by Jennifer Sartell Photos by author
|Diana made this adorable sign which hangs above the door!|
This month I’d like to take you to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to visit Diana Fendley’s beautiful chicken coop! I must admit, I am a rustic at heart, and when I look through the chicken coop photos that readers submit, I tend to favor the antiqued warm glow of the aged barn wood type coops. But when this little beauty graced through my inbox, I was overtaken. The cottage style, crisp and pretty coziness of “The Peep Hole” make it look as though it just danced out of the pages of a French Countryside children’s picture book, or perhaps a Thomas Kinkade painting.
|Diana painted this to decorate the inside of the run, because every coop needs some art work!|
My favorite thing about this coop is the attention to detail. Diana is a true artist and her coop is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. So much thought, creativity and care have been put into every square inch. The coop is secure, safe, wasp resistant, predator proof, easy to clean, and gorgeous! Diana’s three hen’s, a Rhode Island Red (Cinnamon), Barred Plymouth Rock (Zsa Zsa) and New Hampshire Red (Maggie), are surely lucky to live in such a quaint and comfortable home. Diana got her first chicks in April of 2011 and shares that she lives in the center of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is allowed three hens, but no roosters. I was so glad to hear that Baton Rouge is open to the idea of chickens, even if it is only three! With a coop like this, any city should be proud to have chicken keepers within its borders. Diana writes that her chickens are “pets, who give me wonderful eggs, and are an endless source of entertainment!”
The Dimensions and Details
“The coop/run is 6-1/2 feet long, by 4-1/2 wide, by 6 feet 6-1/2 feet tall at the front, and 6 feet tall at the back. The coop itself is 3 feet by 4-1/2 feet, with the egg box, which projects forward, being 14 inches high in the front and 12 inches at the back, and is 12 inches deep. The lid lifts up to collect the eggs.
|“This is my finished coop. We changed some of the landscaping around it to have a better view from the house. We put the bench out there so that we can enjoy watching the girls.”|
There is a double roof over the coop with a 5 inches gap between the shingled roof and the plywood roof over the coop with a ventilation opening in the center that is 12 inches long by 8 inches wide. All ventilation and openings in the coop part are covered with 1/4 hardware cloth on the outside backed by screen. This is to deter wasps from making a nest in the coop and ventilation area, they are a big problem in the south and I don’t want me or my girls getting stung.
|“The coop framing taking shape. The floor for the coop is put in, and you can see the ventilation gap over at the top over the coop.”|
The entire run is enclosed with 1/4 inch wire mesh. The coop/run sit on a concrete slab to prevent diggers. On top of this is a 3 inch layer of sand on top of which I put pine shavings that I change weekly. I also keep a cat littler scoop hanging in the coop so I can poop scoop in between cleanings, and this works great. I also have nest box curtains over the opening to the nesting boxes and they really seem to enjoy the privacy.
The coop backs up to our fence with about a four foot space between the coop/run and the fence. We had a problem with the late afternoon sun coming in too much, so we put up a lattice work panel that is attached to the back of the coop and to the fence, with shade cloth for an outdoor umbrella on top of this, and we also have a concord grape vine that is being trained to cover the trellis to provide deeper shade. This summer we had to buy a tarp to cover it temporarily because the heat has been so intense and the grape vine hasn’t grown in yet.
We used pressure treated wood for everything. I caulked every seam inside and out of the entire coop/run for a better look and also to prevent “little bug critters” from hiding in there. Then all the wood was painted white, except for the siding of the coop, which I painted a light tan. I also made a small awning over the window on the front of the coop to keep the direct light and heat out.
|“This is the inside of the coop looking out through the chickens door into the run. You can see all the seams have been caulked and the interior painted and the flooring laid (easier to clean).”|
The egg box says “eggs” on the front. I did this by buying the wooden letters at Hobby Lobby, then I painted them white, front and back to seal the wood, then I sealed them with varnish, front and back, and then glued them to the egg box with Gorilla Glue. I have a latch at the top and about 14 inches from the bottom of the entry door, just in case we get a smart raccoon. The clean out door to the coop is 3 -1/2 feet by 3-1/3 feet and has a latch that I lock. You never know how smart some of those wiley little predators can be!“
The Things She Loves!
When asked to share the things she loves about her coop, Diana wrote, “It looks so pretty at the back of my yard and matches the cottage house that we have in the back. It is also easy to clean, and a real conversation piece when friends come over for the first time that haven’t seen it. My grand-kids are fascinated by the coop and the chickens.”
2 Things to Change
Diana’s coop seems so well thought out that I wouldn’t have guessed that there would be anything left to change. But like most chicken enthusiasts, there’s always something that could be different, something to make life a little easier. It is my hope that we can use this section of the interview form to learn from each other, and fix or prevent things that didn’t work out for other chicken keepers. Diana shares that if she had it to do over, she would have liked to “figured out a way to make it larger, especially the run, and would probably have made some type of overhang on the front that would provide more shade, and keep the rain out better.”
When asked to share the one thing that makes her coop unique, Diane answered that The Peep Hole “has a custom awning over the window to the coop that faces the front!” …so adorable!