A Chicken Coop Fit for a Queen (or Three)

Back in the spring we built a modest chicken tractor for Henrietta, the new, fowl addition to Better Farm. It was a simple enough structure, and a million times better than the cat carrier we were stowing the chicken in after-hours.

Chicken tractors are great because they're mobile, so you can put them directly over ground you want tilled, turned over, and fertilized (thank you, chickens, for your need to scratch, eat, peck, and poop). Their mobility also means they're easy to keep clean. And during the day you can open the main door if you like and let the birds run around free range to their heart's content.

When we added two chickens to Henrietta's roost (there's nothing lonelier than a solitary laying hen), our little makeshift chicken tractor seemed suddenly cramped. Sissy, Scarlet, and Henrietta were bonding in the close quarters for sure, but it was only a matter of time before they'd need a bigger space to call home.

We scoured the Web for weeks searching for fancy chicken coop plans. Then our buddy Rick tipped us off to some designer  "chicken mobile stagecoach tractors", the Web site for which promised the contraptions were simple enough to put together by any skill level.

Sure, we figured, Why not?

The downloadable plans, which could be had for a whopping $34.99, turned out to be 44 pages of roundabout instructions even the big guns at North Country hardware stores had trouble decoding. If people who construct homes, additions, decks, and roofs for a living were having a hard time with a chicken coop, we knew we were in trouble.

But we toiled away anyway; bringing in various brave souls over the course of the last few months to help us out.  Many thanks to Joel DiCaprio, Tyler Howe, Corinne Weiner, Nicole Caldwell, Brian Hines, Cory Flack, and Brian Mockler for their help and support throughout the process.

Photos after the jump!

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.