When Doreen and Chimmi (Isa Browns) became a part of our family, I bought a triangular chicken tractor from a company called Backyard Chickens. The coop was flat-pack and was pretty easy to put together.
While I found it worked quite well, over time I came to realise that ventilation was an issue. Unless the coop was undercover (which it wasn’t), the one and only vent had to be closed when it rained otherwise the chickens would get wet. This meant that there was almost no ventilation.
If it only rained for a night, it wasn’t too bad, however where I live it often rains for weeks at a time, so this was an issue.
I also found it somewhat flimsy.
The size of the coop was okay, given the girls would free range in the yard every day, however if I wanted to add to their flock in the future (which I totally do, and will), then it would not be big enough.
It was for these reasons that I decided we would build our own.
Firstly, I researched many, many different websites to determine the most important things for housing hens, and these are the top three things I came up with:
1. It had to be portable (we rent, so no permanent coop allowed at this stage)
2. Ventilation was (and is) very important
3. Safety from predators was paramount
These were other key things that I took into consideration:
1. Needed to be easy to clean and maintain
2. Non-toxic materials
3. Enough space for the chickens (including potential extras in the future)
4. Needed to be sturdy (more sturdy than the triangular coop we had)
5. I wanted it raised up off the ground
Now it certainly helped that I am a draftsperson by profession (even though I’ve only been doing it for a couple of years now) and my husband is quite handy with the tools.
That said, he has since told me that we are never, ever building another chicken coop again. I’ll just give him a bit of time to get over that. I have grand plans to build a rammed earth permanent coop one day when we have our own piece of land to call home and I’ll need his help.
I think one of his biggest gripes was that I took 6 weeks to build, and I didn’t do proper plans for him to follow. I also apparently kept changing my mind. Who, me?
Anyway, it was finished and it didn’t end in divorce.
I will include some pictures showing the different stages of construction in another post.