NOTE WELLS POULTRY IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS. THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
This chicken coop review is taking a look at a larger coop, the Sonning Major, by Wells Poultry, for up to 8 hens.
I’ve reviewed one of the smaller Sonning coops before and really liked it, so getting the chance to give one of the larger Sonnings the once over was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. Like its smaller version, the Sonning Major is a traditional looking and attractive coop with a high pitched roof that will make a pleasing centrepiece in anyone’s back garden.
As with all chicken coops made by Wells Poultry, it’s exceptionally sturdy, made from very strong, high quality timber. The frame is solid and the panels are a very good thickness. There’s no way a persistent predator will be able to work its way into this hen house no matter how long it tries scratching its way through. The wood is also pressure treated, which means that the protection penetrates deeper than merely the surface of the wood. This makes the coop have a very high resistance to damp and rot, and provided you keep it treated yourself every couple of years it should last you a very long time indeed. Being raised off the ground also means it’s even less susceptible to weathering and will help your hens from getting too cool or hot in extremes of temperature.
The Sonning Major, however, is much more than just a sturdy coop; it’s also an exceptionally well designed chicken house with lots of features to make your hens healthy, safe and comfortable whilst at the same time providing ease of use for you to clean and collect eggs.
The inside is warm, thanks to the quality of the timber, and has two adjustable perches so that your hens can roost comfortably. They are thick enough to give the hens a comfortable purchase and long enough for them to huddle together for warmth in the colder weather – which is the hens’ preferred method of keeping warm, not too dissimilar to penguins in the Antarctic.
The nesting boxes are large and comfortable and for ease you can put it on either side of the coop. If I were to use it for 8 hens I would purchase two nesting boxes and have one on each side of the coop giving enough space for all the hens to lay in comfort.
Ventilation is an essential requirement in any coop and this coop has created a way of making it draft proof by building a series small vents into the apex of the roof. The covering of the apex prevents water and draft whilst allowing fresh air to circulate and noxious gasses like ammonia and their associated smells be removed. This creates a healthy air supply and at the same time regulates the temperature in the chicken coop.
One thing that all modern coop builders try to incorporate into their design is to make cleaning easy and this coop is no exception. The floor of the coop can be removed completely allowing you to dispose easily of waste and then letting you easily hose it down. In addition, this coop has a removable nest box on one side and large access door on the other meaning that cleaning the inside is literally a breeze, as can be seen in the image.
The Sonning Major can be upgraded to include an automatic door opener. This is a brilliant invention that many chicken keepers are now buying. It can be used on a timer to open and close the pophole door at specific times meaning that you no longer need to get up early to let the hens out. Perfect if you fancy a lie in at the weekends or if you are going away for the night. For £99 it’s well worth it in my opinion.
The Sonning Major chicken house measures: 119cm (L) x 100 cm (W) x 132cm (H) This does not include the nesting box. You need to allow an extra 60cm for the nest box and access to it.
Price: At time of going to press the Sonning Major is priced £390 with free delivery to most of the UK mainland. As these coops are made to order (there’s no mass produced flat packed materials from Well Poultry) there is a 3 – 5 week delivery schedule.
This is a very well made, quality chicken coop for up to 8 hens that has excellent features for keeping your chickens happy, healthy and safe. It’s easy to clean, durable and made to last. You can find cheaper on the market but you won’t get one as well made as this for less. For the price you are getting very good value indeed. Recommended.