For more information and photographs go to my chicken blog at http://polloplayer.wordpress.com// The following post is specific to our coop: http://polloplayer.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/coop-de-foudre/
I was struck by chicken fever last spring (2009) and, thanks to BYC, was able to research and move ahead quickly enough to have a coop ready by July for the four baby chicks I purchased at the beginning of June.
Because we live in a neighborhood with high expectations from our homeowners' association, it was important that the coop not stand out as an eyesore. We decided to build it into an existing concrete pad because I'd read that would be an ideal floor.We collaborated with a carpenter to come up with a design for a coop and a pen that would be easy to access and clean and that would keep the chickens safe from predators. In southern California, we have coyotes, raccoons, hawks, owls, skunks, snakes, rats and probably a few critters we don't even know about. Here is the "before" picture of the site:
[FONT=georgia,palatino]And here is the finished project:[/FONT]
Side view of coop. Egg door is on right. Note clean-out at bottom of left side under window.
[FONT=georgia,palatino]The "human door" to the coop. A friend painted the "Chez Poulet" sign for us.[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia,palatino]Inside the coop. Because I have back problems, we built the counters and ladders to encourage the chickens to spend time at a level where it's easier for me to access them. They love to sit on the roosts and look out the windows.[/FONT]
The "chunnel" that lets the chickens move safely between the coop and the pen:
We've further improved the area with a drainage "moat" edging the coop to keep water out during the rainy season:
And we've improved the area in general, adding a deck and a fountain:
Sadly, we lost one of our girls on Christmas Day, 2009, to unknown causes. Here is a recent photo of the remaining three, all healthy and happily free-ranging: