One of the most frequent questions that I get about our backyard chickens is about our inexpensive chicken coop. Now neither Mike or I are extremely talented or handy when it comes to carpentry skills so when we decided to get our chickens we knew we would need to buy a coop. After some time spent searching the world wide web I came across this Boomer & George Deluxe Chicken Coop at hayneedle.com. I felt pretty lucky to be shopping on a day that they were offering free shipping and ended up paying less than $270 for the whole thing.
Now that might seem like a lot to a carpenter, but there is no way I could even attempt to build this for that price (I would have to buy tools, lumber, and probably some wine too). In case you were wondering, backyard chickens are not an attempt to save money for us. I just looked and organic, large brown eggs from Publix are $3.99/dozen. That means it will take 68 dozen eggs for me to recover the cost of our coop– if I was keeping track of that sort of thing…
Here is the description of the chicken coop from Hayneedle.com:
- “The Boomer & George Deluxe Chicken Coop is so versatile and spacious, you’ll wish your own home was just like it. This two-tiered chicken coop is crafted of durable Fir and has two doors for easy access to your chickens. The top portion gives your chickens a little privacy for laying eggs, a large enclosed living/exercise space gives them a place to ruffle their feathers, and one section of the roof comes off to make cleaning the interior a whole lot easier. A ramp leads from the top level to the caged lower level where your chickens will have space to stretch their talons. Indoors and out, they’re gonna love their new pad. This coop will comfortably house four to five chickens.”
The coop was delivered quickly. To the right here you will see our dog standing on the box in the middle of the kitchen. Yes, that was the entire thing! I was pleasantly surprised that it was very easy to put together. In fact, because it was July when we got this we actually assembled the chicken coop in our kitchen and then moved it outside when we were finished. It is a two person job, but it only took us about 45 minutes to do the entire thing.
Based on the comments listed on the website we did make a few modifications to increase the sturdiness:
- The bottom part of the nesting box lifts out for easy cleaning. That also means it lifts up if a raccoon is below trying to get in! With this in mind we added screws to secure this.
- We did use about twice as many screws for the assembly as were called for. It just seems to me that it can’t hurt to add some extra stability for our hens.
- The latches for the doors are wooden hearts. I am not making this up. See it here on the right? These were replaced with latching hooks that are secure and can not be easily, or accidentally, lifted.
- After we took the coop outside we added 1/4″ hardware cloth around the bottom of the entire thing. This was 24″ wide and after we dug a trench around the entire frame and buried the mesh, about 6″ was about the ground when we were finished. This trench was then backfilled to hold it in place and the top part above was secured with zip ties to hold it tight. This might seem like a lot of work, but it keeps any burrowing animal from getting inside the coop.
We’ve had this inexpensive chicken coop now for 2.5 years and are still pleased with it. The cedar has held up well and haven’t had to do much at all for repairs or maintenance. Our hens have been happy and we are pleased to see that they go “upstairs” each night to roost and took right away to laying their eggs in the rear nest box. We fill the top area with cedar chips and clean it out with a kitty litter scoop every few days.