Okay, the time has come for my baby girls to move out of the house and into their gorgeous chicken coop from Horizon structures.
Our 12 little chicks have grown up so fast into chirpy teenagers and I’m ready for them to get into a space all their own outside. At six weeks they are considered fully feathered and they are supposedly ready to deal with the changing temperatures of the West Michigan climate.
Before we move them out there for good, we need to finish a predator-proof run (think hawks, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and basically every other animal that would love to gnaw on some chicken or chicken eggs), but I wanted to give you a tour of the coop.
We worked with Horizon Structures to build a coop that would be perfect for our small flock and to create something that would function really well for us. It also happens to be visually pleasing so that’s a huge bonus. 🙂
Horizon Structure quality
Horizon Structures builds chicken coops, sheds, horse barns, two-story barns and more in Pennsylvania in the heart of Amish country and they have been building for more than 25 years. Owned and operated by Dave Zook, the company has a 50-acre facility with 15-20 Amish carpenters, and they make products that are truly build to last generations.
We went with the Super Coop structure, which is 12 feet 2 inches long and 7 feet 2 inches wide. It has 12 nesting boxes and comes fully assembled.
We selected charcoal grey shingles for our roofing material and painted board and batten and trim for the outside of the coop. We selected the colors from a wide array of options at Horizon Structures to match house and the other buildings on our property.
The man door to the coop comes with keys and has a latch close, which is nice. You can be assured that even if you forget to lock it, little critters won’t be able to open it. It’s tight enough that my kids can’t manage it so it should be safe from raccoons.
A space for me and a space for them
Inside the coop there are two areas. One area is, of course, for the girls. They have eight nesting boxes for the 11 ladies (Oh yeah, we have a rooster!) so that should be plenty to go around. There are two roosting bars and then one chicken door.
About 1/3 of the way through the coop, it is split so there is storage room for me. I’ll be keeping their food in there in metal trash cans and some other supplies…for now. Eventually, if we decide to get more girls, I’ll remove the door. Or, we can use that side for sick birds and introducing new birds to the flock.
Easy clean floor
I decided to get an epoxied floor so that it would be easier to clean. In reading about chicken coops it seemed that a lot of people cover the floors in laminate flooring to make them easier to scrape. Horizon Structures said this floor will make life a lot easier when it comes time to scoop the poop.
A place to nest
Right now, the girls will have 8 nesting boxes and the additional 4 will be for storage. The way these are set up it makes it really easy for me to go in and get eggs each day without really bothering the ladies. It will also make it easy for me to determine if there is a chicken hiding in there because she is broody or sick. Lastly, the set up here will make cleaning easier too!
All that said, I am going to have to figure out how to lock these. While they are heavy, I don’t want to take any chances.
The chicken door is at one end of the coop and it latches open and closed. I just have to buy a lock for it. At some point, I also want to retrofit the coop with an automatic door, which is something Horizon Structures offers on their coops but when ordering I didn’t understand how sleep-saving this would be. Or how it might allow us to go on vacation more easily…
A cool place to roost
Under the roost there is a poop tray covered by wire. The poop trays make cleaning easier for me and pull out so that I can scrap them and wash them right outside. The wire prevents the chickens from stepping it in, which is something they’re doing in my current, transitional set up. I am planning on using sand and/or pdz in the trays when we get out there to help control the smell too.
Venting the coop
Above the roosts there is a vent that is covered with wire and can be opened from the outside to help control the smells in the coop.
Keep in mind that if you want side vents above the door, they are an extra charge and line item. I thought they were included, but no. We will be adding those so we can get the East/West wind and help to protect against drafts and frostbite in the winter.
There are three windows across from the vent, which are also covered with wire to keep predators out. This will further help me air out the coop in the summer time and help it to smell fresh.
I also decided to have the coop wired for electrical. During the barn reno we will have an electrician run a wire to the coop so we can have light in there. Depending on the weather, it will also allow me to use a heating plate in the winter.
Keeping it dry
The roof of the coop is also fitted with a radiant barrier and will help to protect from moisture as well as help maintain warmer temperatures in the Michigan winters.
Still a few things to do…
Before we move the girls into the space we are planning to build a much larger run. The run should be built this week and will surround two sides of the coop. I’m praying that I can move them by Friday morning. Then I’ll probably spend the day watching them enjoy their new home!
To learn more about our chickens, click here.