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Chicken Coop Tour – Downton Eggy

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Chicken coop tour of an adorable homemade coop full of charm and built with salvaged materials. This cute chicken coop has so much personality.

chicken coop

My father-in-law dubbed this the Taj Mahal of chicken coops.  I wouldn’t go that far (I’ve seen a chicken coop with a chandelier in it), but I love it with all my heart.

We could have gone simpler.  We could have gone cheaper.  But, good golly, we did not.  As a result, the coop has been formally named, Downton Eggy.

We live in a neighborhood with very small lots. I live on less than one-fifth of an acre. Since the houses are so close together, many various neighbors would have this coop in very close proximity to them.  Also, our town doesn’t have any laws about chickens, and I didn’t want to put up something that would cause them to create some!  Basically, I wanted this to be visually pleasing, and neighbor approved.

Also?  I wanted to be able to stand up in this thing.  I’m 6 ft tall and didn’t want to be stooped when cleaning.

The chicken coop is based on this design, and we stayed pretty true to it. The original link has better building step by step photos.

chicken coop

chicken coop
chicken coop

chicken coop

chicken coop
chicken coop
chicken coop
After what seemed like months (because it was months), the coop was done. Please come in!
chicken coop
chicken coop

Troy found a piece of free plexiglass and built an egg window.

chicken coop

He pulled a rock from the weeds in the side yard, and added it to the coop for a chicken “zen garden”.

chicken coop

Instead of spending time digging a trench to bury hardware cloth around the coop to prevent predators from tunneling, we got smart and just laid it across the floor and attached it to the floor beams.  Troy used an air compressor to do all the stapling and said that if a raccoon can pull those staples out, he deserves to eat a chicken.  Ahem.

The floor is sand so that I can just rake it to clean up the poop.  Kind of like a giant litter box.  We are in a rainy area, so the idea of sand was appealing as it drains well and fast! Update 2017: We have since added a “deep litter bed” method to the coop floor with a mix of white shavings (cedar isn’t safe for chickens) and straw. It all sits on a base layer of sand.

chicken coop

The paint is leftover green from Jack’s room, mixed with leftover white from god knows where.  The stain on the beams is leftover from when we stained the deck last summer.  Almost all the latches, hooks, and hardware was free, thanks to my dumpster diving spouse.  Many of these things came from movie and TV sets in Los Angeles, back when we lived there and Troy worked on various projects.  At the end of each production, the odds and ends would be thrown out.  Troy was always happy to take them instead of letting them be put in the trash.

chicken coop

Total cost?  I have no idea.  Probably about $600ish.  I’ve been saving my garden budget money ($30 a month), and I used every rebate we’ve received in the last year.  This is the coop that contacts, fridges, and energy upgrades built.  The most expensive items were the hardware cloth and the gutter system that Troy really wanted.  All the work was done by Troy and my father-in-law.

Chicken Details
I started out wanting mainly Buff Orpingtons, but I ended up with only one.  Due to Troy’s allergies to anything adorable and covered in fur or feathers, we couldn’t do a brooder with baby chicks (boo).  I found a local farm that raised their chickens organically and had coop-ready pullets for sale.  You just had to roll the dice that they had something you wanted.

What I got was one Buff, and five Golden Star (two of those goldens are gingers, i.e., redder goldens).  The two breeds are known for their friendliness, and the Stars are egg laying machines.  All my girls are about 10 weeks old and should start laying in about two to three months.

They’ve yet to realize there is a nesting and roosting area in the coop, and they sleep in a little pile of chickens on the floor in the corner.  Silly birds.

chicken coop

Roosts built with the handles of old brooms that Troy found.

Shall we meet the ladies?
In a rookie move, last year we told Jack he could name two of them.  Really, giving carte blanche to a (then) three year old was pretty stupid.  Two that he named: Poo Poo Sandwiches and A Chicken Knocks on a Door, whaaaaaaaaaa?. We also have:

  • Yolk-o Bock Bock, thanks to my friend’s nine and six-year-olds
  • Grandpa Chook. I fell in love with the book The Power of One earlier this year.
  • (Hold me) Troy named one chicken Egg Shen after a character in Big Trouble, Little China.
  • Thanks to a reader’s suggestion, one is named Mother Clucker:

chicken coop

The chicken coop was a two-year dream for me and took months to complete because of Troy’s crappy work schedule, but it was so worth the wait.  I’m so pleased and overwhelmed to finally be a chicken owner. They provide us with eggs, compost, and so much entertainment.


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33 comments on “Chicken Coop Tour – Downton Eggy”

  1. Truly egg-cellent name for your new coop. Congratulations!

  2. I love the book The Power of One! Actually I haven’t read it in a really long time… maybe that would be a good book to revisit this summer. Your coop is gorgeous. I’m very jealous, but I just keep telling myself I don’t have time to deal with chickens right now.

