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The "Smart Coop" - In search of reviews/opinions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Our family of four is looking to expand with the addition 3-5 chickens later this spring. We are all novices at this and though there is a strong community of support for "backyard chickens" in our area, we are still in search of just the right coop for our new flock. 

 

Due to a number of reasons, we believe that finding the right "prefab" coop makes sense for our family. We have done a bunch of searching and reading related to coops and it seems as if the search for the right coop, low cost, easy maintenance, sturdy enough to withstand the Cleveland winters, is akin to searching for the Holy Grail. 

 

However, this morning my wife came across a coop on Pinterest (of all places) and I was hoping to get the opinion of this prestigious group. I have performed an extensive search online and here at BYC and cannot seem to find a truly honest appraisal of the coop design and construction. The coop is called "The Smart Coop" and is advertised at www.thesmartchickencoop.com. If we purchase it, we would probably get a run to go with it (which may end up being temporary until we build an extension ourselves), and the "addition". 

 

Is there anyone out there who has seen or used this coop? Anyone else with more experience have any thoughts or concerns based on what you see?

 

Thanks in advance for your help! This is such a fantastic community and I am so glad you all are here...

post #2 of 8

That's a really cute coop, but keep in mind, it's only 4' x 2.5', which would give you room for 2 or 3 birds. If you want 5 chickens, you'll want to aim closer to 20 or 25 square feet minimum. One of the things it doesn't have, though, are windows. Our girls sit in front of their window all day during the cold winters, so I think they actually enjoy it.

 

I built my own, but I've recently seen some pre-fab units here in Winnipeg, for $800 - $1300, depending on size, from Horizon Structures. They seem to be retailing here much cheaper than from the horizon site itself, for some reason....they must offer great wholesale pricing.

 

VERY sturdy coops. Knowing how much mine cost to build, I'd definitely buy one of those next time.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I really do like the Horizon structures as well but there are no dealers in our area that carry them and even to get the mini-coop would be ~$1300 plus any accessories or add-ons. If I lived closer in PA or had a truck it would be something I'd consider but it seems a bit out of reach as is.

 

Thanks for the tips and the information. I truly appreciate your perspective.

post #4 of 8

Maybe try the farm supply stores in your area? They may have or know of some prefab units available in your area....

post #5 of 8

You may find (like we did) that your search for a coop solution is a multi-stage evolution.  I'm not a handy guy by any means and was VERY leery at the prospect of building my own from scratch.  We opted for a prefab unit and as we were putting it together made adjustments to strengthen the abysmal build quality.  Once we were happy with our adjustments and the final product we quickly watched the young chooks outgrow what we thought would be enough space.  We also noted all the things we hated about the coop.  Pull-out litter trays easily got gunked up with sand (we use sand in our coop/run) and were a chore to slide, bending over to scoop poop got REAL tiring on my geezerly back, inadequate ventilation, etc.

 

Coop 2.0 was a hard pill to swallow so soon after sinking so much $ into what we thought would be all we'd need.  But having Coop 1.0 as a model to readily reverse-engineer, having my annoy-list and taking into consideration the sage advice of folks on BYC,  it was soooo MUCH easier for me to pick up hammer and nail and actually build Coop 2.0 to what we really needed.  It might not be the prettiest (nary a perfectly-squared join to be found in it) but it is roomy, secure, clean and STURDY. 

 

Good luck on your search!  Here's to hoping you find coop-nirvana on the first try!  :thumbsup 

post #6 of 8

Maybe you can find some one on Craigs List that builds them?  That is what I did.  I found a guy that builds them in NC, we told him what size we wanted and how big of a run we wanted, 4 weeks later..Coop!  I even asked him to build me a mini-barn to keep my feed and shavings in.

 

Good luck with your search.

2 Silver Laced Wyandottes - Patsy & Wynona, Buff Orpington - Buffy ,2 Welsummer - Georgia & Wynnie, Light Brahma - Harriet, Easter Egger - Lucinda

1-very tolerant Hubby, 3-beautiful Daughters, 1-house cat-belongs to daughter#3, 1-dog-belongs to daughter#1 

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2 Silver Laced Wyandottes - Patsy & Wynona, Buff Orpington - Buffy ,2 Welsummer - Georgia & Wynnie, Light Brahma - Harriet, Easter Egger - Lucinda

1-very tolerant Hubby, 3-beautiful Daughters, 1-house cat-belongs to daughter#3, 1-dog-belongs to daughter#1 

Reply
post #7 of 8

Typical prefab...too cute and too small.

 

There's a 'rule of thumb', 4sqft of floor space per bird in coop..... it's a bare minimum and if you live in a winter wonderland, double that space.

And make it tall, walk in tall...easier to maintenacen all year round and much better for venitilation in winter.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #8 of 8
I love my smart coop, but I live in southern California, so they don't get cold. I have two runs attached, but I also let them free-range during the day. I'll have 7-8 chickens soon, so I am adding the lean-to and more runs.
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