Grit Blogs > Johnston Backyard Farm

The Great Chicken Coop Battle

Candance JohnstonMy husband and I first started our little flock of chickens almost three years ago. We seriously had no idea what we were doing — and that is evident in the building of our first coop. I actually decided I was going to build it on my own using all upcycled materials and a plan I found online. As it turns out, I can read a lot of things really well, but building plans are not among them. I also have no idea about what type of wood should be used for what type of projects and I’m not as handy as I like to tell myself I am with power tools. Nathan ended up coming home after a long week of work on the road to a well-intentioned wife and a big, basically useless pile of wood in the backyard.

He did the best he could with what he had and our lack of knowledge about coops and the girls have enjoyed a pretty sturdy home these last few years. I mean, really, they run the backyard all day and only go in to sleep and lay eggs, so it’s not like they needed anything too fancy.

But, now that we’re expanding our homesteading efforts and have added three more girls to the flock, their old house wouldn’t suffice anymore. It was time for an upgrade. This time, armed with more knowledge about chicken raising and my complete lack of construction skills, we decided to do things the right way and get something pre-fabricated from Tractor Supply that could be put together in under an hour.

Nathan and I are polar opposites. We’ve already established I am not good at building things. I’m the person in the family who handles anything that requires paperwork, research or reading. He’s the fixer and builder. Unfortunately for him, when it comes time to fix and build things, I am the only helper he generally has. And, if what we’re building and fixing has instructions, I believe they should be read prior to starting and then followed step-by-step throughout the process. He believes we should just wing it because “it isn’t that hard.” He also believes I should know all the names of tools and understand the construction terms he throws out for me to complete pronto. Then I yell at him I’d like to see him diagram a sentence or explain the theme to some piece of literature he’s never read. It goes back and forth like that for hours.

Even on projects that are supposed to be completed in under an hour — like the chicken coop.

We bickered back and forth over which screws went where (he would’ve totally known if he’d read the instructions), the placing of the roof tiles, how the nesting boxes were supposed to be set up and just about everything else that went into the building of the coop. Then we bickered about where to place it in the yard (I’m still not sure I like it, but that’s another battle for another day). Our next door neighbors already aren’t big fans of ours and I’m sure after listening to all that for close to three hours they say very earnest prayers each night that we will move very soon!

After lot of struggling, arguing, and one very wicked sunburn, we finally got it put together. Even though it took us way longer than the box said it would, I do have to say, it’s the cutest little coop ever.

New Coop

I just know the girls will love living in it — once we can finally convince them to do more than just walk around in the run for snacks and then return to their old shanty for egg laying and sleeping.