First Chicken Coop: The Taj-MaHen

Posted on Nov 17, 2012 | 1 comment

I’ve posted that a good coop is THE KEY to happily keeping chickens. What I mean by that is a spot where your chickens roost at night and can be locked up safe when you need them to be.

Chicken Coop With a View

Chicken Coop With a View

When I lived in the mountains of Western North Carolina I designed my first full-fledged coop. We built it from scratch and Mendy put such a lovely paint job on it that delivery drivers and workmen—not usually the gushy sort—would stop and tell us it was the prettiest coop they had ever seen. So we started calling it the TajMaHen. If I had it to do over, I’d build something similar, with a few tweaks.

The TajMaHen

The TajMaHen

After years of keeping chickens and trying different set ups, for me the perfect scenario would be: A well-built coop with an adjoining covered/fully enclosed run, all inside a larger chicken-paddock/yard that is adjacent to the garden. A lot to ask? A gal can dream, right? Plus, I’d want a moveable chicken ‘tractor’ for when I need to give a small group of hens a special mission….like ridding a particular (fallow) garden bed of bugs or bermuda grass. Now that set up would be winning the chicken-coop lottery!

Pics remind me why visitors from out west would say Oh My God it's so GREEN!

These old pics remind me why visitors from out west would say Oh My God it’s so GREEN!

Currently I have a walk-in sized coop in a paddock that is adjacent to the garden. It’s a fairly good set up. Being next to the garden is the best part as all the weeds, by-gone veggies, leftovers etc just get tossed over the fence to the waiting flock. But this current coop also requires that the door be closed by a human every evening and opened every morning, which is inconvenient at times…say anytime you want to be away from home at dusk.  I could install a self-closing chicken door, but being a bit neurotic, I’d probably go out there every morning and night anyway to make sure it was *really* working, lest my biddies end up as bird-treat to the local predators.

Human-Sized Door to Roosting/Laying Box area (and Snow!)

Human-Sized Door to Roosting/Laying Box Area

In North Carolina the walk-in coop also had a small covered run. I say walk-in to distinguish it from the lean-in, or crawl-in coops I’ve seen. You are going to want to clean it out one day, and you are going to want to stand up while doing it! The covered run provided a dry, predator-safe space for the hens to be for as long as I needed them there.  The dry part was pretty important while living in a rain forest ecosystem! No matter the weather, the gals were kept entertained by the garden leavings, dumped into their romper room to be pulverized into the prettiest compost starter you ever saw. Every couple of months I’d rake it all out and make a compost pile that cooked beautifully. Since the run and coop always had a deep, dry layer of straw, grass, leaves, etc, there was never any offensive smell or fly problem.

Then whenever we were home and could supervise a bit, I could open the door and let them all out to gallivant. Good memories of my first coop, thanks for visiting and letting me share! If you have picture of your gals or their digs, feel free to post them on our brand new facebook page.

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One Comment

  1. So HILARIOUIS – “Taj-MaHen”! Beautiful coop. I don’t know if you know this but I’ve read that red repels insects; that’s why farmers have traditionally painted barns red.