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Touring the Chicken Coop

Posted by on July 13, 2014

Chickens in Alaska have it tough. Not only does it drop well below zero degrees every winter, but they are also on the bottom of the food chain for black bears, fox, grizzly bears, ermine, eagles, hawks, coyotes, wolves, owls, and the good ol’ neighborhood dogs and cats. Our chicken coop is now on the level of Fort Knox. Come join me touring the chicken coop!

Touring the Chicken Coop - IdlewildAlaska

My parents’ house is on the side of the mountain at the end of a well used game trail. Chickens would have been “sitting ducks” at their house. So we’ve decided to go in on chickens together and keep them at the homestead. We get the chicks; Dad built the coop. It may or may not look just like a miniature of his garage/ wood shop…

Chicken Coop Design - IdlewildAlaska

The chicken coop and run.

As Dad grew up with chickens in Alaska, I’m thrilled with the design he came up with and loved that all I had to do was help move it from his house to ours and paint it. The coop is completely insulated and will have a light bulb in the winter, along with a heated water dish; with this, the chickens will be perfectly warm all winter. The inside is lined with vinyl, which makes for easy clean out. Five nesting boxes make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Inside the Chicken Coop - IdlewildAlaska

Nesting boxes for the girls.

Dad also added a  built in feed bin.

Inside the chicken coop - IdlewildAlaska

Dinner time!

Now for my favorite part. I’m not a bird person. Never have been. A sparrow got caught inside the greenhouse the other day (by way of an open window). Freaked me out badly enough that the hubby had to be the hero and guide the sparrow out the open door. “Aren’t we getting chickens?” was the hubby’s question, to which I explained chickens are different. I really have no clue, but am going to force myself to make it different. With that said…


Easy Access Chicken Coop - IdlewildAlaska

The back of the chicken coop makes life easy.

For me to get my wonderful, delicious, fresh eggs every day, all I’ll have to do is go around the back of the coop and open up the door to the back of the nesting boxes. To refill the feed bin, there’s another little door on the back. No having to enter the chicken run or the coop to get what I need or feed the girls. My mom will occasionally be helping too, and this is her favorite feature too.

Chicken Coop DIY - IdlewildAlaska

Easy access chicken coop!

My uncle has and has had in the past chickens, turkeys, and other birds. He’s also had a black bear inside his chicken coop (he made the newspaper!) and a grizzly bear snooping around. On his suggesting, we’re using a chain link dog kennel for our chicken run. As much as I would love to have totally free-range chickens and let them run the yard, it’s just not safe or practical. The coop and run are inside our garden fence, so our girls are double fenced. Today we finished it off by laying chicken wire across the top of the kennel, to protect from the predators overhead. Like I said, Fort Knox.

Fort Knox Chicken Coop - IdlewildAlaska

The girls’ run, in the kennel and under the coop.

I know the girls won’t be 100% safe. That’s pretty hard to do, but we’ve done our best. Our chicks are hatching this weekend and will be coming home with us and into the brooder box for several weeks. Once the feathers all show up, the coop will be occupied.

Touring our Chicken Coop - IdlewildAlaska

Every coop needs a rooster!

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22 Responses to Touring the Chicken Coop

  1. Meredith@A TIPical Day

    It is exciting to see a project come together like this. I have always wanted to raise chickens. If for nothing else to help with our tick and mosquito population. I once heard that having geese in with the chickens is a good idea because the geese will actually guard the chickens. There aren’t too many bear sightings around here though. Good luck! I can’t wait to hear how the chickens like their new home! 🙂

  2. Cailin Koy

    It’s so cool looking in on this from my boring suburbia. I wish you and your chicks luck and safety!

  3. LJ

    I’m excited for you! Love this blog post….you’re an excellent writer.

  4. Anjanette

    Jealous!! And you did a great job!! I’ll be referring back to this post for inspiration next year, I hope!! We’re daydreaming about a home right now. 🙂

  5. Morgan

    I have wanted chickens ever since I was a little girl! Now more and more people are having them for eggs and it seems my dream is a lot more likely to come true than it once was! I can’t wait to see your cute little chicks, thank you for sharing! 🙂

  6. B

    What a cute coop! You’re so luck, I want chickens SO BAD!!!


  7. Megan

    How awesome is this? And I completely agree with your not liking birds, but it’s okay to have chickens theory. They’re different somehow….

    • Idlewildak

      Right? I have to admit, I had to force myself to pick up the chicks, but I’m getting better about it.

  8. Tshanina | Thrifty T's Treasures

    I definitely think this is the Cadillac of chicken coops! :O)

    It was fun taking the tour; thanks!

  9. Megan Walker

    How smart to put those doors in the back of the coop! Thanks for sharing on Hump Day Happenings : )

  10. Leianne Couch

    Was reading through this post and was wondering how your chickens are doing. When we get our property the first thing my daughter wants to start with is chickens. I love the ideas you have shared.

    • Idlewildak

      They’re doing wonderfully! Out of our original 7 birds, 5 (yes 5!!!) turned out to be roosters. We gave away four of them. Frank is now the “man of the house” and we still have Blondie and Tiger Lily. My cousin who originally hatched them for us, had a few “extra” girls, so we now have five girls and Frank. They just started laying a couple weeks ago and we’re getting anywhere from 2 to 5 eggs a day!

  11. Kelsie Chitty

    Don’t the chickens slip around on the vinyl?

    • IdlewildAlaska

      They may a bit if it’s bare, but I put a fairly thick layer of wood chips over it. The vinyl protects the wood floor and makes it easy to hose down the whole thing once in a while.

  12. Diane

    Is that chicken wire under the coop? Can’t the predators rip through that? I don’t have hens, but I’ve read that hardware cloth is far more predator proof. (Note that I don’t say that from any personal experience!)

    • IdlewildAlaska

      It is in just that section. That entire coop and run is inside our welded wire garden fence, so essentially it’s double fenced. We haven’t had any predator issues with this coop. If it was outside the garden fence, I wouldn’t have used chicken wire. Chicken wire is to keep chickens in only- it certainly doesn’t protect from predators! 🙂

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