Ideas for disguising a coop for Hens on the Sly?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MicroFarmMom, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. MicroFarmMom

    MicroFarmMom Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2011
    Okay, so I want 2 hens. That's all, but my neighborhood HOA is saying NO.
    So my idea is to figure out how to do something on the sly. I need to make a coop that will - from a distance at least - be inconspicuous. I have a 4ft chainlink fence around my property and all of my neighbors are FINE with me having them so there is no problem there. It's the HOA that drive the neighborhood on occasion. I need it to look like a small shed or dog house maybe? But needs to be functional.
    Ideas - anyone else done the chicken thing on the sly have some advice and ideas?
    Also - what are the fastest growing meat birds that also lay well?
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  2. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    2 could live well in a large dog house. I'm illegal, but I have a privacy fence which works well.

    If sound is an issue, hens DO make a fair amount of noise when they lay. I'm not saying don't get them, just be aware. Maybe start with 3-4 so that if you have to get rid of a loud bird or two you'll still have at least a pair. Some of my birds are nearly silent, and others scream their heads off..
  3. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Flippin, AR
    put a popdoor in place of a basement window and build an indoor coop in your basement. Vent it to the outdoors with one of those bathroom exhaust fans. I haven't a clue how to disguise a chicken run.
  4. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    Make it look like a utility shed or addition to your house. There was a thread on BYC that showed exactly that with pics so I know it can be done. I don't remember where its at maybe some of our other BYCers can.
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Before you do anything please figure out the what "IFS". Like what if the HOA finds out and your chickens get the boot. Sooner or later that happens, the happy neighbors either move out and crabs move in OR they decide chickens next door are not as fun as they thought. Do you have a place to re-home them?

    I have seen "stealth coops" advertised, they look like camoflauge for outdoor garbage cans but they aren't soundproof. Unless you have a covered pen you can't be sure your hens wouldn't fly over to visit the neighbors. If you ever have a "situation" with neighbors, friends, workers etc. don't be surprised if they turn you in to the HOA or animal control or police. Do you really want to worry about that knock on the door? Since you only plan on two chickens for eggs/meat maybe it wouldn't upset you that much to have to dispose of them.
  6. akcharlie1960

    akcharlie1960 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2010
    Chugiak, Alaska
    I like the large dog house idea if you live where it is good enough for winter and I'd use lots of lattice for a well cammo'd run.
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Not much to add.

    One thing that comes to mind is that in suburbia the Dog is King. It also happens that he is one of the worst predators of chickens on the planet.
    Put some clandestine chickens down in the middle of a neighborhood infested with dogs and well... anything might happen. Be careful - be very careful.

    And as noted before, chickens are not silent. I used to have some hens that hen-crowed LOUDLY when they got going. There is no way to know whether they will do this until they get large. But it tends to be more prominent in small groupings of birds where there is no cock.
  8. MyKidLuvsGreenEgz

    MyKidLuvsGreenEgz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2011
    Colorado Plains
    Surround the run (and coop if outdoors) with tall shrubs, like elderberries or pine. Get the quietest smallest chickens you can find. Rooster would be out of the question. 3-4 hens would be great.... and if you want to make sure they are very quiet, you might want to get some who have just started laying so the current owner can tell you how much noise they make.
  9. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

    Don't get two hens. If one dies the other will be lonely. Get at least three for that reason.
    Hmm, have you checked out the City Chicken website? (where is the link?) It has some great photos of coops on it. Maybe you could build a hutch type thing along the back of you house, or just a large dog house with a fenced in yard in a inconspicious corner? If you have access to a large shipping box you have the maings of a fine coop. I'd give two hens 3' x 3' at the very minumum, excluding the run or yard area. Just make sure it protects them from predators and snow, gives them a place to roost and lay eggs, and doesn't crowd them. Crowded hens = stress = unhappy chickens.

    A good coop doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Have you seen the Hawaiian coop on the BYC coop page? Sorry, as I am typing this on my Kindle I can't get you the link.
    If noise is an issue, try to pick a breed like Australorp, Orpington, Marans, Brahma or Amerucana, rather than a noisy flighty breed. Do NOT get Leghorns!!!!!!!!!! But be aware that each individual bird is different and some girls, like my big, plump, noisy, bossy, nosy, pecky Barred Rocks Mary Lou and Annabel, just won't shut up!
    Hope this helps; good luck! May the flock be with you. ~ P. Foreman

    (if all else fails, raise some Coturnix quail in your garage for meat and eggs!)
  10. MyKidLuvsGreenEgz

    MyKidLuvsGreenEgz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2011
    Colorado Plains
    I had coturnix quail in our home for a while and boy howdy they are noisy, but they would indeed provide you eggs and meat. Can't train or cuddle them tho. And they are usually considered "game" birds so you'll need to check your hoa documents for that too.

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