Reporter seeks user reviews of coop kits (Eglu, Urban Coop Co., Ranch/Texas Handcrafted Coop, Urban

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by The Scribbler, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. The Scribbler

    The Scribbler New Egg

    Mar 14, 2017
    Greetings! I'm currently reporting a story about coop kits for the weekend section of the Wall Street Journal. Hard to find a more expert group than this one...

    I'd be very grateful to hear from kit buyers and owners for a couple of recent models and makers. I'll list those in a second. I'm interested in how easy the kits were to construct, the quality of the build materials, the functionality of the design (access, proportions, predator-proofing, weather adaptability, cleaning, bird contentment and health), the look and curb appeal (!)...and anything else you imagine a prospective coop owner would want to know.

    Experiences with newer models would be most useful... a defect from a few years ago might have been corrected on current versions. If you bought a very similar model from the same maker, that information could be really useful, too.

    I am aware that a DIY project might prove to be better adapted, cheaper, and more durable (my chicken-owning friends all built their own). But when your editor asks for a coop kit, a coop kit is what we get! I've been asked to think about somewhat smaller coops for new opposed to folks with a big flock. And price--for this story, at least!--is not the main criterion.

    Thanks so much for taking a look-see...and for providing a forum for these questions. Hope to hear from some of you!

    1. The Eglu Cube (with or without the run):


    2. Wooden Wonders Hobbit Hole store (again, with a run and/or tractor wheels?). Any model:


    3. Urban Coop Company Round-Top Stand-Up Coop or Walk-in Coop:

    [​IMG] or [​IMG]

    4. Ranch Coop/Texas Handcrafted Coop (probably 4' X 6' model)...or rough equivalent:


    5. Urban Garden Workshop Cottage/Bungalow/Lodge (with or without run):


    Edited by Staff
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2017
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016

    Not sure what your background with chickens would be, but here is my take on your project. There are hundreds......if not thousands of these coops around. I live in Missouri, and I could probably find you 20 of them made and marketed within the state. That story duplicates across the country.

    The "universal" thing is the are a marvel of marketing over substance. They sell "cute", but in reality, most are under built, poorly designed and/or over stated as far as capacity is concerned and for the same or less money, a halfway handy person can have 4X the coop for the same money. Truth is, that is your story. Not sure if that is what your editor hand in mind.

    If not........Martha Stewart has a nice coop. You could write about that!!!!!!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    Bobby Basham and aart like this.
  3. The Scribbler

    The Scribbler New Egg

    Mar 14, 2017
    Thanks for the helpful reply, Howard. I appreciate the guidance! I live in the upper Midwest—11 degrees outside this morning—and all of my chicken-owning friends have built their own coops. (Not always a low-cost experience, either!)
    But I also know there remain folks (possibly misbegotten!) who prefer a kit: some of them thread-followers here; others, our newspaper readers. And people like to window shop online—even if it’s just to make fun of the goods for being low-quality and overpriced.
    I would be thrilled if anyone has any experiences—good or bad--with any of the kits mentioned in my first post.
    I selected them in consultation with a friend of mine who built her coop (alongside a local carpenter)—and also compiled an impressive library of coop plans. When I drive around the state, I, too, encounter many coops for sale—a lot of them at Amish woodworking showrooms. But not every maker is prepared to deal with customers across the country, publish assembly directions, and ship anywhere. We tried to identify kits that appear to be functionally designed and to use solid/durable materials. A certain look and style is important to my editors, too; I suppose that's no different with human houses!
    My hope is that informed chicken owners on this site can help fill me in how these particular kits performed for them—and their birds!
    Thanks so much again for your thoughts…good to know.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    I have a coop from Urban Coop Company but it's not one of the ones you mentioned. It is a recent purchase (made within the last year) but the model ("Round-Top Chicken Coop - Starter size") apparently has been discontinued on their site. So I'm not sure if my experience with the coop is really relevant, but I'll answer what I can.

    I'm interested in how easy the kits were to construct - I have no building/construction knowledge. The instructions were very good but it took us quite a lot longer than the guide claimed it would. We probably spent about 6-7 hrs building it compared to the 1-2 hrs that the instructions claimed.

    the quality of the build materials - I do think it's a fairly solid build for a kit. The cedar seems very sturdy and the wire mesh used all over is a very heavy gauge. The included screws are so good that I haven't found suitable replacements. The company also has great customer service. When I dropped a part and broke it, and emailed them asking for the cost of a replacement (after all I had dropped it!) they promptly sent out a free replacement.

    the functionality of the design (access, proportions, predator-proofing, weather adaptability, cleaning, bird contentment and health) - Access, proportions & cleaning: Assuming you have both the coop and the "run extension," the two pieces come apart for easy cleaning. No having to stoop. Sizewise the company is aware of the 4 sq ft minimum that most folks on here adhere to... my coop was marked 3 chickens max and I feel that was a realistic number BUT I ended up with 4 chickens, so I had to do alterations to fit the 4th. Since we had put the coop together it was easy to remove the nest box to increase the amount of roost space so we could house the 4th bird. I added my own nest box on the outside.

