I decided 2021 was the year I was finally getting chickens. I've been wanting to get hens ever since I moved into my place in 2017. I am not new to chickens and know what it takes to get them properly established. This year, I finally decided it was time to make it a priority.
Originally, I had envisioned building a chicken coop from scratch but the more I researched YouTube and cross-referenced kits from Tractor Supply, the more I decided that a coop kit was the best way forward for me. I only want to raise a few hens so there was no need to go full tilt boogie on a chicken house especially given the cost of lumber during COVID times.
After wrestling with the cost, I finally pulled the trigger on a Precision Xl Superior Construction Annex Coop. Shipping was only $59 which was about $50 less than the price I recently paid to have some shelves for my 3D printers delivered. You can get free delivery to your local store but I don't have a truck and without one, I am not sure how we would have transported the huge box that was delivered back to our house.
Also, no matter how many hens Tractor Supply tells you can fit in this coop, I would say four hens is the max. I think they advertise 8 to 10 but I would never put that many hens in this coop.
A semi-truck showed up at our place on Thursday which was a week later than the original date Tractor Supply had provided. Since the driver didn't want to drive up our driveway, he tied a tow strap to our Jane Deere and I was able to tow his hand truck up our driveway. The box probably weighed around 250lbs or more.
I quickly unloaded the box before the rain came in and was surprised at how assembled all the parts were. There are about 40 screws to put the entire thing together and that's it. I only found one broken part that I glued and clamped overnight. Another part was also cracked but went back together during assembly. I actually thought there would be more broken parts but things were in surprisingly good shape upon arrival.
The next day I jumped to it with a battery powered drill. This coop kit is so easy to assemble it's almost wrong. Every hole lined up. The directions were easy to read. There were pegs where pieces needed to fit together which made it possible to assemble the entire thing without any help at all. I did have my husband help me move the house part of the coop since I wasn't smart enough to build it where I actually wanted it to be. It's heavier than you think once it starts to go together and, even though I could have dragged it, the parts would have been put under too much stress and I think it would have busted something. Picking it up and moving it with the help of another person is definitely the way to go.
After I finished putting it all together, I decided that I didn't want it to sit directly on the ground. My husband and I made a quick trip to Home Depot and bought three 10' x 4" x 2" pressure treated boards that we cut to build a base for the coop to sit on. I think this will help the coop to last a little longer and will hopefully keep it from warping or bending in ways that would impede the function of the coop doors. I had watched a video from someone whose only complaint was that he wished he had set it on a base for this reason.
I'm so excited about finally getting this done! I'll post some updates when I get my chicks and continue to settle into the whole process. Things I love about this coop besides how painless it was to put together are:
-the slide-out drawer to keep the coop clean;
-three laying beds with a flap down door in the back to get to the eggs;
-a full-size door to walk into the pen so I can close the ramp door at night;
-and an additional door in the run I can open to let the chickens out in the yard.
I can, so far, recommend this coop to anyone who wants to add a few hens to their yard as long as they are okay with letting their chickens out into the main yard to run around. The fenced area is not enough to keep them permanently, in my opinion.