We’ve learned the hard way, that a “free range” chicken is pretty much a “dead” chicken. Out of 15 chickens we’ve owned. We have 4 left. Four were predator deaths. One was old age. Six were killed by their own stupidity: hanging themselves on fences they couldn’t quite jump, ramming themselves under fences they couldn’t escape, chasing dogs, fighting goats for domination of the yard, etc. So that, and the constant splats on the back porch convinced us to get a Precision Pet Products Hen House Chicken Coop. We actually got ours on sale at Tractor Supply for under $200.
It assembled in under an hour. However, don’t drag it across the concrete after you build it; the wood is soft. See below.
Also notice the bricks under the coop. The wood is SOFT, y’all. So unless you’re yard is bone dry year round, you will need to put it up on something. We built two brick outlines so we can hop it to the next square for scratching variety. If you don’t toss straw in there, though, you would need to move it every few days.
Totally unnecessary is the Retractable Wheel Kit. The whole thing is so light, my 8 and 10 year old can put it anywhere I want. However, be it known that the ramp WILL pull away from the screws when you lift it (or roll it on that wheel set). If you plan to move it often, do secure that ramp, bottom and top. In the top picture, you can see that our ramp is gone. We gave up reattaching it when we realized the chickens could just jump up there anyway.
Below you can see there are an assortment of doors on this contraption. To the right is the “big door” that you can almost crawl into. The window door is almost never used by us. Under the window door is a tray that pulls out for easy cleaning. The next box in the back has it’s own door and there’s a little door on the opposite end. All that is super-convenient for cleaning and feeding.
Overall, we’ve been very pleased with the coop. We’ve had it for months. I would like to add on the Chicken Coop Extension Pen some day to give the girls more room. (It seems too cramped in there for four chicks, but I’m sure they much prefer being ALIVE to having unlimited elbow room.) That and there’s no ROOST. Chickens want to sleep in tree branches. This coop doesn’t come with a roost, but you can buy a Roosting Bar or just wedge a dowel in there.