Back in the summer of 2020 I decided that a flock of chickens was in my future. Moving forward, I started doing so much research into the needs and wants of chickens, as well as the local laws regarding the keeping of livestock.
Luckily, in St. Louis, we can keep fowl as long as they have enough space and protection.
So I moved forward and starting making small purchases of grit, oyster shells, and bowls. I started by looking online to find the best deals. I then narrowed down all the options based on customer reviews. The reviews really speak loudly about the true quality of a product. Please look at the reviews before making any purchases.
Then I started to meander into the big, wide world of coops!
There are so many coop and so many retailers that sell chicken coops. I started by discussing with my husband about what an agreeable number of hens would be. We decided that we would accept 4 hens. That would be plenty to provide the two of us with eggs and even extras to give to friends and family.
From research, I found that chickens require 2-3 square feet per chicken inside the coop and at least 8-10 square feet outside the coop. The outside part can come in the form of a run attached to the coop or your backyard to free range. You should also ensure that the coop is not too large for your desired number of chickens to prevent the hens from heating it.
This is a great time to look at customer reviews. People that have purchased a coop from a small business or from a retailer will be a very big help. They will tell you if the coop is worth the money, if it will hold up, if the coop has adequate ventilation, and a slew of other important details. Keep in mind the need for coops to have adequate ventilation to keep the chickens free of respiratory conditions and free of frost bite in the winter.
I decided that I wanted a run attached to the coop so the chickens would have protection, and I would free range them in the yard when I am able to be in the yard with them for protection.
I knew that based on reviews and personal beliefs, that I wanted to spend more up front in order to get something that is very safe and secure, and a coop that will last.
I found several small businesses in the area and one company that were highly recommended. I then started talking with the businesses. I emailed and called and asked all kinds of questions. At times I felt I was maybe asking too much. Fear not, I learned so much more by asking questions in every which way imaginable. I even met with some retailers in person to see real life examples of their coops.
After all this, I narrowed down my coop search to two local, small businesses. The prices and coop sizes were comparable. For me, it ultimately came down to the level of experience and review numbers. There were so many people with positive things to say about the coop builder I picked, that I finally pulled the plug on a lovely navy blue 4×4 foot coop with an 4×12 foot run!
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the coop. It is being custom made and will be delivered by the end of January! I will share more updates when the coop arrives.
Recommended websites for chicken research (these are not paid recommendations, just helpful sites):
Old Farmers Almanac