The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The perfect chicken coop

Ramshackle chicken coop

When I asked Mark what he wished he'd known about chickens when we first got started, his immediate answer was: "I wish I'd realized coops need to be big and accessible."  He detests our current coops and is looking forward to getting back to work on our Starplate coop in the near future.

Nearly-free chicken coop

I'm not as judgmental about Mark's early coops as he is --- when you ask your husband to build a chicken coop for $10 or less, any serviceable result counts as a success in my book.  But I agree that it's much easier on the chicken owner if a wheelbarrow will fit through the door, if you don't hit your head inside, and if nest boxes open to the outside so you don't even have to enter during daily egg runs.  All of these factors are really for the farmer, though, since I've noticed that chickens are mostly interested in quality of the roosts, safety from predators, and how quickly they can get outside to hunt down bugs.

The perfect chicken coop?

You can read my wish list for the perfect coop here, and we'll keep you posted as we finish up version 3.0 this fall.  In the meantime, I'd love to hear your take on the perfect chicken coop, either in the comments or as an entry in our chicken contest.  Is there a design feature I've missed?

Complete your perfect coop with the perfect waterer.

This post is part of our "I wish I'd known" lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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If I get a chance to build another coop I will make the floor at a height that I can get the wheel barrel under and a side that can be completely removed down to the floor so I just have to reach a rake in and pull the bedding out into the wheel barrel. No lifting or bending and potentially could save a ton of time and energy. Easy access without having to ener the coop for eggs as you mentioned and to fill the waterer and feeder. That's my list.
Comment by Brian Tue Aug 20 13:49:50 2013

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