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