Showing a little love to cconly.com

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jonheffley, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. jonheffley

    jonheffley New Egg

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    I've never owned chickens yet - wanted to get the coop all set before buying them, so feel free to take all the following with a big grain of salt.

    I took a long, tortured time deciding whether to buy or build a coop. I found a coop that looked good to me on Amazon.com - the cconly.com CC18-R2. Finding reviews for it was what originally led me to the backyardchickens.com website, and since then I've spent a _lot_ of time here trying to prepare for chickens. I found discouraging reviews for almost all the pre-fab units out there, including cconly.com coops, and that's why I'm back.

    Before my review, I'll explain that people who spoke ill of cconly.com griped most (and fairly) of light construction and poor weatherproofing. (If you want a GREAT chicken coop, don't buy a pre-fab unit, unless it's in the $2,000 range.) I made up my mind in advance what I was going to do about all of these shortcomings, as well as predator-proofing, and armed with this plan, it made my experience much better than it might have been.

    In spite of the iffy reputation cconly.com has on this website, I went ahead and bought one of their coops. I was pleasantly surprised, overall. They raised their price right after I bought it, so I think I might have gotten it as a price mistake for $375... and that probably affects my opinion. Anyway, I don't doubt anything negative said about them, but I think they deserve to have a satisfied customer make a report.

    (I guess I owe pictures once the coop is in its final home. It's up on bricks being "personalized" now.)

    So here is the (4-star) review I wrote on Amazon. It isn't glowing, but I mean it to be positive.

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    "Very good, as long as your expectations are reasonable"

    As long as you aren't expecting a heavy, 2x4 constructed coop, this is fairly good. I wouldn't recommend this for more than a casual backyard chicken experience, but it was just right for me. Overall, I was not disappointed.

    NOTE: On my model, the roof came already shingled, which is different from the pictures. I thought I would need to shingle it myself, so this was a pleasant surprise.

    One thing to point out is that there are two identical "run" sections. If you put them on either side you won't be able to take out the removable waste tray, but if you line them up like is shown in the pictures it takes some imagination, because you have to remove one panel that would otherwise put a barrier in the middle of the run and make half of it inaccessible. I made it work, but this is where the design is most lacking.

    They suggested a 1-hour construction time on their website. I found it to be more like 3 hours, but I took my time. It was a little hard at times to understand the directions - OK, sometimes it was very hard, head-scratching business, where I just couldn't figure out which way to put some of the pieces. But, after some scrutiny, everything made sense by the end - except, of course, for the conundrum I mentioned above. They did an exceptionally good job with the pre-drilled holes; I had no problems at all with split lumber or with a hole being off by just enough to make it fit together crooked.

    Construction is just strong and heavy enough. I wouldn't want more because then it would be much more expensive and also expensive to ship, and then I wouldn't have this coop. Most of the construction on this is 1x2's and paneling, reinforced with plenty of diagonal braces. The deadbolts on it are the only thing that stand out to me as cheap and maybe a little bit too weak.

    I don't have any illusions about this standing up to a hurricane (I live on the gulf coast), but I think it could stand up to 60 mph winds if nothing heavy is blown into it. I plan to anchor mine on either end with a kite anchor, the kind that screws into the ground. If you live anywhere that it gets cold, you might want a heat lamp, but of course that might be true no matter what coop you buy. I can move the coop part (without the run) by myself with some effort, which makes me estimate its constructed weight at around 80 pounds.

    They recommend staining it once annually to protect it from rain, but my daughter wanted to paint it and personalize it, which is probably better long-term protection. I have to say, I was a little disappointed by her choice to paint it, because it's really a very pretty shade without any further adornment. I don't think the pictures do it justice.

    This design does not do anything to prevent digging predators. I stapled a sheet of chicken wire about 4' x 8' along the bottom of the run. Since the run is not 4 feet wide, this means it sags, and that is by design - I don't want them walking on it. After I place the corners all on paving bricks, the netting should sag down under that level and I will fill up the space with some soil and then sand on top of that.

    There are some great features about this coop that would have been a pain for me to do with a home-made coop. The egg box has its own lid and has a hinge that locks into place - it's surprisingly sturdy. On the other side, nearly the whole side can come off as a panel making access reasonably easy if you need to get to the inside. And of course that removable waste tray is very convenient. There are 4 roosting bars to perch on, too, with rounded tops - they should be very comfortable. (These were tricky because the directions don't make it clear that to put them in place you need to take off the removable side panel across from the nesting box. Then it's pretty obvious that there are 4 grooves cut just exactly right for them.)

    CCOnly.com rates this as holding up to 8 large-size hens. At first I was skeptical of that number, and other websites' estimates make me think it's exactly right for the 6 hens I plan to have there. I've heard people say that chickens want more space than that, but I've seen pictures of chickens roosting (not an expert here, just a beginner); even with tons of space they all crowd in and snuggle next to each other, so really I suspect there's more than enough room in there for 8. Honestly, if you were hard-pressed, I think 16 full-size chickens would be happy, as long as they get plenty of outdoor access - at the 2X size, I think the run is only big enough for the 6 hens I'll have there. But remember I'm a novice, so don't go and put 16 chickens in here.

