by Stacia Equi
When my parents moved to a more rural area about five years ago, I talked my mom into getting chickens. It wasn’t difficult; all I said was, “You should get chickens, you could have fresh eggs.” Because I proposed the idea, I was roped into building the coop.
I lived 3,000 miles away at that time and had come home for a visit (which I did only every two years or so). My mom had the chicks, six Buff Orpingtons, in the garage in a brooder. She handed me a plan she had found in Organic Gardening, and I said, “Yeah, of course we can build this in a day.” I was being foolishly optimistic because I was leaving two days later.
The plan cleverly uses the wood called for, and the resulting coop is portable. A gangplank inside can be lowered to give the poultry access to a chicken wire-enclosed area below. (For a somewhat similar portable miniature chicken coop design, check out this Mother Earth News mini-coop design.) I made a few changes to the original plans, but the basic shell was built in one day. Mom has made some changes to it through the years, customizing it for her situation, and it rarely moves from the shady corner of the yard. It’s still in one piece, and currently has two occupants, but it can house more than a dozen chickens. That’s good, because Mom’s getting 12 more in a few weeks.