Guest Post: Pre-Fab Chicken Coop by Jen of Random Thoughts in My Head



I’m so excited to be bringing you a guest post today from the blogger Jen of the blog Random Thoughts in My Head – http://the-random-thoughts-in-my-head.blogspot.com/ . 

I “met” Jen in the blogsphere (that’s a word people use, right?), which, as an aside, is one of my favorite things about blogging.  I love that it allows me to make these cyber-friendships with people all over the country (and world, I suppose!).  Anyhow, I met Jen as a result of this blog.  She mentioned in a comment on one of my posts about having bought a pre-fab chicken coop for the little chicks that her family was raising.  I immediately asked her if she would guest post about it after she had the coop up and running.  I don’t know about you, but I see these coops all over the internet, in stores and in magazines.  They look beautiful and I’ve wondered about their functionality.  If you’ve ever wondered about them, too, then wonder no longer.  Read on to hear about Jen’s experience with her pre-fab coop. 

Hi.  I’m Jen.  Wife, Mama, backyard gardener and new chickie owner!  I hesitate to call what I do “homesteading.”  I just call it knowing where my food comes from.  This is my first guest post, so I’m a little nervous, just bear with me!  I document the randomness of our days over at  http://the-random-thoughts-in-my-head.blogspot.com – http://the-random-thoughts-in-my-head.blogspot.com/ .  Stop by and say hi.




In March on a whim I got two Buff Orpingons and an Ameraucana. It wasn’t really a whim, I had done some research and knew what kind of birds I wanted. My husband was less than thrilled.  In my head I had all kinds of plans to build a semi fancy chicken tractor. That way the chickies could roam, eat all kinds of grass and bugs, fertilize the grass and be protected from the dogs.  What I was thinking about building was not at all what hubby had in mind. 

The Chickies
A discussion was had. Words were said. It was decided that for the sake of our marriage we should perhaps look at other alternatives to what each of us were thinking. I posted on Facebook asking for opinions and options. Someone sent me a link to a pre-fab chicken coop that was reasonably priced. For a week I’d lay in bed at night googling chicken coops.  I found one that we both really liked on Amazon and Wayfair. One website offered free shipping and was priced higher. The other was cheaper but had to pay for shipping. The ultimate price difference was minimal. The bad news was they were out of stock on both websites and not available until late June or so (I just got my wish list notification). 

Uh. Oh. Now what? At the end of April, my parents gave me the Sunday paper flyer for Murdoch’s. They had their chicken coop on sale.  I went to look at it and took pictures of it to show hubby.  We talked about it, compared it to the one we really liked but couldn’t get for over six weeks and decided on some modifications that we should do. When I finally got back to the store, the coop was no longer on sale. But the coop was only $200.00. It was still a no brainer. 


The directions were simple and the coop was easy to put together.  Although hubby had the help of a two year old the coop was put together in a couple of hours.  We did make some modifications to the coop. The first thing we did was staple some chicken wire to the bottom of the coop to help keep predators out. Next we added some hardware to the doors as the latches are a bit flimsy. The last thing we did was staple some weather stripping to the outside of the nesting box lid.  I wandered the aisle at the hardware store looking until I found what pictured in my head. I ended up buying some garage door weather stripping, because it is thin and flexible. The reason we did that was because I thought the gap was big enough that snow would blow inside the nesting box in the winter. The only place to put the coop in the dog run was for the nesting box to face the west and we get some pretty strong west winter winds.   The dog run has pine tree chips instead of grass so we filled the base of the coop with the chips. I still have a small pile left from mulching the garden beds in the back yard so I am saving those to put on the coop base as needed.

Nesting Box with Weather Stripping
The coop is made for up to four chickens. My three ladies snuggle in the corner of one nesting box.  I hung their food container on the beam under the ramp and their water container is in the corner by the ramp.   All in all for what we needed, this coop certainly does the job. I have no illusions that it will last forever and who knows I may add more chickens and need something bigger but for now it works just fine. 

Thanks so much for sharing, Jen!  Sounds like if you are an urban homesteader and are just planning on having a few hens, this would work great.  (And at $200, you can’t beat the price and ease of construction).

And if you’re looking into getting a pre-fab coop yourself, has many options.  Here are a few, including the one that Jen purchased:


          
And if you’re considering the idea of building your own coop, here are a couple of books that are great: 
          

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