Chicken Coop Installation
We get excited about the quality and taste of freshly harvested eggs.
The subtle sounds that hens make when excitedly eating greens from the garden, the dark yellow yolk of an egg cracked onto a hot, buttered pan, the joy of seeing your flock roosting close together on a cold night; Owning chickens is more of a lifestyle choice than a chore.
We want to foster a connection that once used to be the norm; we want to reconnect you and your family with the food that you eat. We think this relationship is healthy and exciting. Experiencing sustainability first hand is satisfying and if you have children, they’ll love taking care of their new hen companions.
Think of our coop as a chicken mansion. HomeHarvest coops are easy to clean, have abundant floor space and are predator proof. Our attractive designs can be personalized to complement your landscape and sense of aesthetic.
Coyotes, hawks, rats and raccoons often pose problems when tending chickens and this is the largest oversight with other coops on the market. Through clever design and methodical installation, we can insure that your hens remain safe. To guarantee the exclusion of predators, we surround our coops with heavy-duty hardware cloth, buried in a trench.
Cost and Additional Features
Our classic package, which includes complete installation of the coop, starts at $4,300 (a 6’x10’ coop that accommodates up to 8 hens). Additional features can include lighting and heating, attached trellises, compost bins, storage areas and more. We want to work with you to integrate the coop into your landscape in a way that is both functional and beautiful. We also offer a more cost-effective coop option, starting at $2,500.
Maintenance and Care
- Harvesting eggs every day
- Feeding and watering
- Bedding (leaves, hay, sawdust)
You can expect to spend about five minutes each day tending to your flock. To maintain healthy chickens and high quality eggs, we recommend feeding layer pellets, kitchen scraps whenever available, kelp and selective garden weeds. Preventing odor is as simple as adding wood chips, sawdust, leaves, or hay to the floor every so often, and cleaning out the coop throughout the warmer months. Simply rake the manure and bedding into a compost bin and in a few months you can apply the rich, fertile compost to your garden.
Your Sustainable Property
Our goal is vibrant biodiversity, remarkably healthy soil, and abundant harvests of nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables and eggs.
Upon purchasing a HomeHarvest chicken coop, weeds, food scraps, and bugs become food for your new hens. On-site leaves become coop bedding and then compost for your garden. Excess greens and vegetables from your garden will feed your chickens and then go back to the garden as compost. Your coop can function as a garden trellis and support the growth of beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and flowers. HomeHarvest coops are designed to be harmonious in the landscape and improve the overall health of your garden and family.
Will my coop smell?
Chicken manure by itself can smell, however it can easily managed in such a way that the coop is odorless. Chicken manure especially is very nitrogen-rich and needs to be balanced with carbonaceous material (bedding) such as hay, straw, dried leaves, wood chips and sawdust. The occasional sprinkling of these bedding materials over the manure on the ground will help control the smell dramatically. During the warmer months, the manure and bedding can be raked and added to a compost bin to further decompose. Bedding can be added to the floor throughout the winter without the need for cleaning and in the spring, it should all be composted.
How can I make compost out of the chicken manure?
Compost is an invaluable soil amendment, which provides plant nutrients and increases the soil’s stability, water and nutrient-holding capacity. The art of making quality compost has a lot to do with the carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) of the inputs you decide to add. Nitrogen inputs include chicken manure, green plant material such as grass clippings and food scraps. Layer the nitrogen-rich materials with carbonaceous materials such as hay, straw, dried leaves, wood chips and sawdust. If the pile has a C:N too high in nitrogen, it will begin to smell; carbonaceous materials need to be incorporated. If the pile has too much carbon, decomposition will occur too slowly or not at all. Striking the proper balance is crucial and will take some time and experience to master! When managed correctly, the pile should heat up, killing off potentially harmful pathogens from the manure.
The more material added at once, the faster and hotter the decomposition. The material added which is smaller and ground up (such as grass clippings) will decompose faster. Ideally, the pile should be slightly moist throughout the whole process. Although not always necessary, the pile should be manually aerated about once a month to encourage airflow. When the compost has completely cooled down and the inputs are no longer recognizable, the compost is ready to be applied to your garden. It should look like dark, healthy soil and smell pleasant and earthy. Ideally, the compost is applied about two weeks before planting. The process can take as little as one month, however it usually takes 3-6 months depending on skill and the amount of material added at once.
