In February 2009 we purchased plans for the "Chicken playhouse coop". I built it from cypress that I purchased at a local sawmill and cut to size myself. In the process I knew my wife could not unscrew and lift the front of the roost box per the instructions for cleaning so I modified the design and made three doors on the front of the roost box. Two opened for cleaning with a split in the center and the third extended all the way across the top, hinged at the bottom so it swung out to for a perch for the birds. It looks like this:
After I dragged it into the back we headed off to the local feed store to get some chicks. We had decided that three chicks would suit our percieved needs. We looked at the chicks available and decided between two cages of chicks that they had. One cage had chicks that were almost twice the size of the other and we were leaning that way. When we got someone to help us we found the bigger ones to be turkeys. Boy! Were we ignorant!. We got three barred plymouth rock pullets that were supposedly two or three days old. We brought them home and put them in their new home with a 60 watt light bulb to keep them happy. About two weeks later one of them was badly pecked, de-feathered and bloody. We moved her into a box in the house overnight while I built the medical wing to the coop out of extra wire I had. Boo Boo lived in the medical annex for about a week and a half until things had largely healed. The medical annex was literally up against the coop so the birds were still in contact with each other. After Boo Boo was pretty well healed up we put them in together again and never had another problem. Here we are now at the end of March 2010 and we are amazed how much pleasure we recieve from the girls! We have many hawks in this area so we can't really let them run on their own. We have lost kittens to hawks and owls here so no way will we loose one of the girls to them. We take them out for our family "chicken run" almost every night about fifteen minutes before they go to roost so they head into the coop and go to bed on their own but still get a little extra exercise and scratching time around the yard. We get two to three eggs every day which is more than enough for just my wife and I. Here are the girls and I this evening:
I highly recommend getting a few chickens for every family! They are the easiest "pet" we have ever had to take care of and they provide eggs that pay their way along with an unimaginable amout of pleasure.