As a little girl, I never thought to myself, “Self, when you get older, you should get some chickens.” My parents raised turkeys for a little bit, but mostly stuck to cattle and hogs. I had an awesome life on the farm, which is probably why I brought a little ‘farm’ with me when I moved to the city about 13 years ago.
When I first got word from our city council that chickens were allowed in the city, I started sketching up plans for the coop of my dreams. I wanted a run and coop that I could access while standing, I wanted predator protection, and I wanted beauty. I made sure to follow all of the requirements in the ordinance, as well as look at a variety of urban coops for inspiration. Here’s what one of my original sketches looked like:
Now that I’ve been a urban chicken owner for over a year, I started to teach the chicken keeping class required by our city to obtain a permit. Many of the questions I find myself answering often relate to coop design and construction. It is my hope that this post will help you design and construct the chicken coop of your dreams, which is why I called upon my friends from the Homestead Bloggers Network for their best chicken coop advice.
But, back to step one. Designing your chicken coop is really important. Those pre-made coops you can get at the hardware store won’t cut it. Check out this post for some design inspiration if you don’t know where to start.
I also think it’s really important to check out what your neighbors and community members do for coops and runs, especially before starting to build. We asked a friend-of-a-friend to give us the quick and dirty of his coop, and it was really helpful for visualizing what our setup should look like.
You’ll see that it is somewhat similar to the sketches I drew up a few months before.
Of course, John and I are huge supporters of repurposing or recycling materials for your chicken coop, Here’s a tutorial for making a chicken coop from a garden shed, and another for making a coop out of old pallets.
I’ve also seen several people repurpose children’s playhouses into coops. Seriously, guys, sometimes these coops are the cutest! I mean, what neighbor would complain about this cute coop in their neighbor’s backyard?
If you have a little more space in the city, you might also consider a chicken tractor. Chicken tractors allow your birds to free range, but within a certain area.
While it might seem like they’re really expensive to build, you can do it affordably! We have one that we use (and John built himself), but only when we want to let the ladies ‘roam’ the front yard or an area not within our fenced backyard.
If you already have a coop, you might think of a few ways upgrade your chicken coop in a sustainable, frugal way. If so, here’s great post to check out. You also need to think about how you are going to make your coop cozy and comfortable for your ladies, and you’ll do think by thinking about bedding.
What are some of your best tips for chicken coop design and construction? Feel free to leave a link to a blog or article that was helpful to you.