Plastic Chicken Coop Retrofits, Benefits, and Issues
My (5) hens have been using the plastic snap lock chicken coop for about a month now. After spending some time with the coop and seeing how the hens use it, I have come to some good and bad conclusions, and I have made some simple retrofits to customize the coop to my needs. First the good:
So far the coop has performed as advertised. It is lightweight, durable, and super easy to clean. For the money I still think it is the best coop on the market for a small flock. Snap lock advertises the coop to fit up to four full sized hens. It is a little tight for five full sized hens, but they do in fact fit on the roosting bar, and there is plenty of nesting space, even with my feeder going in one of the nesting boxes.
I have made a few inexpensive retrofits to the coop to suit my needs, and the needs of my flock.
1. As I mentioned before, I don’t like that it is not on wheels. I fixed that with a landscape cart and a wooden frame. Admittedly, the coop would be much more expensive if it had wheels. It is good to know that wheels can be added rather inexpensively.
2. Since I put the coop up on a landscape cart, it sits about 20 inches off the ground. This makes it difficult for the hens to get in the door, so I made a little platform for them to jump on. They get up in the coop with no problems, and they are higher and out of the way of some pests and predators.
3. I don’t like to open and close the coop every day, because, well it’s a pain. So, I leave the door cracked open just enough for the chickens to get in and out. This cuts the wind down, and they feel less exposed to predators. Granted the coop is not predator proof with the door open, but I have outside fencing as well. Like I said, I really don’t want to open and close their coop every day.
4. I noticed that even with the door cracked the hens did not want to roost near the door. I thought they might be cold, because even with the door cracked, it lets a breeze in. I decided to add a plastic barrier to try to keep the breeze out, but they can still get in and out, kind of like the lumber yard at Lowes. I just taped up some heavy duty plastic. The chickens just push their way in and out.
It’s a short list, but there are a couple of negatives as well.
1. As I was cleaning out the coop today, I noticed that water pools in the (4) depressions underneath the pull out tray. I proceeded to tip the coop over and dump out the water. The coop is not completely water tight, and some water comes in from the side. The hens do stay dry though. Then I started to think that this is going to be an ongoing issue, so I fixed it by drilling a small hole in the middle of each depression. Now the water will drain out.
2. The outside latch on the back of the coop has started to rust. This is strange because all the others have not shown any rust. I doubt I will do anything about this.