W e are egg eaters! So, it makes perfect sense to raise our own happy hensin favorable conditions and feed them normal chicken type food. No hormones...no antibiotics. And so far, nothing absurd going on. Maybe that's because the coop isn't done yet and there are no chickens.
There are definite challenges awaiting and they mostly have to do with wily predators. We have witnessed first hand, and heard local lore of attempts to raise hens around here. It's not for the faint of heart.
The most common of chicken coop marauders are bear, bob cat, hawk and great horned owl. So, fortified it must be. There has been a decent amount of luck with electric fences. Our fence will be 6 feet tall with 2 or 3 rows of electric wiring, and topped with barbed wire. The fenced in area will be large enough to provide a comfortable area for a half dozen hens to roam.
Our first hand experience with chicken coop carnage was with our neighbors coop. We believe it was a pair of bob cats that got in and just had a hey day killing more than they could possibly eat. It was a grizzly scene to clean up. The gate to the yard area was shorter and not electrified. We think the bob cats simply jumped the gate. So, we'll make sure to electrify the gate for our coop.
Another piece of sensible advice is to be aware of the tree cover inside, and just outside the coop. You don't want to provide convenient, open perches for hawks and owls. This makes it too easy for them to swoop down and pick off the hens.
There will be a floor hatch on a timer and/or remote. There is also a front door on the main room to open for easy cleaning. The coop is oriented south, as in passive solar design, to take best advantage of the winter sun.
As for the coop design below, Paul started with an existing plan and modified it. The original plan was designed more for a breeder's coop. The inside of the modified coop will give each hen about 5 square feet of room. It will allow a little more room than necessary in case we ever want to add a couple more hens. Feel free to use the plans below.
Stay tuned for updates and share your experiences in the comment box at the bottom of this page.
chicken coop construction
chicken coop plans
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Excuse me madam, which way to the coop?
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