the an­swer to the ques­tion, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is ir­rel­e­vant. The ques­tion they re­ally brood over is, “What kind of coop is best?”

A first-rate backyard coop can be strictly util­i­tar­ian, whim­si­cally charm­ing, or an over-the-top ar­chi­tec­tural state­ment that will have your hu­man neigh­bors cluck­ing. As long as you pro­vide a spa­cious roost that is safe from preda­tors and has a place for the chick­ens to lay eggs and an area where they can get food and wa­ter, what your coop looks like is a mat­ter of taste and style.

Coops, like houses for peo­ple, can be

LEFT: A rustic shed gets re­pur­posed for fancy fowl with nest­ing boxes in­side and white trel­lises on the ex­te­rior. ABOVE: Buff

Or­p­ing­ton chick­ens are re­li­able lay­ers of brown eggs and have an easy­go­ing na­ture

that makes them great pets. BE­LOW: Clean straw or pine shav­ings pro­vide a soft sur­face for th­ese Speck­led Sus­sex and

Light Brahma hens and their chicks.

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