Real Gardens

Speaking of Chickens….

Dolley2
I promised somebody I’d post some info about these small-scale, pre-fab henhouses and runs.  I’ve seen these at my feed store so I’ve had a chance to kick the tires.  They look sturdy, easy to move around, and entirely functional.  It’s a well thought-out design and I certainly couldn’t build it myself for the price, factoring in the bazillion trips to the hardware store it would take me to get the job done.

This would work well for chickens who can free-range, and it could also be easily used as a portable "chicken tractor" if you’re going to move the chickens around in your garden.  But if they are going to mostly live their lives in a coop, I’d build them a bigger structure, or consider enclosing one of these inside a larger pen, giving them more room to roam around.  Also, my chickens like to be higher up at night–their instinct is to nest in a tree–and I’d worry that they’d be generally displeased with sleeping this low to the ground.  Raising the elevation (and making sure they have a ladder or can fly in) could be a good compromise.

And finally:  remember that lots of creatures like possums, raccoons, etc. will try to tunnel under to get your hens.  If it doesn’t come with wire mesh underneath and something to anchor it firmly to the ground, you’ll need to add that.

Anyway, it’s a cool little design, and how great would it look painted lime green?  Or turquoise?  Or tangerine?

Posted by on October 6, 2008 at 5:23 am, in the category Real Gardens.
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3 responses to “Speaking of Chickens….”

  1. Jay says:

    Thanks Amy! That’s pretty cool!

    I don’t know about it in the urban setting though, it looks pretty big to me, and the garden takes up so much space already. Maybe I just need to be more creative in my layout.

    Personally I like the wood look over painted, but that is just me.

    Do you know anything about ducks? I have heard a lot suggesting that ducks can be a good chicken alternative.

  2. Genie says:

    I actually own one of these setups. The coop and run are each 4 feet by 4 feet. But they are not very well made. The wood is very thin and not weather-proof, so it warps (both sliding doors warped so badly after one spring rain that I had to replace them. I had to replace the hinges on the roof because they were so flimsy they bent and the screws pulled loose. It’s also dark; I replaced one door with plexiglass. I also painted the whole thing with water seal and if I don’t get a better setup by next year, I’ll paint the inside and out with exterior grade paint (probably turquoise, since that’s what I have a lot of). I’m going to put it up on blocks for the winter, so the damp ground doesn’t warp it into a new geometric shape. All that said, it was a quick way to get a chicken setup when I had to move from a farmlet to a subdivision. I have it sitting (without the run) in a 7-by-10-by-6-foot high chainlink dog kennel with chicken wire over the top, which seems to be enough room for my 4 hens, who are now 4 months old. I chase them inside every night; otherwise they’d sleep on the roof. Unfortunately,they need to be confined because of my two dogs; but fortunately, the dogs deter raccoons (we don’t have possums in Idaho).

    I’m not a blogger, but I love this site. You guys rock! Or should I say “you guys compost!”?

  3. Willi says:

    I have this coop, too. And I agree that it is cheap. We’ve had it for 18 months and it already needs to be repaired. To fortify it against predators we installed a plywood floor and lined the bottom of it (on the outside) with 1/4 inch hardware cloth. We also lined all of the ventilation on the roof and sides. And we installed burly doors that swing up because a rat tried to chew through the flimsy doors the coop came with. Over all I would give it a C+. The girls don’t seem to mind the roost. We let them free range mostly and they have a big run (that we built), too.

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