In our latest chicken coop review were taking a look at the Large Starter Coop from Kent based supplier, Home and Roost. The British made Large Starter Coop is ideal for those just starting out at chicken keeping or those who have a small number of hens to look after.
What attracted us to Home and Roost, apart from the chicken coops themselves, was the fact that the company has a passionate interest in animal welfare. We think this is important as it means Home and Roost are only going to sell coops which provide good homes for your birds. This is backed up by their 5-star Trustpilot rating, which shows that customers are highly satisfied with their products and the service the company provides.
As you’d expect from a good coop, the timber is of a high quality. It’s made from pre-treated,1.4 cm thick, Scandinavian, tongue and grooved pine. It’s robustly constructed and will resist weathering, though, like all wooden coops, you should give it an annual treatment with animal-friendly wood preservative. The frame for the coop is sturdy and there is strong, closely meshed wire to protect your chickens in the enclosed run.
The coop roof and lid of the nesting box are felt covered to protect them from the elements and this helps extend the longevity of the coop. However, do ensure that if the felt degrades, which it will over time, that it is replaced quickly, as any gap between the felt and the timber is the perfect environment for red mites. (Replacement roof felt is very cheap and easy to fit.)
The coop’s metalwork, i.e., the security barrel bolts and hinges, are made from rust-free, aluminium and should last for the lifetime of the coop.
Size wise, the Large Starter Coop is ideal for two to three good sized hens. If you have larger breeds in mind, like Orpingtons then we would recommend you limit the number to two.
Internally there is ample space for the chickens to roost, together with a well-made perch and a very good sized nesting box which will let more than one bird lay at the same time.
There is adequate ventilation available via the large meshed window in the coop door, which will prevent the build up of noxious and potentially harmful ammonia gasses from the chickens’ droppings. However, it is a large window and in colder or unusually windy weather you may want to stick a bit of board up against part of it to reduce the draft on the chickens – they are not too partial to roosting in a cold draft. If you do this, remember never to fully block off the ventilation, air flow must be maintained at all times in the coop.
Access to the outside is from a pophole and via a sturdy ramp. Externally, there are approximately 3 square metres of space, which is sufficient for three hens to have enough space to exercise and scratch about for insects and grit. As it’s also got a decent height, it’s perfect for adding a few external perches to give the chickens places to sit above ground during the day without having to retreat back into the coop itself.
As the coop is raised from the floor, this will help keep it cool in summer and prevent the cold of the ground affecting the floor in winter. It will also prolong the lifespan of the coop as the underside is unlike to rot from contact with the damp earth underneath.
Security Against Predators
The coop is well designed to prevent predator attacks. Being raised from the floor makes it less susceptible to predators that might try to scratch their way in. As the timber is a decent thickness it will prevent even tenacious foxes attempting to scratch and bite their way through.
The mesh is small enough, 1 x 1/2 inch and galvanised, to stop even smaller predators, such as weasels and stoats, making gaps to get through. As it has a mesh-covered top, there is protection from jumping foxes, climbing predators and flying ones too. The aluminium bolts will prevent foxes being able to open the external doors.
The only weak point, as with most runs, is the chance that foxes or other burrowing predators will dig their way under the mesh to gain access. The best ways to avoid this are to either put your coop on hard standing and then add a decent layer of soil for the hens to scratch in, or dig a one foot deep trench around the perimeter and put a layer of mesh or other barrier underground. However, once your chickens are in the coop itself, during the night, they should be safe, even if a fox gets in the run.
Cleaning and Egg Collecting
The coop has some good features for making cleaning and egg collecting easier. A large door gives you access to the run to sweep it out and to replace food and water and there is a large side door to clean the coop, which can be accessed without the need to enter the run. As the coop is raised off the ground, it means there is less bending to do.
Collecting eggs is a breeze – there is an external lid to the nesting box, simply lift it and the eggs are there for collection.
Length = 2200mm (inc nest box)
Width = 870mm
Height = 1030mm
The Large Starter Coop comes flat packed and is relatively easy to put together and install. No special DIY skills are needed and full instructions are supplied.
At time of publishing, the Large Starter Coop was priced at £169
Overall, the Large Starter Coop is a very good piece of kit. Quality construction, a range of good features for keeping the hens happy and safe, comfortable size inside and out, easy to clean and collect eggs and reasonably priced.
For more information about the Large Starter Coop or to see other chicken coops in their collection, visit Home and Roost