Review on the eco-concepts coop

The reviews on this coop are mixed. While the ┬ámaterial it’s made of is just fine, sturdy, resistant to weather issues and termites the run was not so great. In his typical carpenter ways, my husband is currently in the process of building our own run. The one that came with it is just too small. Way to small and we only want 4 hens max. Inside the coop leaves just enough room for them to sleep, but I see us adding another nesting box in the future. For those who want to open the box, assemble and be ready to go I don’t think this is for you. If you don’t mind doing a little customizing, it’s just fine. In fact, I really love it. We’ll be putting in an automatic watering system later. My husband also built a platform for the coop so the hens can roam under it, in the shade. So far it’s exactly what we wanted, small, subtle and not obvious that there are chickens around. The aviary is being built as I type, by next weekend I’ll post those pics. I’d give this coop 3 out of 5 stars. The reason being the run was so small and there were broken hinges on 1 door, though no biggie to fix for some people it makes things difficult. For what we need it’s just perfect!

The New Coop

We finally decided on a coop. Delivered stealthy…in 2 huge boxes with pictures of the coop and chickens to boot! I think the UPS guy is onto us. Now don’t shun us because we bought a pre fab coop. I really wanted to build something totally cute, like the kind I find on the web. But there are a few things to consider: 1) My husband’s job is very physical. Although he’s an amazing carpenter/builder I just didn’t want to ask him to make me a coop from scratch. 2) I have neither the time or patience to search through all of the plans available to find just the right coop. 3) Breaking out the saw, saw horses, lumber and nail gun tends to attract the neighbor’s attention. We’re trying to avoid that!

We bought an eco concepts coop and run, from ebay but it’s sold in other places too. It’s made of a plastic/wood polymer. It shouldn’t rot and is resistant to termites. Very important here! I also liked that it’s low to the ground, no higher than our fence. My husband trumped that idea though, he’s building a platform for it to set on so the birds can go under the coop as well as in the run. So much for stealth….The reviews on this coop aren’t great but from what I’ve seen anything in our price range didn’t get great reviews. They’re all pre fab, mostly thin wood, not the sturdiest. No problem for us, anything that goes wrong the hubby can take care of. He’s just that good!

We took some of it out of the box and I must say, we were impressed. It’s much sturdier than the reviews led us to believe. It’s a neutral color (light beige?) and can be painted or stained. The run is fairly small but we’ll add on to that. It states it can hold up to 4 hens…we shall see. We’ll set it up this weekend as well as the brooder. Pics to follow!

Which coop to choose…

Coop style is the issue of the moment. Going stealth means our coop shouldn’t really look like one. So I could go with one of these, but I don’t think so. Actually the gypsy dog house is adorable, but not what we’re going for. The goal is for no one to see it at all, which means strategic landscaping. We already have a fence so putting up a privacy fence isn’t going to happen. Fortunately, we started planting along our fence line years ago so we have a pretty good natural barrier. The coop we chose is low to the ground and can be painted to match the house. By the time its built you’d really have to stand at the fence and look in or perhaps on a neighbor’s roof. Anyone that determined to catch us in the act should just knock on the front door and I’ll give you the grand tour.

Government has a history of backing the urban chicken movement…

Yes, it’s true. During hard times our government has come forth and supported the backyard chicken movement. Why? Well…in hard economic times it’s a blessing to be able to go to your backyard and pick up breakfast. Maybe even dinner. Self sustainability relieves the government, at least to a small extent, of caring for those who can’t afford even food at times. Hens are fairly easy to care for. Even in the worst of times they can free range to find enough food to live off of. More importantly though there is the issue of property rights. 4 hens take up very little room. I see no reason for a local government to flat out ban hens in any city. Ignorance and fear are at the root of those regulations. I happen to know that my family is quite capable of caring for a few backyard hens with less effort than it takes to care for our 2 caged cockatiels! So in hard times, our nation has a history of supporting backyard hens. After the worst economic recession since the great depression, you’d think this was just a no brainer for local government. Or not……

Why go underground?

I do get weird looks from my friends when I tell them I want chickens. Most of them have never considered it cause, well…eggs come from the store right? Weirder yet, were the looks we got from city council after trying to get the current codes changed to allow for backyard hens. Not gonna happen. I can however, have a pot bellied pig (up to 2) or a ball python, which can grow over 9 ft. long and eat a child. So my family decided to go underground with our hens. Right now our backyard is divided, 1 part common area, 1 part garden. The garden has trees that border our property line which serve as a nice natural barrier. Hedges form a fence from the rest of the yard so no one can actually see the garden area. Perfect, that’s 2 sides already covered. We just need to do something about the back fence line. This week we’ll make a home depot run and get a few more plants to start on the fence line. By the end of the summer we should have decent cover. Not a big issue right away as that particular neighbor is rarely seen or heard.

We want hens for the same reason most people do: fresh eggs, they’re fun to watch and easy to care for. Easier than caged, inside birds! We petitioned the city, went to city hall several times to speak, got the press involved, made websites and sent out flyers. In the end this city is far to elite for hens. At least for legal hens. Over the next few months I’ll chronicle our move to the underground. I’ll post pictures of the growing chicks, the brooder and of course the coop. And if I get caught, I’ll chronicle that too. I’m not big on the city mirco managing our property and since they don’t want to listen to voices of reason I’ll just take care of this on my own. Setting up the brooder this weekend. Pictures to follow!