Whether you’re an urban farmer in the making or a well-versed nation gardener, it is hard to resist the allure of cows. While they are plenty of effort — and can make a large mess — the general consensus is that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Of course, the coop is a massive part of having chickens. These little guys are completely determined by their owners for security and are extremely sensitive to space, ventilation and light.
We asked you to share photographs of your henhouses. Scroll down to view eight of the favorites.
1. Aimee Carpenter created this chicken coop, Chateau de Poulet, out of her daughter’s old playhouse. Recently, she added new siding, a metal roof and paint. The playhouse was altered to include nesting boxes, roosts, a doorway, a ramp and chicken wire above the windows to keep predators out.
Carpenter coop is a chicken paradise. The exterior boxes have viewing windows and could be accessed from the exterior, making collecting eggs somewhat easier. The coop also has a solar light and a solar lover inside. The fan kicks in at a certain temperature, which helps to keep the distance cool in the summer. The center segment, fenced in with chicken wire, joins the chicken coop to the goat home — a favourite spot for the cows on rainy days.
Sheet fiberglass outlines the walls, which makes them completely scrubbable — a great touch in what could become a smelly space. The roosts within this coop are also hinged and lift to hook to the ceiling, allowing Carpenter to clean the floor without needing to work around them.
She installed branches rather than round rods, which she found most chickens prefer. Each of the windows open for light and ventilation, and heavy-gauge wire is layered underneath the window framing to keep raccoons out.
DIVOLL LESLIE DESIGN & INC ARCHITECTURE
2. Leslie Divoli of West Palm Beach, Florida, has maintained chickens for the past five or six years. What started out as two hens, four chicks and a rooster has grown into a flock of 62 cows. Divoli’s coops are walk-in, making cleaning easier. A self-closing door with a hands on latch makes sure that no one becomes locked in.
Since Florida is ridden with snakes, the biggest challenge has been making the constructions snakeproof. “Every climate has different design requirements,” Divoli says. “A Chicago coop and a Miami coop ought to differ. In our climate, the main shield needs are shade, cool breeze, protection from intense rain and security from predators.”
3. Michelle Carlisle has maintained chickens for three and a half years into her Saint Croix Falls, Wisconsin, residence. She desired her coop to be as low maintenance as possible. “I tried to be logical with the way I put up things,” she says. “I place the food and water right next to the doorway, so they would be easy to grab when we must fill them in winter. The nest boxes are in easy reach of the doorway also.”
Since plenty of predators live in the woods surrounding her house, safety was particularly important. “The best thing we did was totally enclose the coop into a secure lawn, so that if we desired to depart for a couple of days in the summer, we can just leave their little chicken door open.”
4. For her very first flock of chickens, Vicki Smith needed an economical but durable coop that would look great at the lawn of her 140-year-old Pennsylvania farmhouse. She wasn’t sure how she’d feel about getting cows and didn’t need to invest a lot of money. She kept it easy electricity-wise, with a power cable out of her back deck running to the coop to get a water heater and light.
Smith didn’t need to have to get on her hands and knees to clean, so she put the coop on legs so that she could back her Gator up to it and rake the litter into the truck bed. But since she’d need to creep in and do care from time to time, she had to make it sturdy with a significant entrance. The pen is about 200 square feet total and can home her six chickens with plenty of breathing room.
“My main suggestion for anybody building their own coop is to keep it easy and have fun with it. Do it if building your own miniature Cape Cod for your flock is within your skills. Chickens have a few basic requirements for distance, roosts, nest boxes and predator protection. Following that, you can do anything you need — or anything your neighbors or local government will take.”
5. Cheri Mitchell of Winnie, Texas, rescued her Godl Dutch Bantams in the training facility for duck hunting dogs. After snagging two hens and a rooster from certain death, she realized she had to build a place for them to live. This adorable little home has wheels on it, therefore it can be dragged in addition to the chicken run to fertilize different areas of the lawn and keep the chicken appear clean and fresh.
The coop itself has six nests, which Mitchell created out of milk crates. Having heard horror predator stories, Mitchell lined her chicken house with 1/2-inch-thick hardware cloth — a hardy netting that’s more powerful than chicken wire and has considerably smaller holes. Additionally, there are two layers of hardware cloth on the ground from burrowing in, to stop rats and snakes.
6. Though she and her family wanted cows, Cassie Ward also desired a coop that was as low maintenance as possible. As a mother and an elementary school teacher, she didn’t have a ton of time to devote to these little critters. Because of this, she produced a henhouse with two big doors that swing open, allowing for cleaning at waist level. Nesting boxes available out into a nook that’s easy for collecting eggs, and also a deep bedding system means she wants to fully clean out the coop only a few times a year.
The upper level of this coop has two ports, which help stop frequent chicken respiratory issues. This 60-square-foot space is chock-full of security measures — strong metallic fencing, brick floor that extends 8 inches into the ground to protect from digging predators, and padlocking latches.
“Find the coop at a place where the cows could choose sun or shade, if possible. Chickens like to stretch out to the ground in sunlight for afternoon naps,” Ward says. “And be sure to allow your hens have access to an outdoor run. Chickens that are cooped up all of the time won’t be happy. They will let you and your neighbors know precisely how they feel.”
7. Kathy Siegel’s Los Angeles coop was created around a beautiful closed window that her husband discovered. Utilizing Google Sketch-Up, Siegel made the home to incorporate air, light and tons of protection. The coop has a series of screened areas beneath the rafters, allowing for clean air flow. The arrangement is nestled against a retaining wall, therefore Siegel had to design all the entries and exits through one set of doors.
8. Washington state resident Gwen Weertsand her husband were excited to become first-time chicken owners but had difficulty figuring out where to place their coop within their small lawn. They have an extensive garden, also everything might be destroied by providing the chickens free range. The one perfect spot was interrupted by a walnut tree stump, so the couple constructed around it, letting it become a part of this coop.
To present their chickens the sun and shade they crave, the couple extended the coop’s roofing to cover 70 percent of their run, with 30 percent found for sunny, dry days. Washington is known for its wet weather, therefore this also prevents the run from turning into a giant pit of sand.
Do you maintain hens? Please tell us about them below!
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