Finding the right chicken coop

The first thing I thought when I heard I had got my allotment was “CHICKENS!!” my brain was screaming it at the top of it’s metaphorical lungs.

I’ve always loved chickens, from a young girl. I think they’re very sweet looking creatures and I love the sounds they make.

Full disclosure – I used to be a vegetarian for a few years as I always thought “If you’re not willing to kill an animal yourself, you shouldn’t eat it” which I still think is a good point.. but I really enjoy a bit of bacon on a Sunday morning – so now I’m your regular omnivore. However! My chickens are going to have names when they arrive (Betty, Agnes and Mary-Lou in case you were wondering) and they will be pets for egg rearing purposes ONLY.

Anyway, onto the point of this post.

Our allotment is in quite a built up, suburban area where foxes and rodents are strife! Our allotment backs onto a railway track and I’ve no doubt that when I get my girls – the local wildlife will think they’ve hit the jackpot!

So, I’ve spent a couple of weeks frantically researching online an affordable chicken coop and run that will keep my girls safe but also give them a bit of room to dig and forrage.

Below you can find some comments of the chicken coops and runs I considered, why I didn’t choose them and also I’ll try and include some links to some third party reviews that can help you make your own decision (I’d be apprehensive to just trust the website’s own reviews – they tend to pick and choose the “good ones” and won’t show you the other side.

I’m an amazon addict, so when I realised I could have chickens – where do you think I went?

coop 1

Dorchester chicken coop

This Pets Imperial Dorchester Chicken Coop was the first on my list as it was aesthetically pleasing and easy on the wallet! (£174.97 at time of purchase! + £24.99 P&P) It looked good but only big enough for 2- 3 small birds. I knew I wanted three average size birds, so I was looking for a bigger coop. It also had no reviews on Amazon – so I looked at other Pets Imperial products which mentioned it was a bit “flimsy”. I’m also not going to be able to let my chickens free range so wanted a decent length run that I could add to at a later date.

coop 2

Kingsbourne Chicken Coop

I had another Imperial house on my list to look at – the Large Kingsbourne Chicken Coop which claims it can accomodate up to 5 birds “comfortably”. It was super cheap at the time at £114.97 + £20.97 postage. Again – I will always read the reviews first! It had one 3 star review, saying the run is barely big enough for one bird once you put a feeder/drinker in. Well that one quickly came off my list!

When you search “chicken coop and run” in google – one of the top pages is Omelet. I have to say, the coops look quite snazzy and I’ve seen a lot of people saying they’re good quality. My only problem was my purse strings… as small coops/runs start from about £329 and personall, I think you need additional runs as they are quite small (perhaps more ideal for free range chickens?)

The Omelet coops are made of plastic so are easy to clean and some of them even come on wheels! They come in various colours and you can adjust the run length to suit you.

I also spent a lot of time looking at Cocoon chicken coops. On the surface they looked great! They came in so many shapes, sizes and designs and all the reviews on the site under the “Testimonials” section looked amazing.

Cocoon

Cocoon chicken coops

I however realised they were obviously going to be picking and choosing their reviews and only including the good ones. So I had a search around and found some comments on forums about how they were “cheap imports” and fell apart quite easily. With further research, more and more people confirmed how the wood is flimsy and warps very easily.

I still kept the cocoon coops on the back burner, as they were cheap and the “bad reviews” were from 2010.

This whole time – I probably knew that the coop I was going to get would be this beauty… but I wanted to do some research to make sure.

Devon-Double1

Devon with Double Run

This is the Devon Double run from chickencoopsdirect. This site seems to be well renowned for “high quality, affordable chicken coops”. I always had a tab open with this on it whilst I was looking around. The site looks good and professional (unlike the cocoon site – which I thought looked a bit suspect!) and the photos were clear and lovely. The wood comes treated, but they recommend you coat it with something like Cuprinol. This coop in particulat is recommended for 6-7 medium sized chickens – so I was confident my 3 would be fine. You can also buy extra runs at a later date to add on. As a bonus, this particular model could also be fitted with an automatic door opener incase you were spending the night away etc.

The Decon Double run at time of purchase was £329 with either £13 or £18 postage (standard vs express). At checkout you also get offered a starter kit with grit, feed, a drinker and feeder with some bedding. There’s also an upgrade where you can get disinfectant and some mite powder.

Overall, this has been my favourite “budget” coop that I found and I’m looking forward to taking delivery!

I am yet to receive my chicken coop yet, so I will update you all when it does arrive with a new post about how I customised it, added further security and my own personal opinion of its quality.

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