I met the people who make these coops at the IGC Show in Chicago earlier this year. They had a few different models with them, so I got to kick the tires and poke around inside. These are made in Grass Valley, California, by a couple of nice people who know how to build things with tools. In an era of every-damn-thing-is-made-in-China, cute chicken coops still seem to be a homegrown industry.
This one costs $580. That may sound like a lot–I mean, the chickens themselves are only $3 each at your local feed store as baby chicks–and you've probably never spent $580 to house the cat or the dog you picked up from the shelter. But unless you're super-handy with tools, I guarantee you that you will EVENTUALLY spend this much on construction, false starts, foolish errors (Oh, the door should open out, not in? Huh.), repairs, repeated trips to the hardware store, etc.
There are many more models available at Creative Coops, and expansion kits let you increase the size of your operation. Now, keep in mind that while your hens will be content scratching around in this little patch of grass for a while, they don't want to live their lives there. You want to give them some space to roam around. My hens are going through an unpleasant re-arranging of the pecking order right now, and the fact that they can retreat to their own corners of the yard from time to time makes life much easier on everyone. (You might also decide they need more space to get at their food and water than this offers, although there is room for each.)
Also–when this little house is locked up tight, the hens are safe from predators. But when the drawbridge is down, so they can get in and out, remember that a determined critter could tunnel underneath. That's probably only going to happen at night, so the point is that you need to go out there and lock them up every night–or secure this thing from all sides, including underneath.
It's a great design, though–very well-thought out and chicken-friendly. The wheels make it incredibly easy to move the thing even a couple feet so the lawn gets picked at and fertilized but not destroyed. And just imagine the fabulous colors you could paint that little house!Posted by Amy Stewart on November 3, 2010 at 5:31 am, in the category Uncategorized.