I am so lucky to have married a carpenter! Being a city boy, he didn't understand my country roots needing some chickens in the yard. Last spring I somehow talked him into letting me get a few hens and building me a small coop. He agreed to three hens. Once coop construction began, I knew he wouldn't be able to control his creative desires and the coop turned out a bit bigger (yeah!!!) than we had expected but still fits in our small yard. 4 x 8 footprint with 4 x 6 living quarters, not including the nest boxes, it is very solid construction. We tried to anticipate storage needs and decided to make three nest boxes, one of which I store supplies in, plus I store a bin underneath the nest boxes. The run is almost 4 x 10, and the girls also have run of the yard and garden.I planted beans and marigolds along the pen and the beans actually covered the entire pen. The girls can eat anything that hangs inside, plus it provided shade in the summer!
I went ahead and hatched out 3 lavender orps, one BLRW, and one black Ameraucana, and 4 silkies. All pullets except one Lav Orp! Not bad for my first hatching! Of course the roo had to go. I quickly learned that the LF's didn't want anything to do with the silkies and wouldn't let them in their coop! So my wonderful DH got to building again and created the mini coop!
One side is a full door for easy cleaning & feeding, other side is the pop door. It wasn't fully finished in this picture, and has become an ongoing project. We didn't incorporate any nest boxes, and it definitely needs to be up off the ground. It is difficult for me to get down on my knees to clean & feed... But this spring we will raise it up at least 2ft, enclose the bottom into a pen to connect to the Main pen. Also have to put on an exterior nest box, boy those girls can lay eggs, and I hope to use their broody nature to do my hatching next year. The mini coop is situated at the end of the main pen, close to the garden gate and all the girls love their time in the garden! They can work a compost pile!
This winter has been the worst ever and neither coop is heated. I realized that the Silkies stay nice and warm cuddled in their mini coop, but the four big girls have a lot of room to heat up, so I got to hatching again and got one Crested Cream Legbar pullet, a pair of Rhodebars and four Brown Leghorns. Hoping the BL's give me at least one or two pullets! This spring, I will have a nice flock to fill that coop well!
I told my DH that I would love a dozen meat birds, who knows? maybe a small enclosure out in the garden???
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