What came first? The Chicken or the Chicken Coop?

I’m building a chicken coop. And when I say “I”, I probably really mean David and his cousin. However, I was given the responsibility of designing the chicken coop and doing all the research necessary to raise baby chicks and nurture them into grown chickens.

I asked David how many chickens he wanted thinking he was going to say around ten. To my surprise he only wants three. Hmm, that’s not exactly what I had in mind. I want ten. At the least. I think ten is completely suitable AND necessary. I’m not trying to be greedy here. I’m actually thinking sustainability. David thinks three chickens will give us way more eggs than we will ever be able to eat but if you think about it, one chicken lays about one egg a day (if we are lucky). That’s three eggs a day. I eat two.  David eats two. With only three chickens we will be fighting over who gets two eggs and who gets one. I eat as if I was a 250 pound man. Therefore, I’m thinking we need roughly 10 chickens. Okay, maybe we only need four chickens. But, with all the baking I plan on doing, we will need plenty of eggs.

A coworker of mine who just got chickens mentioned the other day that her chickens were stressed out because of her dog and weren’t laying any eggs. I want my chickens to live the good life. One that is free of the fear of dogs and cats. As much as I’d like to believe David’s two dogs and my two cats are perfect little angels, the dead mouse I found in the basement yesterday morning is a pretty good example that they are not.

Therefore, I believe if we provide them with a home that feels safe and comfortable, they in return will provide for us. So I have drafted up some plans. Preliminary drawings if you will. Now friends, I never claimed to be an artist. Be kind.

So there you have it. Since we are waiting to get our chicks next Spring, I have some time to revamp my drawings. This shall be an interesting experience to say the least. A fun one though. Very fun.

If you have experience with this sort of thing please feel free to email me or leave a comment with any suggestion, idea, etc.

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11 Responses to What came first? The Chicken or the Chicken Coop?

  1. Nick says:

    I am with David on this one. Do you really eat eggs every day of the week? Maybe if I get bored or the time I will design an elaborate chicken coop for you and email it. Most likely I won’t have time but you never know. Hope all is well.

  2. Found you via Freshly Pressed… 🙂
    I worked on a hobby farm babysitting and taking care of the animals, and that family of 4 had about 8 chickens and generally produced more eggs than they needed. However, they started keeping egg cartons before their chickens were laying, and sold their extra eggs to friends and family for cheap, only requesting that the cartons be returned. Then when the chickens went through period of low-laying times, they still had enough for breakfast and the occasional baked good between the good-laying and bad-laying chickens. If you’ve got friends/acquaintances who would be willing to shell out $1.50 for a dozen and return the carton, it may be worth it to have the extra chickens. After all, you’re going to all this work to build a coop and a chicken yard, so you might as well raise as many as you can, right?! 😉

  3. acountrywalk says:

    We have been raising chickens for about a year and a half and we started with 6 for two people. We raised them from day olds and exposed them to just about everything. Cats, my huge chocolate lab and even lawn mowers and leaf blowers to acclimate them to all sorts or distractions. It worked and when they started laying we got on average 5 eggs a day and sometimes extended periods of 6 eggs per day. That’s a 100% laying ratio. For two people, we can’t use them fast enough and about half are given to friends and family. Happy chickens lay very predictably so get a couple more chickens than you need eggs per day because giving them away or selling them is super easy. Note that unhappy chickens will stop laying cold turkey and it can take weeks for them to resume. A well rounded flock with no roosters is hard to build but when you get it right it’s a no brainer. Feed em and they feed you! We are up to nine right now and only getting one per day because of the oppressive heat but when it cools down we expect them to go right back to their old habits. As far as building a coop, we started with a well laid plan that then resulted in a thousand dollar coop that is still too small. Give them 2 square feet each inside the coop and at least that much in their run. If possible give them open green space to forage even if it is fenced. This produces much higher quality eggs. Good luck!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you SO much for the advice. We haven’t gotten our chickens yet and I told my boyfriend last night after reading your comment that we should get six. 🙂 at the very least.

      • acountrywalk says:

        I didn’t mention this but we have had very good luck with a mixed flock. They pick on each other much less than a flock of all the same breed. All different colors so no one has an advantage is the way to go in my opinion. Stop by my blog for some pics of my girls!

    • I agree with acountrywalk. I’m in the same spot – two people, six hens. Like her, mine lay the same amount as well and that’s more than enough eggs for the two of us! We sell our extras to our neighbors and family. If you reuse containers from the grocery store, be sure to disinfect them first so your eggs are not contaminated with germs from the factory farms.

      One thing I would add to your coop plans is that you need a roof over your run to protect your flock from hawks, climbing raccoons, etc.

  4. Emmy says:

    our family has been raising chickens for eggs since i was 6, and i agree with a couple of the other comments on here about selling the extra eggs. i ran a little “egg business” for the majority of my childhood, selling eggs to neighbors and friends, and it’s actually a great way to make a little extra cash. what with cage free eggs being about 4 bucks now in the store, people are willing to pay, and especially for ones where they know exactly where they’re coming from! as far as coops, i don’t know what area of the country you live in, but here in florida we’ve had a LOT of trouble with raccoons breaking into the coop at night, so be sure you only let them out when you can watch them during the day, and that they’re secured very safety at night. we ended up having to actually cover every space with hardware cloth (as opposed to chicken cloth, which is much weaker and easier to get through,) and we even went so far as to dig a trench around the perimeter of their fence, and then fill it with a half foot of concrete (like a moat almost,) to keep animals from digging under. definitely something to think about if wild animals are an issue in your area. raccoons and weasels especially, can get through practically ANYTHING, so it’s always better to secure more than you think you need to. also- chickens love scraps! old bread, grits, watermelon, you name it. happy chickens = more eggs for you! best of luck!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Love the drawing! Very technical.

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