    Predators: My only predator issue right now is rats, and they're tunneling underneath the coop walls to get in. I could apron it but as the coop is wholly inside the run, I don't want the birds having to walk on wire. We're just trying to trap and dispose of the rats as we can.

    Weather adaptability: This is one area of concern as this is a very open-air style coop, with only 1 solid wall. They do have optional "storm panels" which I've been using to cope with rain and snow. As my area doesn't usually get overly cold the storm panels do seem to be doing their job, and I haven't had any issues with frostbite, however I would not recommend this coop in an area with extended periods of snow or cold. We have had a lot of rain lately but it's been holding up in the rain and the chickens stay dry at night.

    Bird contentment & health: Overall they seem to like the coop just fine. I do have to note that we did lose one chick due to an accident in the coop. I had cleaned it and when I put the run and coop back together, I didn't make sure they were securely attached (the kit came with latches for that purpose, but we don't use them). The chick apparently caught her foot in the gap between the two parts and panicked herself to death. It was a hard lesson to learn but now I make sure to double check that the run and coop are securely reattached after I'm done cleaning.

    the look and curb appeal - We definitely didn't choose this coop for the "pretty" factor. It's not ugly but it is very "bare bones," not like the "dollhouse" coops that are commonly sold with pretty trim, that look like tiny houses. I went with function over "fashion."

    and anything else you imagine a prospective coop owner would want to know. - We went into this knowing that this small coop would not function as anything more than a starter for our foray into chickens. But I wanted to make sure that we as a family enjoyed having chickens, before thinking about expanding into a larger, permanent set up, with more birds. So far we've been enjoying it and our future plans are to have a mini barn built with enough room for about a dozen chickens, a few goats, and storage. Assuming this starter coop is still in decent condition, I plan on dismantling it and using it as a brooder for future chicks, so we can brood them out in the coop and slowly integrate them into the flock.
  5. Rwood5093

    Rwood5093 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 30, 2016
    Jamestown, SC
    Disclaimer: I have two urban coops, but I bought them used on Craigslist. I haven't had any personal dealings with the company, except using the specs/dimensions ons that they have online (which is great).

    I love the looks of the coops. We basically set them side by side and built a 12x16 covered run around them. Our run even has a curved roofline to match the coops. My coops are used (I'm third owner) , but the cedar and structure have held up beautifully. I feel confident saying the quality of materials is good. I did just put a coat of Thompsons water seal to help it last longer.

    Functionality wise, I like the doors and the latches and metal roof. One thing that I would do differently if I built it is to have the ramp located not under the roosts. It's hard to not drop poop on the ramp when cleaning, and it's hard to reach all the way in. Plus, some of the birds poop on the ramp as they're sleeping. Keep in mind, I don't think this coop was designed to be housed inside a run, like I'm using it. Its more standalone with its own attached run, and in that scenario, the ramp is appropriate, so I don't really think it's a design flaw. But if I built my own, I would orient the ramp different in relation to the roosts.

    So, I know there is not a whole lot of info that I can provide, other than my details of how well the coop has transitioned to myself, the third owner.
  6. alix321

    alix321 New Egg

    Mar 15, 2017
    I have a kit coop the peublo grande from rugged ranch. It was easy to build and light enough to move around with two people. It's seems very small for four chickens. I like it but wish I got a bigger one.[​IMG]
  7. The Scribbler

    The Scribbler New Egg

    Mar 14, 2017
    Thanks for the very thoughtful and helpful responses. I'm still looking for a few reviews of the Eglu Cube--a popular topic on this forum in the past, it would seem. Anyone have experiences--good or bad--to share about their Cube?

    Please feel free to message me directly...and we might continue the conversation offline.

  8. Coykoi

    Coykoi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2016
    I'm planning on purchasing a coop from Ranch Coop (just working out the details now). If you're interested in knowing how the purchase-to-setup process goes, I'd be glad to give you my feedback.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Howard hit the nail on the head.

    @The Scribbler have you attempted to do a search here?
    Maybe it's too late and your article is done.

    advanced search>titles only>eglu
    advanced search>titles only>pre fab coops

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