A fair few months ago we decided to invest into our hens and in consequence in our farm holiday cottage – after all most of our hens’ eggs are included in our thoughtful touches. We bought the girls (and Nevil, the newly named cockerel) a new home. We have tried various wooden, traditional looking coops before and we always arrived at the same conclusion – after a while they leak like a sieve and the red mite love them.
Arrival of Omlet
There are a few sizes we could choose from. When we bought ours, we only had three hens and Nevil but knew that we would be getting some more hens soon (well, as soon as activity crazy families stopped buying hens during lockdown – see my theory on that in On Homemakers.)
The Eglu Cube Chicken coop arrived as a flatpack with extensive instructions. Fairly easy to follow if you start at the beginning. Unfortunately I read the instructions on the actual coop before even glancing at the chicken run manual. Big mistake!
Picture the scene: while yet another storm is making her way to our shores, the wind is picking up and the grass is still soggy from the last drenching rain. A man and a woman are standing over a three piles of plastic and metal (one for the coop, one for the legs and one for the run).
Every time they pick up a flat piece of plastic, the gust of wind changes their desired direction of travel to somewhere else (most often towards the compost heap). But undeterred they plough on. The metal legs, the sides, the roof, the back and front.
It’s time to affix the run. Pass me the instructions, says the woman (the man has no need for instruction manuals). Ok. Oh. No.
Unscrew the roof – both halves, unscrew both sides to make space for the metal mesh. Gust of wind carries one half of the roof to the blackcurrant field. Dogs run after it but fail to retrieve it (rubbish dogs). By now the run is fixed to the front of the coop. Sides go back on. The roof is found and returned where it belongs. Two rain showers later and in fading light, the Eglu coop and run are standing proud, complete with the feeder, water bowl and even a swing for the hens. Scene ends.
Moral of the story: in order to spend less time fumbling around in storm, read ALL instructions first!
We introduced Eglu to Nevil and the girls and they approved. Only one hesitant hen needed help up the ladder – our hens lived in an bungalow before, so they hadn’t encountered stairs before. It took more than few days for them to learn to walk out with shreds of dignity (falling and tumbling down the ladder was their morning wake up call).
Now, a few months down the line, all is well. The Eglu Cube Chicken coop is a breeze to clean, we haven’t had red mite infestation even through the hot weather and the the hens use the space under the coop as shelter from rain and sun (here we also added some tarpaulin to two sides of the run to protect them from prevailing wind). Our chickens have a large area to roam in, so a 2m run has been fine for them as we leave it open and only lock it at night to protect them; if you plan to keep your hens in all the time, you need a larger run.
Our flock is happy, clean and healthy and they reward us with tasty eggs for us and our guests. It has been a real win-win.