“Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife.” I’m quoting Jonathan Schattke, of course, but just because I’m borrowing catchy phrases doesn’t make them any less applicable. B. and M., friends I visited while in Virginia, needed a chicken coop and so they converted an outbuilding into a pretty nifty coop.
The door and window face the garden and may be seen from the kitchen windows. I watch my own chickens from out a kitchen window and list it among the greatest pleasures this life has to offer. Hot tea, sprawling garden, and foraging chickens are a few of my favorite things.
The farm’s coop has a rustic lichen-covered roof and such a classic old-world feel to it. Inside, it was dark enough for the chickens to feel safe while the window and door let in just enough light for the chickens to be able to see their way into a nesting box. Of course, there aren’t any chickens living there now so the boxes aren’t currently lined with bedding.
This is a great example of a small backyard coop for about 12 laying hens. The rule is generally four birds to a nesting box. A dozen birds would not only meet the needs of a family but also provide them with eggs to share or sell. Keep in mind that the chickens spent the great majority of their time chasing after bugs, worms, and grass. They only went in the coop at night to roost and during the day to lay eggs (just like our own flock here).
Isn’t it neat to see other people’s chicken coops? I’m always fascinated by nesting box construction, ramps, and then the history. I have a million questions: Where did they find the materials? Which chicken breeds do they prefer and why? What first inspired them to start keeping chickens in the first place?
Very soon I’ll post our own coop addition and answer all of your chicken questions. Happily!