My husband and I finally took the leap into backyard chicken keeping in March of this year...we both grew up in the country/on a farm but neither had chickens before so it has been a learning experience for us both. We purchased five one-day-old chicks from a local farm supply store with the idea that at least one or two would end up being cockerels and/or wouldn't make it to adulthood (we wanted to end up with three pullets), but all five flourished and were/are pullets so two were rehomed with a coworker and her existing flock. The three remaining became Amy, Penny, and Bernadette and the coop name "The Laboratory" was coined!
We started off as a lot of inexperienced chicken keepers do; with a prefab coop kit from a box. Of course, that didn't work out well (or at least we could see it wouldn't last too long as the main coop/run), but thankfully the coop we started with was given to us for free and we only spent about $150 for additional supplies to extend the "run" portion and reinforce hardware, so we were able to recoup that when we sold it as a grow-out/hospital pen to another hobbyist.
Before we sold our first coop, I regularly perused Craigslist for handmade/sturdy coops, and came across a local carpenter whose business included building custom coops, runs, and aviaries. I fell in love with his simple/sturdy/efficient designs, his pricing was incredibly reasonable, and he delivered/installed the coops as well! We ordered a 5x8 coop in the first of June with upgraded wiring (standard was 2"x4" but we wanted 1"x1/2" as there are many feral cats and raccoons in the area) and stained/sealed lumber, and our new coop was delivered June 30th.
My favorite feature of the new coop is the ability to stand up straight while inside. The roof is 6'4" at the peak so even my tall husband can stand in it comfortably. Will make cleaning/feeder and waterer filling/general maintenance so much easier than before.
The coop has three nesting boxes that latch securely closed (and open to make egg gathering/cleanout easier) which are accessible from the outside, galvanized roof, and pressure treated lumber.
I couldn't resist using some spare fabric to put up some makeshift curtains...:)
My husband (whose carpentry skills are very limited, by his own admission) put in this shelf for me so I would have easy access to smaller items like DE, mealworms, grit, and oster shell.
We also put in a Brite Tap waterer this past Friday (again, husband put shelf in to hold jug) and the girls took to it immediately; I highly recommend this product as it keeps the water fresh, cool, and most importantly, CLEAN! This is a two gallon jug and it should not need to be refilled for at least 10 days for 3 chickens (mine is currently about half full but the girls used it quite a bit to begin with; I think it was more of a novelty/game for them to begin with). I will be able to add ACV/vitamins/electrolytes/medication as needed without worrying about dirtied, spoiled, or spilled water and no waterer sitting on the ground taking up precious real estate.
My girls are 18 weeks old today and we are (im)patiently waiting for our first eggs!