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Thursday, August 15, 2013

From Chicken Tavern . . .

Once we decided to seriously embark on the endeavor of keeping chickens, I began to weigh all the housing options and very quickly became overwhelmed with the possibilities. The pre-fab coops I really loved from Williams-Sonoma and other sites were way beyond our budget. Should we buy or build? New materials or re-claimed lumber from pallets, etc.? I created a "Chickens . . . Someday"  board on Pinterest and began pinning coops. I just about wore myself out trying to decide so finally my husband said, "Just go ahead and buy one." So we did. Ordered online for a not-too-bad price that included shipping.
Soon, our Chicken Tavern, the largest the site offered, arrived. Packed in two large, flat boxes with MADE IN CHINA on the side and shipped from a state on the east coast instead of from a quaint little woodworking shop in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado (not that the website said that the coop was made in the USA but I somehow sort of got that impression.) So what now? Put the coop together and make the best of it.
In other words, live and learn.
Our coop ended up being smaller than I expected but is the right size for our starter flock of three mature hens. I located it in our securely fenced backyard, previous home to our three elderly dogs who all died within months of each other this past year. The holes in the yard that they dug and left behind are, by the way,  being fully utilized by the hens who love to take dust baths in them. But, I digress; this post is about the coop.   
The coop was fairly simple to put together (I did it all myself) and is actually pretty cute. The water-proofing/color stain appeared to be sprayed on the pieces and while most of the hardware included was adequate, some was too lightweight and didn't hold sufficiently so I replaced it. My brother-in-law suggested that since I ordered a Chicken Tavern from ChickenSaloon.com that I should name my hens Sheriff Dillon, Festus, and Miss Kitty. Well, for one thing, two of those names are male names and I was getting GIRL chickens, and another thing, who would dare insult a newly acquired hen by naming her "Miss Kitty"?  Talk about never getting an egg!
Shortly after I purchased the Tavern, MyPetChicken.com introduced an American-made coop that would have cost about the same amount, including the very reasonable shipping cost. That's definitely the route I would have taken but, as they say, it is what it is. The next coop (because almost all chicken keepers who start small end up at least doubling their flock, and I feel that I'll be no exception), will most likely be built by me since I really do love to do that sort of thing. I'll now know better what I want in a hen house and what I don't need.
And, by the way, the Wild West isn't my style at all (even though I'm totally Texan) so I'm in the process of "renovating" and customizing my coop. No longer will it be "The Tavern," but will soon be transformed into "The Cottage." I hope my girls will be as excited about the transformation as I am!

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