This is a straightforward but attractive coop for 6 hens that makes full use of space, Traditional looks combined with modern design for easy maintenance It’s raised above ground level, providing a sheltered run area underneath. This sheltered space is ideal for placing food and water out of the rain.
The optional single or double run will provide plenty of room to keep your birds happy when you’re not about to allow them to free-range safely.
Space & Capacity
This chicken coop has an internal housing area of just over 7 square feet excluding the nest boxes which includes 2 perches giving about 60 inches of perching space.
This would certainly be sufficient for 6 fowl allowed out during the day which is where the optional run system comes into its own.
Design & Construction
Like all their wooden coops it’s made from 12 mm tongue & groove boarding with 35 x 25 mm framing. It’s a rot-resistant, treated softwood but will require further treating to maximise life (see below)
The generous nest boxes are situated on the side and have a separate lid which makes egg collection easy. I’d have preferred the perches to be situated higher relative to the nest boxes but they are correctly located furthest from the pop-hole in the darkest place in the coop.
The pop-hole door is side opening, reached by a climbing ladder.
The coop sits above an integral run that provides a sheltered area ideal for keeping feed out of the rain. It also provides shelter for the birds in rough weather.
Coops that sit directly on the ground will become damp and this can cause premature rot as well as serious health problems. So raising the the coop is a big plus point to look for.
The coop is delivered flat packed with good clear instructions. Even allowing for a tea-break, it shouldn’t take an hour to build. Manufacturing quality is good – holes drilled in the correct place etc. Often a problem with budget coops is poor quality of manufacture. Chicken coops direct have taken a decision that price is important but quality is more so.
Good draft-free ventilation is provided by slits cut high in the body.
Lifespan – How Long Will the Coop Last
All wooden structures will, eventually, rot unless maintained properly. My advice is to treat with 3 good coats of wood preservative prior to construction. OK, this will take a couple of days but it’s well worth it in the long term.
Thereafter, treat the coop annually in the autumn and it will greatly increase the lifespan. Use a quality product like Cuprinol or Ronseal that is pet safe. You can use this as an opportunity to personalise your coop and colour coordinate with other garden furniture, sheds etc.
Things like hinges will benefit from a coating of oil each month or two, 3 in 1 oil or similar is ideal. This will help prevent corrosion.
How long your coop will last you depends on whether you maintain it and how harsh the conditions it is exposed to are. Maintained properly and located in a sheltered spot, I’d expect a minimum life 5 years and 10 to 15 years or more is likely.
Any chicken keeper will agree ease of cleaning is very important and in this area the Chicken Coops Direct are well thought out.
The floor is a removable droppings trays which is always a help with keeping the coop fresh, especially in the summer. Better still, the whole coop easily opens out giving easy access for cleaning inside.
Red mite are the nightmare problem all chicken keepers hit at some point. They hide in any tiny cracks or crevices and any survivors of a deep clean breed like crazy becoming a problem again very quickly.
Monthly use of a mite powder whether you think there’s a problem or not is a good idea. The ease of access makes applying powder easy.
The Chicken Run
The Dorset comes with an optional run that can be fixed to the coop. This gives 30 square feet of roaming space. It can be easily extended, giving a double run. There are doors in the sides and sections of the roof fold back making access to your birds easy.
All the runs come with 1.5 mm gauge protective mesh which is a lot more fox-resistant than the 0.9 mm gauge mesh that is commonly used. Although the run itself is effectively fox proof, if it is to be safely left unattended then a protective anti-digging skirt will need to be provided and the run pegged down firmly.
This is a well thought out, simple coop that offers safe, secure housing for 6 hens at a fair price. List price, at time of writing, is around £170 but it is often on sale. The run comes in around £60 for the single and £120 for the double.
More information, current pricing etc. on the Chicken Coops Direct web site.
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