SOW SWELL

design-inspired urban farming

The Modern Chicken Coop — How Form and Function Make a Happy Marriage

I know, I know… if you’ve had any interest in a chicken coop you’ve probably seen most of these.  I want to not only feature some of the coops that you may have seen but also expose why they may or may not work for you as an urban farmer.  Like many of you, I am a huge fan of design.  I also love when form and function can coexist and create a beautiful partnership where you can be proud to showcase all the components of your well functioning urban farm.  And I’m all for marrying urban farming with great design, but it has to be practical or else you’ll end up hating life.  I’ve been a chicken farmer for many years now and have had many good and bad experiences in raising chickens.  And coop selection is merely scratching the surface, but one of the most important factors to creating happy chickens and happier chicken keepers!

But for those of you just getting started in your chicken journey, I wanted to also include some other coops that are both beautifully designed and highly functional.

Bottom line, when you are building or buying your own chicken coop, you need to remember the practicality of the task of keeping chickens.  It’s a great idea to have a gorgeous modern chicken coop, but not at the risk of your own sanity.  Before you buy or build a coop be sure to ask yourself these questions:

  • Will my chickens be safe from predators?
  • Is this coop big enough for the number of chickens I plan to keep?
  • Is the design competing with practicality — will it be easy to clean? Can I, as a chicken keeper, get in and out of it easily?  Will my chickens feel free to roam despite the design?
  • Is there a place designated for the hens to roost, lay their eggs and move around inside the coop?
  • Are there ample access points to get inside to collect eggs, clean out the coop and put bedding in after it’s been cleaned?
  • Is the run secure and how will it attach to my coop?
  • Can my chickens get back into the coop at the end of the day to settle in for the night?

Keeping chickens is one of the most fun parts about urban farming, in my opinion.  They add energy to your farm and the eggs are the most delicious you’ll ever taste.  But chickens can also be time-consuming if you let it.  So be sure to eliminate any unnecessary hurdles before you commit and get started!

4 comments on “The Modern Chicken Coop — How Form and Function Make a Happy Marriage

  1. Dayna
    February 7, 2013

    Can you have just one chicken or will it get lonely? Could you mix a duck and a chicken in a coop together ? If you live in an area that gets really cold, can the chicken or duck survive in a coop without heat?

    • sianabanana
      February 8, 2013

      Chickens are social animals that really should be kept in pairs or more. We always recommend 3 being a great number for a small or starter flock. Chickens and ducks will do perfectly fine housed together and a run can be easily accommodated for both. The thing you need to think about is having water for the ducks to swim in. A small kiddie pool will work. Chickens won’t need a pool. You will need to ensure that you have enough feed for all your birds.

      Ducks can develop angelwing, which is caused by too much or too little protein. Ducks generally need feed that is about 15-16% protein. Ducks do better on lower protein. Ducks also need extra niacin for leg growth which can be added as a supplement to their drinking water. 500 mg tab/capsule to 5 gallons water.

      Ducks also tend to be much messier and smellier than chickens, but it’s something you should consider prior to putting together your flock.

      Chickens and Ducks will do fine in cold weather without heat, but it really depends on how severe your winters are. If you have very cold winters you may want to consider hardier breeds that can withstand harsher winters. However ducks and chickens are quite resilient and can handle really low temperatures. Heat is often times the bigger problem. In hot weather climates chickens and ducks will require more water and may require misters or some other cooling method. We often put ice in our waterers and feed our flock frozen vegetables and fruit during the brutal summer months in Southern California.

  2. Sandy Ankhasirisan
    March 26, 2013

    I always worried about my chicken will get too cold during the winters in SoCal. Now I’m glad I don’t have to worry. I will try to feed my chicks frozen vegetables and ice water during the hot summer months. Thanks for the tips…

  3. home improvment
    July 18, 2013

    Hi there! This blog post could not be written any better!
    Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I’ll send this article to him. Fairly certain he’ll
    have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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This entry was posted on December 6, 2012 by in Chickens, Uncategorized, Urban Farming.
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