Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coop plans

"Well. I'm not feeling any pressure. Are you?"

I want to build a chicken coop in the spring and so have been looking into small coop designs. It seems that the needs of chickens are few: a roost, a nest box, ventilation, and light. And though I plan to let them out to roam the farm area during the day, I'd also like to have an enclosed pen for their own protection. I've found a couple of designs that I like, one of which, "The Playhouse Coop," I actually purchased plans for some time ago. I've misplaced those plans, however, which leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I'll keep looking for them over the weekend and see if they turn up.

In the meantime, I have another chicken-related project ahead of me this winter: a compost fence.

A compost fence is just what it sounds like, a fence that also acts as a compost bin. I thought this would be a neat solution to two problems I have right now, which is a fence separating the main backyard from the farm area that is too low, and an overflow of leaf mulch. As soon as my grading is behind me next week, I plan to start work on the demolition of the old fence (I'll save the cedar pickets to use on the coop) and the setting of some metal posts.

Well, that's the plan, anyway. I always go into these term breaks with a long to-do list and am lucky to get half of it done...


  1. Can't wait to see what you come up with! I've seen some pretty nifty coops here in Seattle. My favorite was made out of some crazy Thai doors and was painted all sorts of vivid colors. Someday, I want to have chickens. I'm not quite clear on the compost fence concept - will look forward to seeing it when it's built! Happy end of grading (soon). If it were me, I would just flop on the couch! :)

  2. Very funny and clever cartoon! Thanks for the laugh and good luck with your new coop! I am jealous!

  3. I'm looking forward to seeing waht you come up with for a coop design- I am sure it will be great. One design I really like are the "Amish" coops (e.g.,, really practical and nicely designed. Definitely limit the chicken to an enclosed outdoor area. They are disgusting little beasts.

  4. Love the cartoon Susan...There are a few elaborate chicken coops out there.
    Some are nicer then my mosaic shed.

    Enjoy your winter break from school.


  5. Probably one of the ones Gail was thinking about is Robin's Palazzo di Pollo, which I think is nicer than my house.

  6. Karen--who says I don't just flop on the couch? ;-)


    David--I checked that out. It looks interesting. Still haven't decided what I
    m going to do, though.

    MMD--Oh my yes. Over the top, out of control, and fabulous.

  7. Be sure to cover your coop Susan... As my father called them, those "chicken eating hawks" are everywhere.

    We never had any snatched from the backyard in Midland, but when we moved them out to the country we lost quite a few.

  8. A dear old German lady from the Hill Country reminds her neighbors that snakes really like to get into the chicken coops. I doubt you have an abundance of snakes in Tech Terrace, but one can never be too careful. Sharing eggs with snakes just does not need to happen. It is my understand the snakes are after the eggs to eat.
    The Ant

  9. When I was researching what to build I spent a lot of hours on this site and they have a coop section as well as forums for perusing what others have done. I love my coop and would only change two things about it if I were to do it again. I would make the run a lot bigger, mine is only 6x16. I would also have doubled the size, I love my chickens. More would be even better. My hubby says 25 is enough though. I disagree with Dave, I love my girls and they bring many hours of enjoyment and wonderful eggs to boot. Good luck. Can't wait to see what you come up with. The coop section of that site has many wonderful coops to see.

  10. John--We routinely get Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks in our backyard, but the neighbor across the street keeps chickens and has never had a problem. I'm going to keep them penned up until they're big enough to fend for themselves.

    Theant--I have seen a snake here, but it was an escaped pet. Still, it pays to be vigilant.

    Heather--yes, that's been one of my go-to sources for info on the coops. It's interesting to see what sort of designs people come up with. I have a rough idea of what I want; now I just need some free time.

  11. Ok, so first I have to's my understanding that chickens are illegal in the city limits? I reviewed the city ordinances and found NOTHING that actually said they were, but when I talked to someone, he said emphatically, they WERE illegal.
    I decided to ignore him, and have a small, lovely flock of both standard and bantam chicks that I got from (I wanted a small number of heritage breeds and sexed bantams, hard to find).
    My coop houses 13 hens; I built it almost entirely from salvaged materials which I accrued via perusing the back alleys during my morning jog and by dragging stuff out of construction dumpsters sitting in front of renovation projects. The frame consists of 4 ceramic tile crates I picked up at a local store, stacked two on top, two on bottom. The lower right section is completely walled off and stores food; the lower right is mostly just screened with hardware cloth to give them a shady, well ventilated place to go; it also has a slanting 'staircase' which they use to access the top floor, which consists of two crates joined together. On the left is an area for food and water; on the right, nest foxes and roosts. I wish i could post a picture, I'm pretty proud of it! I'll be clipping the girl's wings soon, so they don't hop up on the fence; afterwards, they'll have complete access to the yard. Currently, I built a 15X20 enclosure around the coop so that they are safe from my dogs. NOTE: I leave my dogs outside when they are loose and I'm not there to watch them. The greatest risk is likely to be your neighborhood cats; I have so many friends that have lost their urban flocks to cats, and not just the feral ones.
    Just some comments...I'm obsessed with my chickens! Fresh, organic eggs! Excellent fodder for my compost pile! Great, nitrogen rich fertilizer for my plum trees! and they're just so darn cute....