    In summary: if you buy this, plan to stick to a small number of backyard chickens, and plan in advance for weather-proofing, anchoring the whole thing against wind, and protection from digging predators, and then this coop might be right for you. I think it was right for me.
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I've purchased three coops of various sizes from that company, using them for grow-out coops for juvenile chickens.

    I think they're fine products for certain customers, and lousy coops for others. I have a main coop which is a transmorgrified garage, but this company's products have been very useful adjuncts.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Well that's a thorough review of setting it up. I hope you can come back and update this after you've had chickens for 6 months to a year.
     
  4. Jennyfrmthblock

    Jennyfrmthblock Out Of The Brooder

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    This was super helpful for me. I had already ordered a coop from cconly.com when I read this, but I am still feeling good about my purchase since I now don't think I will be blindsided by any of its shortcomings. Once I have it erected, I will start posting photos of the improvements as I make them. Hopefully this will be of additional help to others.
     
  5. Jennyfrmthblock

    Jennyfrmthblock Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2013
    I received my cconly coop and assembled it this weekend. It took a few hours to put together by myself, but the hardware was well labeled and the instructions pretty clear. It would have been helpful if the wooden parts were labeled in the same manner as the hardware. The coop was pretty much as expected. There were two pieces which were cut wrong (they were finish pieces which were clearly of the same plank and placed against the cutting template in the wrong direction, rendering one half an inch too long and the other an inch too short, a problem easily fixed), but other than that I was pleasantly surprised as to how well the parts mated with one another; I was expecting a lot of gaps and ill-fitting pieces.

    I would agree that the website photos are somewhat misleading regarding size. It's all well and good to give dimension, but placing a person or something else (like an adult chicken!) for relative size comparison would be helpful. Now that it is assembled, I would say the CC-18 is good for no more than 6 chickens; the nesting boxes are just too small to share. We have nine pullets, so I have a message in to cconly regarding the purchase of an additional nesting box component. The CC-18 page shows a few models with a nesting box on each side, so I'm confident the unit I have can be augmented.

    Today we will be sealing the coop and the run with Thompson's Water Seal. Our girls still don't have all of their feathers, so we have some time before they will be living outside. I will keep you posted!
     
  6. Whovian

    Whovian Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi there,

    I appreciate your detailed review. I am seriously considering one of the cc only coops (I think a bit larger than what you bought). I am wondering if you are still satisfied?

    Thanks!
     
  7. Whovian

    Whovian Out Of The Brooder

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    I should also note that I live in Connecticut where the winters are quite cold.
     
  8. jonheffley

    jonheffley New Egg

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    @Whovian:
    I casually started to sit on the egg box one day and nearly cracked it off, but aside from that it's holding together. It really wasn't meant to hold an adult's weight; I know I mentioned in my review that it's not heavy duty. I remain fundamentally satisfied with it.

    The non-heavy-dutiness of it makes me wonder whether it's good for very cold weather. But considering that most of the U.S. is prone to cold weather at times I'm sure it must be O.K. Even though I live in Texas, I bought a heat lamp with a ceramic base and something like 240 watt infrared bulbs for it, just because I couldn't bear to think of them freezing. (We had to put our chicks outside when it was still winter and they were still very young.)

    If I were you I would plan to close their door every night when it's coldest and provide them a heat lamp, and between those two things I think they would be OK. I read some threads from people who live in very cold places, and it seems without exception that they keep their chickens tightly enclosed when it snows.

    Now that I think about it, I figure this means you have to buy a bigger coop in places where it's cold. If they're only sleeping there they don't need so much space, but if they have to spend days or weeks closed up I bet they need a lot more interior space.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    True about needing more space if they have to be enclosed due to weather.....but remember that ventilation is much more important than heat, they can take the cold and should be acclimated to it rather than trying to keep them 'heated'. Moist air coupled with very cold temps is what causes frostbite, so ventilation is number one!
     
  10. Jennyfrmthblock

    Jennyfrmthblock Out Of The Brooder

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    Our chickens have been outside for three weeks now, and they seem happy. We took some precautions for predators, laying chicken wire along the length of the run and placing the coop on pavers and 1" of plywood (this also keeps the bottom of the coop off the ground and dry). We also surrounded the run with crushed stone and bricks (for both critters and rain). So far so good. We cover the run with 3mm plastic sheeting when it rains to keep the ground dry, and when the temp dips below 40 degrees we turn on a 25 W red heat lamp: just enough to take the edge off. All 9 of them sleep in this same nesting box (we didn't put in the dividers, so technically they span 3 "boxes") and it does not show signs of pulling away from the coop.

    My biggest complaint right now is the nesting box locks. They aren't great. I will be replacing them.
     

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