Planning for Chickens

For months I've been trying to decide how and when to begin our backyard chicken project. We're interested in raising three or four hens for egg laying. I really want to build a coop myself out of recycled materials, but the idea of me building anything right now seems a little far-fetched.

It's a huge leap to go from a simple backyard veggie patch to live animals and there are lots of considerations as we make our plans. I live inside the Dallas city limits and our backyard is not large. I'll be free ranging the hens on a pretty small plot of land, but I also want them to have a spacious coop and run in case there are times that they can't be out everyday. I also want the coop to be safe. We are situated along a creek that houses raccoons, opossums and coyotes. Even cities as big as Dallas have its share of hungry wild animals. And finally, since our property is so small and we'll have to look at the coop from our living room window, I'd like it to be attractive.

Last week, my brother's girlfriend sent me an inspiring How-To book called "Reinventing the Chicken Coop" by Kevin McElroy and Matthew Wolpe. There are lots of great plans for interesting looking coops. But even with it's easy to follow instructions, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

But my lucky number came due this week, because a wildly talented builder friend of mine has offered to design and create a coop for me! Saved by good friends, once again. Do you remember THIS tree house I covered for  James Curvan, the creator of that tree house, is going to build our coop! I can't wait to see his design. And of course, I'll be sharing the building process with you here on the blog. James is going to spend the summer collecting used and discarded building materials and then in the early fall, he'll construct the coop.

I know that the fall seems like a million years away, but I like to do things slowly. I want to make sure I've made all of the proper provisions for the hens-to-be. Here is where the coop will go in our backyard:

And just for fun, here are some beautiful coop images I've been collecting on my Chickens & Coops board on Pinterest: