I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the Easicoop ECO over the last month. The Easicoop range from Chartley Chucks are made from HPL – high pressure laminate – which should last a lifetime. High Pressure Laminate (HPL) is a very hard material that is used within operating theatres, kitchens and bathrooms. HPL is also very easy to clean, hygienic, insect repellent, and bite proof – the last part being important for keeping Mr Fox away.
Coops on the Market
When it comes to coops there are currently two main types that dominate the market; plastic coops from makers such as Omlet and Green Frog, plus the more commonly available wooden coops which are widely available. This new HPL coop really does give another great offering to the market. It comes in at a lower price range than plastic coops, but offers many of the same benefits thereby giving a realistic option for those on a budget.
Review of the Easicoop ECO
The description of the coop – from Chartley Chucks – states that “the ECO model measures 104cm wide x 80cm deep x 88cm high including the 2 nest boxes. The single perch is 90cm long and will accommodate up to 4-6 hybrids sized birds or 8-12 bantams. The LOCKING Chicken Guard pop hole door opening measures 28cm high x 25cm wide and the nest boxes can be assembled on the left or right hand side of the coop.”
I’m very impressed with the Easicoop overall. It comes in at a reasonable price for those who can’t afford the more expensive plastic coops on the market, but offers many of the same benefits. I also agree with the amount of birds that will happily be housed within the coop. Often manufacturers overstate this, but the Easicoop ECO would happily home 4 large fowl – such as Brahmas – or 6 hybrid hens.
Firstly, the construction of this coop was a doddle. It took less than ten minutes due to the unique way it slots together. The coop can be set up with the nesting boxes on either the left or the right hand side and the perch on the opposite side of the coop. The only element of the coop not made from HPL is the perching bar which arrives as untreated wood. Personally we have chosen to treat this with non-toxic stain in order to extend it’s lifespan and to make it easier to clean, but this is not necessary.
I have found the coop very sturdy and well made. It is very dense material, waterproof, heat resistant, resistant to thermal shock (high summer or low winter temperatures), and bite proof to keep predators away at night. It is also attractive to look at in the garden.
Where we live is very exposed with winds tunnelling from the mountains and sea often reaching 60mph gusts. Due to the coop being able to set-up either left or right hand nesting boxes it does mean that there are extra holes in case you chose to set-up the opposite way. In lower areas, and those with less wind and rain, this wouldn’t be a problem at all as it just offers extra ventilation (which is important in a good coop), but for us it did mean some water ingress during the last storm. However, it should be noted this is not a problem for 99% of the UK as our geography here is certainly more wild than most! We’ve easily solved this by re-siting the coop and Jeff at Chartley Chucks is also looking into whether after-market plugs for these holes could be made.
The inclusion of the Chicken Guard pop hole door is fantastic even for those of us who aren’t needing an auto-opener. It is very secure, won’t warp like wooden coop doors, and is simple to both install and to use. Being able to add on an auto-opener is wonderful for those poultry keepers who work longer hours and won’t be home for tuck-up time in the Winter, or those who don’t fancy nipping out at 5am to let the chickens out in the Summer.
Use, Cleaning, and Pests
Once set up the coop is very easy to use and keep clean.
The nest boxes are accessed by lifting the top panel and there is a slit for it to sit in whilst you collect your eggs (or clean the coop). We use newspaper under perch bars and Aubiose hemp bedding in nest boxes, which are easily accessible to clean out and top-up as needed. The major benefit of HPL is it only takes a quick hose down once a week to keep it sparkling and smell free. In the Summer months this is a huge bonus for poultry keepers.
Over time wooden coops require a lot of up-keep ranging from staining to deep pest treatments. Doors, even when properly stained, are prone to warping and more likely to become damaged and require replacement before the rest of the coop. This HPL coop will require no major upkeep, apart from perhaps annual staining of the perching bar (a 5 minute job), which means that you save time on annual chicken chores.
Pests such as red mite can be a problem for poultry keepers, especially so with wooden coops. I have had to burn a coop before to eradicate a red mite problem and I know many other poultry keepers who have had this same issue. The Easicoop can be taken fully apart, thoroughly washed, disinfected, and then put back together all within an hour. This is a big selling point for me. In fact plastic and HPL coops are less likely to even suffer from mites in the first place, so a double whammy with less chance of infestation and then ease of removal should one occur.
Although plastic and HPL coops are not biodegradable at landfill at end of life they will outlive wooden coops many times over, therefore saving money as well as time.
Chickens and Other Poultry?
Although this is marketed for chickens it would very easily be adapted for small water fowl such as runner or call ducks. A small ramp to the door could easily be added and the internal lip to the nesting boxes is low making them easily useable by waterfowl. The perch can just be removed from the slots making it a one level poultry coop. For runner ducks it would house 3-4 ducks and call ducks 5-6.
As always the coop could also be used for small back garden poultry such as quail. The coop would need siting within a secure run with full roof meshing if this were the case to avoid the escape of flight birds.
Overview Pros and Cons of the Easicoop ECO
- Easy to assemble, adaptable, and very low maintenance
- Very easy to clean and to keep pest free
- Long lifespan of up to 50 years. HPL is very dense, waterproof, heat resistant, resistant to thermal shock (with high summer or low winter temperatures), and bite proof
- Sturdy and heavy. I was worried that HPL would be too light weight for our very windy area, however once assembled this coop is sturdy and just the right weight – light enough to move in the run but not so light that it is effected by strong winds.
- Attractive – I’m personally a fan of the wooden coops aesthetically, but the Easicoop comes in a close second and is certainly for me more attractive than many of the fully plastic market options
- Suitable for lower budgets with prices starting from £330
- Possible air-flow/water ingress issues in very exposed areas
- Perch bar will benefit from staining/treatment before use
- Not biodegradable at landfill at end of life
Overall this is a lovely, sturdy coop, that is easy to clean and maintain. It is suitable for those on a budget and especially for those who have experienced mite problems in the past.
To Buy the Easicoop ECO & Other Models
The Easicoop also comes in 3 sizes so whatever your flock size there is a coop to suit:
EASICOOP ECO for 4-6 Hybrid Hens
EASICOOP FARM for 6-8 Hybrid Hens
EASICOOP GOTHIC for 8-10 Hybrid Hens
CHICKEN GUARD Auto-Opener
There are also special offers over at Chartley Chucks for those wanting to buy an Easicoop along with the Chicken Guard auto-opener together.
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