New coop in the works at the farm

The farm staff have been working hard on the new coop. It's not done yet, but it will be a great new home for our flock of chickens
The farm staff have been working hard on the new coop. It’s very close to being done, and it will be a great new home for our flock of chickens.

The chickens are getting a new home at the farm…in the Harwood Barn as a matter of fact.

Raising chickens is tricky dice here at Merck Forest.

Well, raising chickens may not be, but figuring out which type of coop works best is a true challenge. We like our chickens to have mobility, to be able to move around and peck and graze where they can find food–this might mean that a flock of chickens would do well in a coop that can be rotated through the pastures.

But a coop that can be easily moved also must be able to withstand the winds, which, on this mountain top farm, are frequent and can be strong. Structures that are not well-built don’t often last for a long time.

Old coop setup in pasture. New coop will be in the Harwood Barn.
Old coop setup in pasture. New coop is in the Harwood Barn will be much easier to keep warm than the above structure.

Plus, with the winter winds, a stand-alone coop can be difficult to keep warm (imagine 20 chickens fluffed up, perched above their nest boxes with a heat lamp for warmth. The electricity for the heat lamp would come from an extension cord pulled across the pasture–not very practical).

With these considerations in mind, the chickens are moving into an underused room in the Harwood Barn.

The new coop is still under construction. Emily created an awesome perch for the chickens.
The new coop when still under construction. Emily created an awesome roost for the chickens.

The barn is a wind-proven structure, having stood for the past 150 years. It already has electricity, so a long run of extension cords is not necessary. And the smaller gang of hens and rooster will fit quite comfortably in the new space. Their coop will be open during the day, and the chickens will be able to roam around the farm.

The coop will be finished soon. The chickens might even move in tonight!

Let us know your thoughts on the new design…