Monday, July 25, 2016

our chicken coop tour

good morning there!

it has been awhile since i've gushed about our sweet chickens. things are going well and i just am still smitten over my gals! i'll have to give a little update about how much fun it has been to have our ladies laying the eggs for almost one full year. but today is a photo tour of our chicken coop and some of my favorite parts of their home...

my husband was presented with the task of making a coop. i had picked out a few designs that i liked and even a few pre made packages that one just assembles. he decided that it would be fun to make our very own design and incorporate all the good ideas we noticed from other coops. we decided that we would base our coop on the likelihood that we wouldn't have more than 12 birds at once, so it was designed and built for 12 laying hens. we currently have 8 chickens and they are all layers (well, when our one buff orpington isn't broody!). 

one of the first desired attributes - a tall run! we both decided that if we didn't have to duck down the entire time we were in the run that we would probably keep up on needs inside the run. my husband is just at six feet tall, so that was the height we aimed for and he can comfortably stand in the center of the run when he takes a turn to "lock up" at night.

something else we decided that was important - shade! the girls can hang out under their coop when needing shade, it also is dry under there, so they often take dust baths. we also positioned our coop under some tree branches which provides even more shade seasonally. (at our school we put a tarp over the run to give the ladies some relief from the sun, so you don't really need trees to be next to your coop, this was just what worked well in our yard)

getting in and out of the run is something that happen several times each day - i'm talking hooks/latches/locks/human friendly unlocking and the safety net of "what if i get locked in?' we decided to select various locks and closures that are not raccoon friendly - mostly we have carabiners securing the run and each opening around the coop (the front coop door, each set of nesting boxes, the back coop door, and the tall door to the run are all locked at night) 

my husband installed a simple string pull system incase one ever gets accidentally closed into the run, if the door blows shut behind one of us we can pull on the string and it lifts the unlocked latch on the door.

we have six nesting boxes - but of course the girls like to lay in just a couple of them and put their eggs together. we liked the idea of being able to access the eggs from outside the run, that way we can just quickly pick up eggs on the days that the girls aren't able to free range (i don't like to get their hopes up that they are getting to gallivant around the property, which they do often, but not during the school year/work day when no one is home - too many predators around here).  my husband installed a little hook so the door can be held up easily while we collect eggs. this has been a nice addition, especially if children are helping with egg collecting. then of course we just lock up this exterior access point with a carabiner.

we also decided to use reclaimed barn siding for top layer of siding on our chicken coop. we thought it would look great and age well. it goes well with the look of our mini farm and should continue to be fairly low maintenance. one bonus i didn't think of until we had new wood structures around our place - the wood bees definitely prefer the new wood! so that has been nice too.  

so far we've really enjoyed our coop and the way it was designed and built. one idea not pictured: we have an easy access clean-out on the back of the coop and it is a perfect height for a wheelbarrow to sit underneath and catch the rakings when we have a clean out session. as we consider how to make certain structures and systems around our mini farm we've been trying to make things easy, low maintenance... hoping that it will age well with us and allow us to continue doing the work ourselves for many years to come. 

thanks for checking out our ladies' coop today!

*i added this blog post to the Our Simple Homestead Link Up! Click on over to check out all the homestead goodness! And Nancy On the Home Front selected this post as a favorite of the blog hop! i'm so honored- thanks Nancy!! Click on over to check out her post!


  1. Love your chicken coop! Thank you for sharing your post on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop! As one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post tomorrow! Look forward to readngmore of your posts! - Nancy (Nancy On The Home Front)

    1. Thank you Nancy for your kind words - and for featuring my post! We love our chicken coop and I always enjoy seeing the varieties of homes that creative people come up with for those little birds that we all love. Thanks for popping by my blog!