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City Chicken Coops – Farming in the City

Chicken Coop

Our three girls are such important additions to our family!  Besides providing nutrient-rich eggs and consuming many of our kitchen scraps, they provide a welcome reprieve from the daily hustle and bustle and give us (especially Baby QT) an excuse to go on a walk around the yard.  

So, are you on the fence about keeping chickens?  

Basic chicken needs are:  

  • 12” x 12” x 12” nesting box
  • 12-inch perch
  • 4-inch feeding trough per bird
  • 4 square feet of indoor/outdoor space per bird
  • A secure coop with a door that closes tight
  • A rain and wind proof coop
  • Good ventilation to provide air flow during hot weather
  • Insulation for cold weather
  • A feeder and waterer that are raised above the ground and kept filled with chicken feed and clean water
  • Access to an outdoor area to forage
  • Easy access to replace straw, littler, or provide clean sand for bedding

If these basic needs are provided by their human caretakers, the chickens will reward them handsomely — like ours do — with about one egg per hen per day!

If you’ve decided to start your backyard homestead, you need to determine how many chickens you want as well as whether your municipality has any restrictions concerning chickens and the size and location of their dwelling.  Most towns require a coop to be anywhere from 25 to 100 feet away from the neighbor’s lot line and may limit the number of chickens to 3 or 4 laying hens.

After you decide how many hens to keep, it’s time to build a chicken coop!  This is a fairly simple weekend woodworking project. 

Our chicken mansion was built between the back wall of our garage and our garden wall that attached to the garage creating three of the four walls needed.  This was convenient and provided a strong concrete infrastructure that we reinforced with hurricane straps that affixed our trusses and roof to the walls.  We had extra lumber from our house demo project that we used to create the front frame of the coop that we finished with chicken wire and an old door we had in the garage.  The chicken wire allows the air to flow while preventing any predators from entering!  VOILA!  Finished!

Caring for your birds:  

Well, there are a lot of great resources for raising chicks into chickens and keeping your birds healthy into adulthood.  My first suggestion is to make friends with the owners at your local feed store, check out your county’s extension office that will have classes and resources and information on the laws of your municipality, and start asking around your neighborhood to see if there are others keeping chickens.  

Then hunt and peck through the internet starting with these great sources:

Finally, enjoy the egg-citing adventure of raising chickens!