  3. love the coop and love the chickens!!!

  4. That’s awesome! I’m sure we’ll get plenty of fresh-egg recipes in the future. Love the name of the ladies too. Who needs normalcy when you have kids?

  5. This is really great! I’m sure, deep in your heart, you knew there’d be poop involved.

    Good luck!

  6. So adorable! The coop and the chickens!

    I wish I could have chickens but it is against our city policy. 🙁

  7. I’m pretty sure you should name your last chicken after me. So you’ll always remember me.

  8. love the coop name and all the chicks name…. coupe-de villa for sure!

  9. Just a thought–I know there can be really nasty cold weather there–what are you going to do for that?

    • On average, my zone gets about 1-2 weeks of cold weather a year (about 15-20 degrees). The rest of the time, it’s pretty moderate. Chickens are cold hardy, but for the really cold nights, we’ll likely run a heat lamp out there. We don’t have midwest or east coast “cold”.

  10. LOVE the names!!!! bwahahaha!

  11. I have to say that its not the Taj Mahal…. I have the Taj Mahal in my yard. 12x12x12 solid as fort knox BIG chicken coop. (But I also have 29 birds) But I LOVE IT!!!!! The egg window is to die! I’m excited for you. I remember when mine was finished. Once your girls figure out thats their home, they will love it too. Congrats and good luck.

  12. How about “Little Miss Priss” for the name of the last one? Congratulations on the completion of your chicken coop!! You are going to be one happy camper when they start producing those delicious fresh eggs. What a lot of people don’t understand that once you go fresh it’s not very tasty to go back to store bought eggs. Happy Mother’s Day!!

  13. I want chickens of my own! I just actually did a post on why to buy farm fresh eggs rather than store bought conventional.
    No chickens for me at the moment, I don’t think they would like my college dorm room 🙁

  14. I would say name the one nameless one, Henrietta-Hen.

  15. I’m sure you have all of the resources covered, but just wanted to share that supplementing your chickens’ feed with flax seed makes for REALLY tasty eggs with the added omega-3s!

  16. Name her A Scrambled Mess… Your coop is wonderful! I wish I had time between my two jobs and hobbies to tackle something like that.

    • Troy is the one who had to find time between his two jobs – I didn’t do a darn thing. However, because he is gone so much, I pretty much don’t allow him to have hobbies.


  17. Just a tip from experience, paint or laminate the boards that the chickens will roost above or stand upon. We did not do this and it was a PAIN because poop became caked on the exposed wood, no matter how often we cleaned. Laminate tiles is the best that I’ve seen becasue you can just spray it or sweep it.

    • There is some linoleum down that was leftover from our bathroom remodel in 2011. There are shaving on top of that, so I think it should work. Fingers crossed!

      Thanks for the tip!

  18. Fabulous coop! Enjoy it every day.
    I can’t believe you have neighbors so close and are allowed to have a coop. Good for you! Maybe you have crunchy neighbors? ;0)

  19. Oh my gosh, those names are hilarious! I let my 3 year old nephew name one of our new chicks and he chose “Cheddie.” Much more tame than poo poo sandwiches haha!

    The new coop looks awesome. You really did a great job on it. Congrats on the coop and congrats on being a new chicken keeper! I have been keeping chickens for almost 4 years now and I adore them.

  20. You guys did a great job. My best laying hen is named Rocky so their names seem to not affect egg production. Come back and link up again on the From the Farm Hop.
    Elaine @

  21. This looks awesome! Thanks for coming by to share with us at the From the Farm Blog Hop !
    Fresh Eggs Daily

  22. Loved your fun and interesting post! 🙂

  23. This is so inspiring! I’ve had a shed-turned-chicken coop in the works for literally years – maybe this’ll be the year. 🙂 I especially like your tip for lining the run with wire instead of digging trenches.

  24. What a gorgeous coop! Love the Zen garden aspect 🙂

  25. Cool! I wish the city we lived in allow chickens.
    Thanks so much for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist. Hope to see you again this week!

  26. So your chickens aren’t going to have access to grass? They won’t technically be pastured eggs and therefore not as nutritious…Any plans to give them access to more outside areas?
    But awesome coop and I’m super excited for you guys. We love our chickens. There’s always “chicken TV” to watch. Our cats are cute but we keep warning them that unless they start laying eggs we might have to get rid of them 😉

    • Every night that the weather is nice, I let them out for about an hour while I’m working in the garden. They’re eating grass, weeds, etc. while I’m working.

      I also give them greens from around the garden like swiss chard that has bolted, etc.

      Think the cats will catch on soon? ;-D