A National Chicken Coop
Story and Photos by Sarah Burgun
A year ago, I caught the chicken bug and wouldn’t stop talking about getting a backyard chicken coop. After a lot of research into my city’s ordinances and convincing of my husband, Dale, I concluded that we could have chickens — with a few guidelines.
We checked into what kind of chickens would be a good combination of the friendly personality I wanted and the good egg production my husband wanted. Soon after, we visited our local Tractor Supply a few times to gather more information, price things out and check out the chicks! My husband built a wooden brooder box from material we already had and cleared a spot in our dining room for the girls. We brought six lovely pullets home and spent the first few weeks getting to know them and handling them to encourage imprinting. We named them Linda the lap chicken, Jessie, Flo (aka Floppy), Alice, Pat, and Betty. The story of how Flo became Floppy is for another time.
Meanwhile, we started to scour the internet for ideas, videos, commentary and design elements perfect for our coop. My husband is a very handy guy with a lot of tools, so he started to sketch out and lay dimensions to his plans. He considered things like pitch of the roof, size of the man door, size and mechanism for the pop door, external nesting box for easy egg collection, large back door and vinyl floor in coop for easy cleaning, ceiling height enough to stand in, roof ventilation, electricity, insulation, heat, ergonomically friendly perches made from trees, windows with screens for ventilation, fully enclosed run for year round and safe outside access, an additional fenced in paddock area and many, many more features I’m too excited to remember.
Best of all, 100 percent of the wood, except for the six pieces of treated lumber that would touch the ground and the T11 siding, was reclaimed lumber from where my husband works. They get materials and products in large wood shipping crates, often with rigid insulation inside. He dismantled in excess of 12 crates to reuse the wood and insulation for the coop. Much of the hardware, including latches, nails and screws, we already had. We found 100 feet of fencing on clearance that we used in combination with hardware cloth to enclose the entire coop. There was even enough material left over to build a matching picnic table, and we finished it off with just the perfect color scheme inspired by the national park look!