Time and Temp

Click for Cambria, California Forecast

Copyrights

All photos and posts on this site are copyrighted by Lee Oliphant. Please ask permission before use and give proper credit or link to this website.

Blooming-December

• African daisies
• Black-eyed Susan vine
• Coreopsis
• Ivy geranium
• Jasmine (pink)
• Spanish lavender
• Nasturtium
• Passion Vine
• Roses
• Lantana
• Society garlic

Harvesting-December

• Arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb

More about A Coop for the Garden

After 6 years, vines are  covering the henhouse and run. These will have to cut back soon.

After 6 years, vines are covering the henhouse and run. These will have to cut back soon.

I found some pictures that may help you with designing a chicken coop that looks good in a garden setting. The chicken coop my husband built six years ago is not perfect but it has served our hens well. It was a little too small for our original six hens but is just about perfect for four. Right now it is housing three healthy hens.

The henhouse has nests that can be accessed from the outside

The henhouse has nests that can be accessed from the outside

I say it is not perfect because, after using it for six years, we know what we’d do differently. First of all, the tiny henhouse is only 4′x 5′. The two nest boxes (14″d x 17w x 15h”) are accessed from the inside and the outside which I like. It’s easy for the grandkids to collect eggs and I don’t have to go inside to gather them.

Building the henhouse.

Building the henhouse.

The inside of the coop with nest boxes on the left.

The inside of the coop with nest boxes on the left.

We thought the small henhouse would be large enough since we live in a temperate climate where the food and water can be outdoors. What we didn’t take into account was the fact that rats come into the run at night and steal the food. We have to cover the food dispenser to keep them away at night. Also, sparrows and tohees help themselves all day long. I just consider it cheap wild birdfood.

Sliding door for chickens allowing them access to run during the day. It is closed at night.

Sliding door for chickens allowing them access to run during the day. It is closed at night.

The roost was only 4′ across for six hens. A tight squeeze but they like cuddling. It also would be nicer to have space for a hen to have chicks. If I had a few more feet, in the back, I could have put in a nestbox and area on the ground for chicks and a mama hen, or a brooder if I wanted to do it myself.

There is a long, narrow, window above the nest boxes that has hardware wire covering it to keep out raccoons.  It doesn’t have a cover. Just open to the air. Great ventilation in this mild climate where it seldom gets below 40 degrees at night, even in the winter. There is an old stained-glassed window on the other side opposite the nests that can be opened if needed.

Pullets discovering their new sliding door to outside.

Pullets discovering their new sliding door to outside.

 

The run, where the hens spend their days is about 8′ x 16′ and more space than what is needed. Giving the hens more space keeps problems in check. They can dustbathe, pick at a bale of alfalfa, sun themselves and eat and drink all day. It has partial sun and shade from an old coastal oak tree. The pen has hardware wire on the lower parts of the sides that go into the ground about 12″. If I were to do it again, I’d put hardware wire up all the way on the sides and top. That would eliminate the rats and wild birds. We covered the wire on the top with lucite panels to keep out the rain.

So many of you have expressed interest in our coop. It certainly looks different than it did when we built it. It’s nearly covered with vines. We’ll be cutting them back soon. I like that it “fits into” the garden but I don’t want it to disappear. It’s much too cute!

First night on their roost before the interior was painted.

First night on their roost before the interior was painted.

2 comments to More about A Coop for the Garden

  • Jenny

    I love this coop idea… it’s just the right size for the 2-3 acres I want after so many years on a large farm.

    Here’s a suggestion to reduce your feed bill, if you don’t already do this: Plant comfrey (I like the noninvasive Bocking #14) along the sunniest side of the run on the inside and cover it with a low chicken wire cage so it can grow out through the holes. Your chickens will get an amazing boost from comfrey’s excellent protein (25%!) and vitamins (the only plant source of B12). In fact, chickens love comfrey so much, the wire cage is necessary to prevent them from pecking the plants to death. :)

    Turkeys especially will destroy a comfrey patch quite quickly, as I discovered 16 years ago. ;) Rabbits and other livestock also love it. Comfrey makes a great garden mulch as well.

  • Lee

    I like this idea of planting inside the run and covering it with wire to let the chickens peck at it as it grows through. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve not grown comfrey but I grow French sorrel that chickens love and it stays green year around. Perhaps I’ll try some of that inside the run.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>