The Chicken Coop/Palace
During lockdown and struck by a self-sufficient ‘let’s start a small-holding’ bug, we decided to get some chickens. Jeremy fenced off a patch that had been destined for veg and built a fence out of ash saplings from the garden. And then built it up even higher after Bernie did a terrifyingly high jump over barbed wire on a walk (he has a thing for birds). We decided that the chicken coop should resemble our treehouse, so the cladding is local Dartmoor cedar which is scorched to preserve it - the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban method. It has a skylight at the top of the ‘chimney’ to let the chicks know when to wake up, roosting bars inside where they happily bunch up together to sleep and three nesting boxes that haven’t yet seen ANY action - but the chicks are still quite young so we’ll give them time.
The roof is made from split cedar shingles, and the whole coop is raised high off the ground to ensure they have some shelter when it pours, somewhere to have their daily dust bath. But all of these design features pale in comparison to the pulley system Jeremy has installed. At the time I was unconvinced, it all seemed a little over-the-top. But it is GREAT. There’s a wooden handle made from an offcut of scorched walnut and some cherry from the garden on the outside of the fence, and when turned it opens the coop door at the same time as lowering a bowl of food underneath the coop. And then when the door is closed at the end of the day the food bowl is raised up with the floor of the coop creating a lid for it, to keep it safe from any nocturnal visitors…
The coop/chicken palace is home to five chickens. Roosty Roo, Roly, Whitey, Frill-Necked Dinosaur and Rebecca. Yes, they were named by the kids. We are QUITE tempted to start offering them for sale online. The coops that is, not the hens.