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?”
Being all cooped up is a good thing with these handsome habitats.
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
bought, built or borrowed. The decision of which to choose is almost as complicated. You can find dozens of plans to build coops yourself online. Some specify scrap wood such as pallets and recycled resources, while other designs require a substantial investment in materials and labor.
Ready-made coops also exist in every price range. To save on shipping fees, find a local manufacturer or builder. The least expensive option, however, is to repurpose a shed or outgrown playhouse. Add a few poles for roosting and reinforcement for security, and your chickens will flock to their new home.
For four hens, you’ll need at least a 5-foot-by-5-foot critter-proof enclosure and a 5-foot-by-8-foot screened-in attached yard for outdoor scratching and exercise. If space permits, consider a larger shelter because once you get used to farm-fresh eggs, you will be tempted to add a few more hens to your backyard barnyard.
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.
Coops, like houses for people,
can be bought, built or borrowed.
TOP LEFT: Study up before bringing home
your first chicks. Daily care and routine attention are required for your hens’ wellbeing. Photo by Lu Tapp. TOP RIGHT: Screen doors provide superb ventilation in these sideby-side coops. One side is outfitted for chick tending, while the other is for mature birds.
Photo by Lu Tapp. ABOVE LEFT: No need to spend a fortune on a coop, salvaged tin, shutters and screen doors work fine. Vintage lanterns add a decorative touch to the roofline. ABOVE CENTER: This converted mudroom
serves double duty as a potting shed and a safe haven for a small flock. ABOVE RIGHT: A ramp is handy for large, heavy breeds that can
injure their feet when jumping up and down.