Coop de foudre

In case you hadn’t noticed, I love my chickens. And I love my chicken coop. Thus, the reaching pun as subject title. ( coup de fou·dre (ko̵̅o̅t fo̵̅o̅dr‘) 1.a thunderbolt, 2. a sudden, intense feeling of love) I am, indeed, thunderstruck with a passion for poultry!
 Now that the chickens have been happily ensconced in their new digs for a few weeks, I’m declaring the coop a success. Coop kudos to the Chicken Emperor, of course. While the rest of us just need a roof over our heads (and perhaps 500-thread-count sheets) chickens’ needs are complicated by their susceptibility to illness and their finger-lickin’-good desirability to predators. I am now fairly certain that the sirens who lured Odysseus and his companions were gussied-up chickens, as these birds seem to be absolutely irresistible to pretty much any non-vegan. In fact, those sea sirens are said to have had the body of a bird, so there you go.
A siren statue - I think she looks like Hope

A siren statue - I think she looks like Hope

Thus, the coop design includes a number of features aimed at thwarting wily raccoons and other predators, all of which, to date, are no-shows in the chicken yard. We’ve seen no signs of attempted breaking and entering, although this may just be a grace period while the raccoons plot their coop d’etat.

Front of the coop, built onto an existing concrete pad and between the existing columns to keep it low profile from neighbors and street view

Front of the coop, built onto an existing concrete pad and between the existing columns to keep it low profile from neighbors and street view

First line of defense is the existing dog run

First line of defense is the existing dog run

We covered this gate with hardware cloth when we noticed the cats easily slipping through the bars

We covered this gate with hardware cloth when we noticed the cats easily slipping through the bars

The chicken pen features hardware cloth 3' above ground and 1' below ground

The chicken pen features hardware cloth 3' above ground and 1' below ground

The windows are screened to deter would-be intruders

The windows are screened to deter would-be intruders

Thursday is our designated coop clean-out day and we realized our system is working so well that there wasn’t much to do this morning. I do a daily clean-up of the coop countertops after the chickens go outside in the morning and refresh their countertop water and food, but their larger feeder and waterers only need to be refilled weekly. As long as the coop is kept clean and dry, the chickens should stay healthy. I spot-replenish pine shavings daily, and in another week or so, we’ll do a thorough sweep-out and put all new shavings inside the coop.

The CE designed this sweepout for easy cleaning

The CE designed this sweepout for easy cleaning

And this one.

And this one.

Electricity in the coop is a luxury, but one I'm very happy to have

Electricity in the coop is a luxury, but one I'm very happy to have

And, of course, the CE thought of everything in terms of organization

And, of course, the CE thought of everything in terms of organization

One of the neatest, and most-discussed, features of the coop is the egg door. The Chicken Emperor balked at the idea, both because of construction expense and concern that every opening presents a possible avenue for predators to enter the coop. In the end, the egg door won out, and the CE installed latches on the outside AND inside of the door for added security.

Egg door

Egg door

We'll put the nesting boxes on this counter when the girls are a bit older.

We'll put the nesting boxes on this counter when the girls are a bit older.

Every morning we open the chicken door, and the four girls go through the “chunnel” to start their day. They’re getting better at coming back inside at days’ end – one afternoon I came outside and all four had put themselves to bed all by themselves!

The oft-mentioned "chunnel"

The oft-mentioned "chunnel"

The chicken door. We leave it open during the day so they can go back and forth between the coop and pen.

The chicken door. We leave it open during the day so they can go back and forth between the coop and pen.

The chickens seem to be amenable to conducting at least part of their lives in a “townhouse”. Since bending over aggravates my back problems, we arranged the coop so that the girls spend much of their time up at my level.

The CE made "chicken ladders" so they can reach their "second floor walk-up". Note the hanging feeder and waterer.

The CE made "chicken ladders" so they can reach their "second floor walk-up". Note the hanging feeder and waterer.

It’s fun to discover a part of our property we’ve rarely used in all the years we’ve lived here. The eastern exposure is ideal for the chickens. It catches early morning and a bit of dappled afternoon light through the oak branches, but never gets overly warm. We planted some vines on the fence at the property line to help screen the area for the neighbors’ driveway adjacent to our property. The chickens make very little noise, so I don’t know if the neighbors have even noticed them yet.

Thunbergia alata, "Black-Eyed Susan Vine", growing like a weed, thanks to chicken fertilizer

Thunbergia alata, "Black-Eyed Susan Vine", growing like a weed, thanks to chicken fertilizer

This tile of St. Brigid, patron saint of poutry farmers, watches over the flock

This tile of St. Brigid, patron saint of poutry farmers, watches over the flock

Next project is to build a bench around this tree or put some plants in pots next to it

Next project is to build a bench around this tree or put some plants in pots next to it

All is well in chickenland and the girls are now 9 weeks old!

End of day roosting time

End of day roosting time

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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10 Responses to Coop de foudre

  1. Metanoia says:

    Wow your coop is amazing! It looks like they’ll be safe and comfortable from any kind of weather or predator. My chicken run was actually a dog run in it’s first incarnation. It was so easy to convert and it looks about the same size as your inner pen. I can’t wait to let mine out to free range this weekend (curses day job!)… ahh for the love of chickens!!

  2. Jeannie says:

    Wonderful coop design very roomy is appears!

    PS I am visiting via the BYC

    aka TheBarnSwallow

  3. Chelsea says:

    Why the chunnel though? Security feature or what?

  4. Alan E PT says:

    The girls look perfect. Such a cozy home. How are doing in this heat?

  5. nancy says:

    Very Fabulous! It is April, so we have about 6 months before we will NEED electricity. My husband is going to install. Can u explain what materials u used? We are going to put two light bulb round boxes on the ceiling. And, we found ceramic heat bulbs that we can screw in to keep the coop warm. We will need to add an electrical plug box for the chicken door, and the water heater. Then it will all get hooked up to the pool electrical panel. Did you use PVC tubing to run the wires through? Where did you come out of the coop with the electric? We are thinking up high. Should we put the plug box u high on the wall so the chickens don’t peck at it? Any ideas, suggestions would be appreciated. nancy

    • polloplayer says:

      Hi Nancy. Thanks for visiting Polloplayer. We hired a licensed electrician as the coop is very close to our house and my husband was first and foremost concerned about safety. We did install the electrical up high to prevent the chickens from pecking, as you mentioned, and all the electrical is enclosed in PVC. We installed flourescent light, so there’s a long tube that does a good job of illuminating the coop. We don’t have heat in our coop, so no water heater. The temperature does not go below 32 degrees here during the coldest months. Hope this helps.

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