We are now able to supply coops
Chicken housing is called a coop. There are many many designs on the market however there are a few desirable traits that chicken coops need in order to be good for chickens and ALSO good for you.
The givens are
- Perch spacing
- Nest box position
- Ease of access for cleaning
- Red mite prevention
- Resale value
Wood or Plastic – which is best?
Wood has always been a traditional material for a chicken coop. These can be home-made or bought from a supplier but wooden coops are rarely made with chickens and their owners in mind. A lot of wooden coops are made by folks who have never even owned chickens. By its very nature, wooden coops are full of framework that the outside cladding is attached to. All very nice, however the more ledges you have, the more little corners, crevices, grooves, nooks and crannies that red mite can hide in. Red mite just love wood. To be fair, they also love plastic, especially those with double skinned or insulated sides. Red Mite are not terribly fussy when it comes to being as close as possible to their favourite form of food – your chickens.
Most are made to look twee and cute in the garden. There is a strong argument for having a visually appealing chicken coop as they need to be pleasing to look at in your garden. Believe me, cute and twee does not cut it when you have to clean them out when it is tipping down with rain. Thanks to our wonderful British weather, rain is factor to take into consideration. The rain is not going to hold off because you have left your coop for too long to clean out because it is a pain to clean out unless the weather is dry. What if the rain does not stop for days? Therefore it follows that easy to clean and quick to clean is a major deal-breaker.
In recent years there are many manufacturers of plastic coops. Some look more space age and “designer” than others. Plastic coops can come in a variety of colours which adds to their visual appeal. Plastic coops are most often made from recycled plastic which adds to their green credentials. They are long lasting and look like new for much much longer than a wooden equivalent. Recycled plastic is becoming more common with recycled plastic fencing, recycled plastic decking and other garden fixtures and fittings. Plastic is easy to clean and does not rot.
The difference between most good plastic coops and a wooden one is the lack of framework and those havens called crevices. Remember Red Mite love crevices?
Read our blog article on these “delightful” creatures and what to do about them. Give yourself a Red Mites eye view. Imagine if you were the size of a fullstop, and then imagine all the places you could hide in most coops. To be able to keep on top of Red Mite you need to be able to get at them.
We have had wooden coops in the past but now we are plastic fantastic. They tick all the boxes for the givens above. Even so not all plastic coops are made equal. Some have to be dismantled in order to clean (remember our British weather). Others you are FORCED to clean virtually daily with a hose or pressure washer (remember our British weather and chicken poop has concrete qualities). Yet more are just plain silly and have even more corners and crevices than your average wooden coop.
We are not totally against wooden coops. There are a lot of nice looking and solidly made coops on the market, however just make very sure you take account of the “givens”. One size does not fit all. Coops that require crawling on all fours to clean an attached run for example do not suit anyone over 2 feet tall or indeed anyone who is not skilled in the exotic art of limbo dancing. This in our opinion (and bitter experience) is most definitely a deal-breaker.
Our No. 1 advice
When buying a coop is NOT to buy one on price. Now I am a girl with an eye for a bargain and when we first got chickens, I hunted the internet for coops which were big enough for the chickens I wanted and also was the cheapest for the number of chickens I wanted. BIG MISTAKE. There a lot of very cheap wooden coops around which claim to be big enough for your chickens BUT THEY ARE NOT. Many come with integral runs which are not even big enough for one chicken let alone the 6 that most coops claim they can house. Buy on function therefore and NOT cost. Buy cheap buy twice. It most definitely applies when buying coops.
Advice No. 2
Is to go big. Chickens are addictive and although you may only want a couple of chickens, you WILL WANT MORE. Unless you have been beaten into submission by buying a coop on price alone.
Advice No. 3
Avoid any coops which have a pull out droppings tray. A complete waste of time and an easy access for a fox or other predator. Once you have bedding in your coop (to catch poo) the drawer will not be able to be pulled out. How does that easy clean coop look now? Not so appealing.
Advice No. 4
Get a walk in run and make sure it has 2 square metres of space per chicken. If avian influenza happens (and it does from year to year) then you will be legally obliged to shut your chickens up for months on end over winter and they will need space while confined. Runs need cleaning, and crawling in the mud on all fours is something you will have to do if you buy a low level one. Get a run with a roof and that you can stand up in because your back will thank you for it and refer to the British weather referred to above. 🙂
Advice No. 5
Chicken housing that will fit an automatic door opener is an absolute blessing that you will never regret purchasing. If you only buy one piece of extra equipment, make it an automatic pop hole opener. Did I also mention that we are now stocking these? We have Chickenguards in stock now in our shop.
We are proud to present Henlays Roost
The Henlays Roost Coops designers have cleverly created chicken housing which incorporates all the best ideas in their coops so that they are perfect for chickens and perfect for you. They reuse 70Kg of waste recycled plastic so are good for the green credentials also.
We are now able to sell these Henlays Chicken Coops in our shop and we think they are pretty darn good. They tick every single box on the givens list with honours with the exception of the run element. You will need to place your coop inside a suitable run. The Henlays Roost coop will easily fit 6 large chickens in comfort in Summer or Winter.
You Can Even Paint them to make totally personalised
Pimping them up with a DIY paint job is easy so that they can look twee or fit better into your garden design if you want them to be. At the top of the page you can see how good they look when painted. They have been painted in Thorndown Paints wood colours.
The video here will give you a brief run-through of all the main features
These lovely Henlays Roost coops will also fit a Chickenguard automatic door opener, which we think should be an essential on all chicken housing. Automatic pop hole openers are worth their weight in gold as far as we are concerned. The coop is £495 and the chickenguard is £134.99. The coop is for collection only as it is very heavy. It comes in flatpack form which takes around 45 minutes to build. As Mr Ford used to say, you can have any colour you like as long as it’s black. BUT it takes a short time to paint with a mini roller if you want something more individual. We happen to like it in black.