A few tips to composting:
- Locate your bin closed to the coop or garden for to facilitate applications.
- If there are nearby trees, avoid letting the bin come in contact with the ground, as near by trees may invade your compost.
- During the layering of carbon and nitrogen materials, add some finished compost or topsoil to encourage faster decomposition.
- Microorganisms are responsible for the composting process. Composting over winter takes significantly longer as microorganisms are dormant and do not actively decompose under 40 degrees F.
- Composting is an aerobic process; keep a garden fork nearby to manually aerate the pile every so often when you add new material.
Will predators be a problem?
If you keep your hens inside the coop at all times, predators will not be a problem. We surround our coops with heavy-duty hardware cloth, insuring your hens’ safety. Raccoons have been known to climb and open latches, so adding a carabineer to the latch, preventing raccoon entry, is not a bad idea. If you let your chickens out of the coop to free range, there is some risk of hawks, coyotes, or other predators.
Where can I get mature, laying hens?
Many egg farms sell mature hens for about $10-20/hen. Craigslist is sometimes a good source of laying hens and many chicken farms sell them as well. The advantage to buying mature hens is the instant gratification one gets from buying a coop and immediately having hens that lay eggs.
How can I raise my own chicks and how long until they start to lay eggs?
Raising chicks is a fun process for the whole family! It will take about 6-8 months for the chicks to be mature enough to lay eggs. Oddly enough, the chicks can be purchased from numerous websites and actually arrive in the mail. They’ll require protection, special food made for chicks, and a heat lamp during the first weeks.
How long will chickens produce eggs for? How long will they live?
Once chickens begin to lay eggs, they will be in prime production for about two-three years. After this time, their productivity will slowly diminish. Backyard chickens can live up to 20 years, however a life span of 8-10 years is more common.
What kinds of hens are best suited for our climate?
Chantecler, Buckeyes, Wynandottes, Delaware, Faverolles and Dominiques are a few cold hardy breeds. On exceptionally cold nights, applying petroleum jelly to the combs of you hens can prevent frostbite.
Do I need to heat the coop in the winter?
This question depends on whether your hens are cold-hardy varieties or not. Some varieties of hens are adapted to survive in the winter with no additional heat. Other varieties may be susceptible to frostbite. Water will need to be kept warm, however, to prevent freezing. This can be as simple as purchasing a water heating device made for chickens.
How can I promote steady egg laying in the winter?
Egg laying production typically slows down in the winter. Setting up a light on a timer (for a few hours in the morning) simulates the sun and encourages winter production.
Can my kids play with the chickens? Are they aggressive?
The personality of chickens is affected by variety as well as past management history. Many chickens are docile, friendly, and can be picked up and played with, however caution should be exercised when handling them as they can bite and scratch when upset; in this respect they are similar to cats. Some varieties of hens are more people-friendly than others.
Can I let my chickens out of their coop during the day?
Some chicken owners want their hens to enjoy the backyard, eat bugs and explore the property. This can work out fine, however your birds will be susceptible to predators, especially hawks. Hens also may try to scratch up, eat or damage some of your plants. If you decide to let your birds out, try to be present and make sure they are safe and not causing trouble. To avoid disappointment and still achieve the ‘free-range’ benefits, we recommend a moveable coop or electric net to keep the birds safe and target their ranging area. The hens should not be allowed out of the coop at night or during twilight hours, as this is when predators are most active.
Are chickens noisy?
Roosters are noisy whereas most hens are relatively quiet. Hens generally make subtle ‘cheeping’ sounds during the day and are usually quiet at night.
What are the legal regulations regarding having chicken coops in a suburban area?
Each town has its own set of regulations and some towns actually outlaw keeping chickens. For the towns that allow keeping chickens, generally, up to six are allowed and roosters are almost always not permitted. Some towns require a minimum square footage of floor space per bird; our coops conform to these types of requirements. Some towns require a buffer zone between the coop and property line. Some towns require neighbor’s consent, a coop design, cleaning schedule and visit by a town official. Some towns are very rigid where as some are lenient. Understanding your local laws for keeping chickens should be a first step when considering an investment in a coop.