Lousie Fode & her boyfriend designed & built a beautiful 4ft x 4 ft chicken coop from scratch last season, assembling most of it in her garage, then moving it outside to add the final details.
Once it was mostly built, she took a great video tour of the coop, narrating some of its most noteworthy features, like a functional drawbridge to keep her hens in or out of the coop.
The final coop touches
After the coop was moved outside, they stained the wood and added a few more finishing touches before the hens moved in.
They added nesting boxes with a lid that flips up on the porch side, so Louise can be standing on her deck and collect eggs. Talk about farm to table!
“I like having the coop close to the house, even though that’s generally not recommended,” Louise said. “I can access it really easily and it’s close to electricity for their lights and heating in the winter.”
They also added a little board over the water container to prevent poop from falling in (pictured in the photo above on the bottom right corner).
“When my boyfriend helped me build it, he kept trying to make everything look perfect. I would say, ‘oh but honey, chickens are going to poop on it!'” And sure enough, they do. :D
Meet the lucky ladies
Lousie has 3 lovely urban hens, pictured below: George (left), Flower (center) & Marilyn (right).
George is a Cuckoo Maran, Flower (Louise’s favorite!) is a Partridge Rock & Marilyn is a Light Brahma with fluffy feathered feet.
Mixing chickens & small dogs
Louise has two small dogs, who were initially very interested in the new feathered family members.
After spending more time around the hens, the dogs have lost interest in the chickens. It’s now a non-issue in her home – everyone seems to get along just fine, although the dogs aren’t allowed in the yard when the chickens are free ranging.
Notes on the build & future plans
As every backyard chicken owner knows, a coop is never totally done…we all like to tinker and toy with our setups, trying new things here or there!
What has Louise tweaked since the coop tour video?
“I think the biggest challenge has been dealing with their water over the winter,” Louise told me. “I had to create a water heater so that it wouldn’t freeze and that took a few tries to get right.”
Louise also mentioned her plans to build a bigger fenced area around the coop so her hens can spend more free time in the yard, but still feel safe.
Currently, when Louise is outside, she lets the chickens roam around the yard as they please. But if she wants to let her backyard hens play unsupervised, she repurposes her moose-protector garden cages as makeshift chicken tractors (for fear of eagles & other aerial predators).
While her current system seems to work well, assembling a larger fenced area is on her to-do list this summer.
But overall, her Anchorage city hens are happy in their home & excited for Alaska’s grass to start turning green again. :)
Thank you Louise for letting us take a look at your coop – inside and out! Your hens are beautiful and your coop is a mini chicken fortress, deserving of envy from across the land. Thank you for sharing your creativity.
It’s always fun to see how other Alaska urban chicken owners have their flock setup, especially if you’re new to chickens and considering the best way to set up a coop/run based on your unique space.
Larissa in Anchorage also has a cool backyard chicken coop, plus a dog, outdoor cat & children. See Larissa’s urban coop setup here.