The Cutest Chicken Coop Ever



I met the people who make these coops at the IGC Show in Chicago earlier this year. They had a few different models with them, so I got to kick the tires and poke around inside. These are made in Grass Valley, California, by a couple of nice people who know how to build things with tools.  In an era of every-damn-thing-is-made-in-China, cute chicken coops still seem to be a homegrown industry.

This one costs $580.  That may sound like a lot–I mean, the chickens themselves are only $3 each at your local feed store as baby chicks–and you've probably never spent $580 to house the cat or the dog you picked up from the shelter. But unless you're super-handy with tools, I guarantee you that you will EVENTUALLY spend this much on construction, false starts, foolish errors (Oh, the door should open out, not in?  Huh.), repairs, repeated trips to the hardware store, etc.

There are many more models available at Creative Coops, and expansion kits let you increase the size of your operation.  Now, keep in mind that while your hens will be content scratching around in this little patch of grass for a while, they don't want to live their lives there.  You want to give them some space to roam around.  My hens are going through an unpleasant re-arranging of the pecking order right now, and the fact that they can retreat to their own corners of the yard from time to time makes life much easier on everyone. (You might also decide they need more space to get at their food and water than this offers, although there is room for each.)

Also–when this little house is locked up tight, the hens are safe from predators.  But when the drawbridge is down, so they can get in and out, remember that a determined critter could tunnel underneath.  That's probably only going to happen at night, so the point is that you need to go out there and lock them up every night–or secure this thing from all sides, including underneath.

It's a great design, though–very well-thought out and chicken-friendly.  The wheels make it incredibly easy to move the thing even a couple feet so the lawn gets picked at and fertilized but not destroyed. And just imagine the fabulous colors you could paint that little house!


  1. The movability of the coop is fun. They get to scratch up new earth each day and save the yard by have a daily relocation. Hope the chickens get a little freedom though, it does look small.

  2. Trade mags for IGC promote heirloom tomato seeds in their editorials. Lovely.

    All sorts of trends whiz by. Things to make money & treat an industry with intellect.

    Chicken Coop’s, another example of my client’s not needing an IGC for their landscape. For a chicken coop they’re referred to a feed/seed or we custom build.

    Trade mag editorials want IGC’s “selling the sizzle”, for outdoor rooms with their newest columnist, wonderful Aussie, Jamie Durie. He has monetized the outdoors.

    Hmm. I send my landscape design clients to: TJMAXX, Marshall’s, Ross, thrift stores, garage sales, Scott Antique Market, Craigslist, estate sales. A bulk landscape materials center for stone, sand, grit, mulches, soils. Box stores for power tools, ladders, lighting & sale plants. Ace Hardware for hand tools & Benjamin Moore Paints. On-line for custom shutters. My interior decorator for window treatments.

    2 of my wholesalers, with the bad economy, are selling retail; I refer them.

    For installations my contractor sources wholesale plants from: GA, FL, TN, & AL. IGC’s give so little discount to contractors they’ve lost my business. I source exterior decorating from the above list & the Merchandise Mart.

    Creating fabulous landscapes, affordably.


    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. As someone who grew up on a farm, I really enjoy the renewed interest in chickens. To mean they are not a novelty but a major chore. That being said, I know people are only keep a few so the idea of moving the hen house around to keep the coop area clean is a stroke of genius.

  4. Everytime I mention the urban chicken thing to my rural farmer friends they either snicker or get a weird expression on their face. Both reactions indicating “are these city slickers nuts? or have they any clue what they are getting into?”

  5. I got an A frame chicken tractor, also called a chicken ark, in June. Mine was built by a local guy (My ex husband got the tools in the divorce). I move it every day. I let the girls out to free range for a couple of hours or so most days. I was letting them free range all day, but then I had to chase a bald eagle around the yard in my bathrobe to get it to drop my favorite little red hen. She recovered nicely, thank you, but now I’m only comfortable letting them out when I’m home. I clean the top coop once a week. The bedding goes straight into my compost bin. I’m enjoying having chickens. They each have their own personality. A small flock is not that much work. I’m enjoying the eggs, too.

    One of my local IGCs had a small coop with chickens, and information about chicken keeping this year. Seattle Tilth and the city of Seattle have been promoting backyard farming.

    The backyardchicken forum has lots of information and advice on keeping chickens and building coops.

    I’m going to go collect eggs now.

  6. It came down to chickens or bees, and I chose bees (less likely to drive the dog crazy, and we have coyotes and bobcats in our hood) but now I”m reconsidering…. that is pretty darn cute.

    But isn’t it heavy to move around??

  7. ok, so i’ve had chickens for years, and always thought someone should invent a solar powered timer that operates a “thingy” that could close a small door at dusk after the birds went in, vice versa in the morning. Whaddyathink?? Is it out there? If not, give me credit!!!!

  8. There are automated timer doors for chicken coops. I don’t think they’re solar powered, but maybe you could rig something up.

  9. Growing up on a farm, I hated the chicken coop the most, and those old hens were SO mean, but that’s so cute, I can almost picture keeping a few hens, and I love the wheels. Very nice post.

  10. I am so glad there was a hen house in back of house when we moved here. I think it might have been even less decripit that the house, and although it has aged, and needs to have the roof re-tarred, it has housed my flocks of layers and roasters for 30 years. Of course not everyone is so lucky, and this looks like a great deal for one of the newly trendy backyard flocks of layers.

  11. I went and looked at the others that they had to offer and all of them look great. I know that building them takes some work and I do not have the extra time to do it. I am thinking about buying the one that rolls around to different parts of my yard. Great article.

  12. After 20 years of yearning for a small flock of backyard chickens, I finally convinced my husband to say yes. We have 6 beautiful hens in a small, locally-built house and run. To the former farm kids who hated dealing with the chicken coop, I can only say that a few girls in a backyard coop is a whole ‘nother story. Each hen has a personality and a small setup is not much work or bother. The eggs are amazing. (Yesterday my 6 hens laid 7 eggs!!!) And the entertainment value is beyond anything I ever anticipated.

    My setup was somewhat spendy, similar to the one in your photo, though quite a bit larger and not mobile, but I rationalize the cost two ways. First, now that I have it built, I won’t have any further costs except feed and bedding, and the structure should last as long as my house, ie longer than me. Secondly, although I could have built something for a lot less money, it would have looked like crap, fallen apart in months and made me unhappy every time I looked upon it. I see the chickens as a vital, lively and cheery addition to my organic, ‘backyard farm’ garden, and their house as a nicely-made and decorative garden structure. When I get it painted with a cool design (it is currently plain old barn red) next spring it might even qualify as garden art.

  13. When I got my little chicken ark a few months ago, I was so worried that predators would try to dig underneath when it was closed up at night. I put a double row of bricks around the whole perimeter just to make it harder. Haven’t noticed any attempts at digging yet — now I just worry about forgetting to close it up at night!

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