About The Coop
What are the dimensions of the coop?
The run is 50 square feet. The hen house is elevated above the run and is 15 square feet.
How did you protect the perimeter?
I protected the perimeter with ½ inch hardware cloth buried over a foot into the ground all around. I then covered the ground all around with gravel.
Did you install an automatic door?
Yes! I received a recommendation to purchase the poultry butler solar and timer automatic coop door. Although the run and coop are enclosed on all sides, I wanted to add an extra barrier for protection. The automatic door opens and closes at sunrise/sunset or a pre-programmed time.
How do you make sure your chickens don’t get locked out?
For now, I’ve been home every night to make sure they make it in on time. Chickens will go into their house at sunset on their own. They make quite a bit of noise when it’s time to go in for the night. So far, only once have I found Marge out of the hen house begging to be let in. I set the timer to a little bit after sunset to make sure they all get in on time. Chickens are creatures of habit, so I think as they get older and more used to going in at night, they’ll go in on time (fingers crossed).
What are the chicken ordinances in your neighborhood?
In the city of Los Angeles, chickens must be kept at least 20 feet from the owner’s residence and 35 feet from neighboring residences. Roosters must be kept at least 100 feet away.
Was it hard to build and what about building costs?
It took me and one other person three consecutive weekends to build. For two people who haven’t ever built anything before, I think it was “doable.” The build challenged me physically and mentally. I had to come up with some on the spot solutions while building. I learned a lot about building along the way and it gave me confidence to build my own table.
I spent a long time deciding on which coop I wanted to build. I wanted a coop that was safe, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. To build the coop, I had to acquire quite a bit of lumber. Due to stay at home orders, I didn’t feel comfortable going to large lumber stores. I opted to have the lumber delivered which increased the cost. Here are the costs broken down:
Lowe’s – $824.42 (includes $80 delivery fee)
Home Depot – $459.78 (includes 89 delivery fee)
Hardware Kit – $169.95
I know that that is a hefty price tag for a chicken coop but I think I made a good investment in a safe, beautiful home for my chickens.
Do you have nesting boxes?
I haven’t built my nesting boxes yet. I’m debating between building or buying a kit. The nesting boxes will be inside of the hen house and the egg door accessible from outside the coop.
Aren’t you afraid of something eating your chickens?
YES. I am very afraid of this but that’s why I built mine hopefully like a fortress. I buried hardware cloth over a foot and a half along the perimeter. The henhouse is also elevated and secured with an automatic coop door.
What flooring do you use in the coop and the run?
The hen house has plywood flooring that I lay down straw. Once I run out of straw I will be trying sand on the floor of the hen house. I’ve heard that sand makes for very easy clean up. I also use straw for the flooring inside the run.
Most difficult part of the construction?
Digging the trench was by far the most labor intensive part of the build. To make sure that predators don’t dig under the coop, you need to dig over a foot down. The other difficult part of the construction was stapling and wrapping the hardware cloth around the coop. To attach the hardware cloth I used poultry staples which are hammered into the wood structure.
Are there different rooms in the coop?
The coop is made up of a run area (where they spend the day) and a hen house (where they sleep).
About The Chickens
What breeds do you have?
I have 5 gorgeous girls named Marge, Megg, Denise, Gladys and Rosa. Marge is a Rhode Island Red; Megg is a Buff Brahma; Denise is an Olive Egger which means she was bred by crossing a blue egger gene and a dark brown egger gene; Gladys is a Cuckoo Maran that will lay dark brown eggs; Rosa is an Easter Egger which means she has a blue egg gene.
Do your chickens have different personalities? Have you developed a bond with any?
They definitely have different personalities! Marge is about two weeks older than the rest of girls and is extremely friendly. I’ll go into the coop and she’ll jump on me with no hesitation and just walk around. Rosa does this thing where she’ll hide behind the water jug or the feeder and like peek around – she is sometimes shy. Rosa will jump on me if I let her eat out of the palm of my hand. Megg is a little aloof at times but loves to sunbathe and sprawl out her legs. Megg seems to still be a bit afraid of me and gets pretty jumpy if I make any sudden movements. Denise and Gladys are two peas in a pod. They literally are attached at the hip – if one goes up to perch, the other follows suit. Gladys likes to stretch out her wings, a lot! I’d say that I have a special bond with Marge since she seems to want the most attention from me.
When will they start laying eggs? How many eggs will they lay?
When a chicken starts laying eggs largely depends on their breed. Here’s a table of how old they should be and how many per year:
- Marge – 18-20 weeks old – ~250 per year
- Megg – 22-25 weeks old – ~150 per year
- Denise – 18-20 weeks old – ~180 per year
- Gladys – 18-20 weeks old – ~180 per year
- Rosa – 25-28 weeks old – ~250 per year