You know that backyard chicken keeping has gone mainstream when national newspapers feature a consumer guide on what to look for in a chicken coop. From video instructionals on how to build a chicken coop to the ultra-trendy Omlet, aka "the iPod of chicken houses", we've certainly seen a fair few options ourselves. But now poultry expert Andy Cawthray gives a detailed rundown of what to look for in a chicken coop over at The Guardian, including an impassioned rant against cheap and badly designed hen houses:
More often than not these mass produced models are constructed of fast grown timber - come the first drop of rain they swell, leaving you either barricading a door that won't close, or ripping the door furniture off in a vain attempt to release the squawking inhabitants. The first warm day means the timber dries and cracks, the felt roof bubbles and boils, and come nightfall the hens refuse to go in. This is not due to their disappointment at the decline of their once attractive property but because the hovel is now a haven for, and probably crawling with, the poultry keeper's nemesis, red mite. Add on the fact that it said on the blurb that it would suit four large hens when that stocking density was based on the Circle Line at 5pm on a Friday, and what are you left with? A couple of hinges and some kindling.