Sunday, July 17, 2011

New chicken digs

Our hens right now have a 6'x6' box that has a lot of straw in it. We keep it open for them right now and they poke around the yard. We built the "coop" for free, and it's certainly worked well.


It's not a good wintertime home. It needs to be more waterproof (we put tarps over it in the spring), and we'd prefer to have it closer to the house in the winter (so we can more easily check on them).

So, on the books is to build a new coop. Since they are free-range on non-rainy days, we have decided to make the coop a bit smaller. We'll have a roost area and a nesting box area, but we'll also have an open area inside for poking around.

This is all brought on by this weekend's weather. Horrible! Rainy, mucky, gross. The hens don't get it, and instead of staying under covers, they've gallivanted out in the rain.... and become soggy, cold things.

Since the girls clearly don't know better to stay inside on a bad day, we've decided to have an indoor only area for them in the wintertime. Big enough to stretch their legs and play about, but not so big as they'll lose body heat and get cold. By having it off the ground, they'll not get mucky.

Here's the concept plan:

We'll probably have ours a bit taller and a bit longer, but you get the idea. I'd like to be able to use the underneath as storage for food and straw.

We're also building it for four hens, since I would greatly love to get a Jersey Giant next spring.

It's a bit smaller than I would normally approve of, but since they're out and about in good weather, I don't feel so bad.



  1. I like it! Compact but functional. I was looking at one at our local nursery today (for a whopping $1500) that was similar in design but with the standard underneath run. I agree - the underneath bit doesn’t seem to make much sense, given our soggy weather. Will that big door be closed during the nighttime to preserve heat/keep out the rain? If not, then my only change would be to make it 1/2” hardware cloth instead of the chicken wire. I hear raccoons are pretty creative in getting through chicken wire screens...

  2. Hi Sonja!
    Yup, you hit the nail on the head, and I haven't made a decision yet. I do like the solid door, that way it can be closed during the winter months at night to let the girls preserve heat better. But, that's not necessary in the summer, so I suspect I'll probably use the 1/2" mesh instead of chicken wire for safety.

    But, I do need to figure out where I want the door. I want easy access for cleaning. Do I leave the little door where it's at and have my access through the roof for cleaning? Or do I make my cleaning door the same door the girls use to leave the coop?

    I'm leaning toward making the roof open-able, which will be easy-ish if the coop has a single sided roof (rather than A-frame). But, I'd have to make the coop a little less high, that way I could easily reach in.

    We'll see. I'll have everything drawn out and planned... I just need to think it out a bit more before I decide.