Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
When we decided to build a new chicken coop last year, Mark and I went back and forth for days on the design. Our previous coops were built using odds and ends out of the barn, and while they were very cheap to create, the structures were seriously lacking both aesthetically and functionally. You can see what I consider features of the perfect chicken coop here.
Mark wanted our new structure to be a starplate coop, which creates a pentagonal building out of modular lumber using $100 worth of metal brackets (the "star plates"). I was leery of building a non-rectangular structure since Mark and I are far from pros, but I felt like I'd been winning too many battles recently, so I gave in. (Yes, this is how decisions are usually made on our farm.)
We worked hard on the starplate coop last spring, took the summer off so we could focus on the garden, and finished up the basic structure Thursday. The result? It's definitely a beautiful coop and I suspect it will be extremely functional, but the project was tricky in places. You can read my post on the pros and cons of using the starplate system here. Total cost for the starplate coop was about $1,100 for approximately 110 square feet of space, which doesn't include insulation or a floor, but does include the roof and walls.
Would I do it again? No way! Too much blood, sweat, and tears for a chicken coop. Do I love the finished product? Absolutely! Mark and I agreed that it's like a work of art, and we'll get to enjoy its beauty for years to come. And, best of all, Mark let me win the next debate, so the starplate coop will be home to ducks as well as chickens this year. Woo-hoo!