Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, crafting an eco-friendly chicken coop is a testament to sustainability and a connection with nature. In this article, we’ll explore how to build a low carbon footprint chicken coop while embracing the innovative spirit of the region. By adopting these eco-conscious practices, you can not only enjoy a bountiful supply of eggs but also enrich your garden and reduce your environmental impact.
Size and Security
Size matters, especially when it comes to your chicken coop. The owner of a recent coop-building project in the Pacific Northwest learned this firsthand. Their coop was a tiny kit from China, complete with intriguing features like pullout zinc-coated trays, but everything was falling apart too quickly. They decided it was time to build something more substantial.
Their new coop measures 20 x 20 feet square, with a six-foot square nesting and roosting area. This spacious design offers plenty of room for your feathered friends while allowing you to explore innovative features for their comfort and safety.
Foundation and Security Layers
Begin your project by leveling the ground where the coop and run will stand. Once the ground is ready, use overlapping layers of wire fabric. This added layer of security ensures that even the tiniest rodents or burrowing predators won’t find their way in. On top of the wire fabric, lay 2″ x 12″ x 12″ pavers. These pavers provide extra protection and create a slightly elevated and dry surface for your coop to rest on. The ‘bowl’ formed by the pavers can be filled with topsoil from your property, giving your chickens a delightful area to scratch through.
Eco-Friendly Roof and Framing
The design of your coop can greatly impact its carbon footprint. Opt for a shed-style roof, as it simplifies the roof math and offers a profile that easily matches other structures on your property. To minimize waste and enhance structural integrity, use sustainable materials like cedar for the framing, roof joists, trim, and other key components.
When it comes to the coop’s structure, remember that strength is essential. Use 1/4″ wire fabric to cover the bare walls. This not only offers security but also provides considerable sheer strength to the coop. To create a clean and polished finish, add 1″ x 4″ rough cedar trim over each piece of framing, concealing staples while enhancing structural rigidity.
Coop Features and Functionality
A well-designed coop caters to the chickens’ comfort and ease of use. The coop can be fully enclosed from the run and is equipped with a full-sized screen door made of 1/4″ wire fabric. Once inside, your chickens can explore a cozy space of about 72 square inches.
Nesting boxes line the sides of the coop, making use of repurposed wooden wine boxes for a unique touch. What I take away from it is to look for things you can re-use or upcycle in the chicken coop (Where it makes sense). In the center of the coop, you’ll find two zinc trays (24″ x 72″) designed for expedited cleanup. Above these trays, three oak roosting rods are placed at varying heights, providing a comfortable and secure place for the chickens to roost. The trays can be easily removed without disturbing the chickens, thanks to epoxy-coated cedar frames that ensure durability.
Sustainable Egg Production
With a coop of this size, the 13 fortunate birds will lay approximately 65 eggs a week once they mature. However, this exceeds the needs of 2-3 people. The surplus eggs can be shared with neighbors and family, fostering community connections and sustainability.
Additionally, the waste from the chickens enriches the garden by acting as a natural fertilizer. The garden benefits from nutrient-rich soil, thanks to the chickens’ natural behavior of scratching and foraging. It’s a win-win for both the environment and your table.
Building a low carbon footprint chicken coop in the Pacific Northwest is a journey filled with innovation and eco-friendly practices. By focusing on sustainability, you create a sanctuary for your chickens while reaping the rewards of fresh, abundant eggs. This low-carbon coop enriches your garden, reduces your environmental impact, and contributes to a more sustainable way of living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.