For those not in the know, chick days are the time of year when you can get baby chickens from a hatchery. February kicks off the season. If you're considering starting a flock, now is the time to think about housing for them. Once you get your new chicks, you'll have 5 to 6 weeks before you need to put them in something bigger and better than a cardboard box in your garage, but it's best to start laying out your coop options in advance, especially if you plan to build it yourself.
If you have a chop saw and know how to use it, building your own coop is the most cost-effective option. Storey has a book, of course, to help you out.
If you're not handy, there are some talented designers out there working hard to bring you the best in form and function. My favorite is the mind-bendingly futuristic Cocorico by designer Maxime Evrard. I don't even want to know how much it costs. It's probably the chicken coop of choice for, say, Brad Pitt.
When we bought a coop, we opted for the Eglu by Omlet. It bears more than one similarity in design to early-model iMacs, including the availability of an assortment of colors. The Eglu is the only coop that ever was or ever will be featured in ID and Gourmet magazines. Now that both of those publications have closed their doors, that's safe to say.
This sweet little A-frame number is available from the ChickenCoops shop on Etsy. It is handcrafted from plantation-grown, renewable Douglas fir timber and stained with a nontoxic, low VOC paint. If you love it but really want to build a coop yourself, you can buy the plans for this design from catawbacoops.com.
And finally, for the urban farmer who's sticking it to the man by raising chickens in violation of local ordinances, there is the stealth coop available on mypetchicken.com. This design conceals the coop in the guise of a trash can.
Alethea Morrison, Creative Director