Low Spouse Impact Chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rwcmick, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. rwcmick

    rwcmick In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2007
    Hi Everybody,

    I'm interested in raising a few chickens in our backyard. I raised chicks as a child and enjoyed the hobby, so why not relive the magic?

    The hitch is my wife is not a poultry lover. But she IS absolutely nuts about eggs. After making some tentative promises and concessions I have a green light. Now I don't want to screw it up.

    My plan is to get a henspa. I'm not handy, so building something is out. I like the henspa b/c of the low odor, low maintenance promises. I also like that when I get my day old chicks I can immediately put them in the henspa's converted attic. The chicks will never hit the garage floor in a make shift brooder and hence not funk up the laundry area. I also like the big feeder/waterer capacities, so if we go for a three day vacation the chickens should be well taken care of.

    The henspa is expensive and means that I'll have to cut back on other hobbies, but I don't want to cheap out and then have odor/mess troubles which will land both then chickens and myself on craigslist.

    Any thoughts?
  2. biretta

    biretta Songster

    Jun 7, 2007
    I have a partner who still gets resentful that I've gotten chickens, mainly because we live in the suburbs and he doesn't think they belong here, as they do make a mess. The henspa I think is probably overpriced. If you're on a budget, I would think about going to a foundry? (place that carries stone and tile) and try to get one or two large crates to convert to a henhouse. At least you'd have the frame completed for the most part and just would need to put up plywood for walls. I spent $300 on a premade henhouse (Chick-n-barn) and am regretting it, wishing I would have gone with the crates. If your wife is anything like my boyfriend, the biggest contention may be the poop all over the yard, the flies (and the smell when it rains), and the digging that chickens love to do where ever there is exposed earth. I think we have a tiff over the chickens every two weeks or so!
  3. rwcmick

    rwcmick In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2007
    thanks for the input...yeah i agree that the henspa is overpriced. i also am a bit worried about the feedback


    i am also considering the chick-n-barn as well.

    the bottom line is that i am hoping to avoid as many squabbles as i can. she's pretty good natured about things, but when the stress piles on the first thing she objects to are the pets.

    i don't minid overpaying a bit for something if it is worth it, but some of the feedback i've read about henspa seems that the quality/cust service isn't all its clucked to be.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2007
  4. Bubba

    Bubba Songster

    Jun 18, 2007
    How much room (square feet) do you have to play with? How high, wide and long is the space? For the price of a henspa you could buy materials and maybe contact (convince) a local highschool woodshop teacher? or 4H etc. to help you out. You would come out far ahead. Maybe the shop teacher would know some young guys that for 100 bucks could build it for you. Just depends on your situation.

    I know you say your not handy but if you have a 4x8 area or larger that you can use I can whip up some plans for ya. It would use some sheet plywood, mounting brackets and 4x4s for support.(Your house will fall down before this thing) If you can use a screwgun, you can build it. Making a feed box is uber easy.

  5. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    The thing with the hen spa is that it is a Tractor and is designed to be moved around for fresh forage. If you spouse is not enthused about chickens it may be best to have a nice corner or side yard devoted to your chickens. You could make it attractive by planting vines around the fence line. Three hens would be plenty to supply your family with eggs so a small Crate like was mentioned would be perfect. I love the suggestion about the Wood Shop class. A 4x4 or 4x6 dog house would be fine. I am not educated at all where carpentry is concerned but, it is not really hard to make a small coop. I like to have mine elevated where the birds can get under it for shade and food can be kept dry. As far as smell, $50.00 max will buy you enough DE to keep you coop and chicken yard in great condition for a very long time. If you like the birds just clean regularly. I scoop the major droppings each morning and shovel the pen at least three times per week.

    The thing about the brooder is that having a few chickens in you laundry may just bring you wife over to the dark side, LOL along with the rest of us. Who can resist a baby chick. If you are afraid about the indoor brooder, you can still use you new house to brood chicks you just need some electricity to you coop. But chicks are so much fun to watch, it would be a shame to miss that.

    Your can also buy, at Costco, for around $ 700 a large vinal building that is very attractive it could set in a corner of your yard and be dual purpose. Keep you yard gear in half and chickens in the other half. Fencing for a 10x10 Dog Kennel would only be $ 200 at TSC possibly less where you are. You would only have around $ 1000.00 invested in a dual purpose set up that you would not have to do any work on at all. Check out Lowes and Home Depot they have some vinal buildings similar to the one I mentioned. I would love to have one myself but I am cheap and make my own as I continue to grow with this hobby.

    This photo is the last coop I made and it would only cost you (or the shop class) about $ 300.00 to build if you start with new wood. Chain link dog run and you are still in it for $ 5-6 hundred. Quite a savings over the Hen Spa. The building is Painted now and very presentable.

    This was the first one I built I had some material and I think after I used some scrap from a guy building sheds it was only about $ 100.00
  6. magikchick

    magikchick ~FEATHERFOOTED DIVA~

    Apr 21, 2007
    SW Florida
    Something else that might happen is once your SO sees the day old chicks she falls in love with them.[​IMG]
  7. rwcmick

    rwcmick In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2007
    hey thanks everybody for this info. i appreciate the options.

    what appealed to me about the henspa is that it is an attractive coop that is supposedly plug and play. if i had more time to devote to the search i might investigate some plans and see if any students/woodshop classes would be interested.

    my concern is that according dave's garden watch, some buyers haven't been the happiest w/ the customer service/quality of instruction manuals that they have received.

    has anyone here purchased a henspa? are there any other "pre built" coops out there that would compare to it?

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2007
  8. blue90292

    blue90292 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    i bought one similar to this one for my bantams which sits inside an 8x8 pen that they roam around in. i can keep the feeder and waterer in the bottom and it doesn't get wet. and behind the closed doors, i have hay and shavings, where the girls lay their eggs. at night they all go in and sleep with plenty of room.


    this is a good one also.


    they're pricey but they are very very well built and have weathered our constant rain very well.

    if i had standards, i figure i could only keep about 3 or 4 in there.
  9. urbanhomesteader

    urbanhomesteader Songster

    Feb 26, 2007
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I think the price of the henspa is nuts. If you are only getting a few hens I would go with a doghouse kit or a rabbit hutch. They are easy to assemble and a small run is easy to make. I got a free rabbit hutch and made the run myself and I am not that handy. My hens don't really care that the corners aren't square. LOL!
    Even the chick-n-barn is alot less pricy and would work for you.

    Someone else on this board was going to used dog house # 23 on the link for a few hens. The nice thing about that one is the roof is hinged and the floor comes out for easy cleaning.

    What ever you do let us know and take pics.
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Oh geez! That's just as bad as the Eglu price wise... It's cute but I wouldn't get it. I guess if you have the money go for it but I think a better investment would be a prefab home depot shed and a dog kennel for a small number of birds. Would probably cost you a lot less too. Any coop wouldn't smell bad if you kept it clean. I figure, the fewer pieces, the less wire, and more boxy. The easier to maintain. And about the feed. No way will a happy number of hens in that box will go though 50 lbs in under a month!

    Do tell us what you do decide though and what types of chicks you'll be getting!

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