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The Saga of the Small Chicken Coop From Tractor Supply – Part 1
**Video Review at the end
COVID-19 finally turned me. I confess it. I have resisted getting egg-laying hens for several years. And I had many excuses for it. They’d get in the way of my (VERY infrequent) travel plans. We live in an area with a very active black bear, raccoons, possum and a hawk that daily stalks my poor frogs. I didn’t want the responsibility of any new living beings. Etc. Etc. Excuses. Excuses.
But then COVID-19 happened. And I saw this from the United Nations on a possible world food shortage. And this from the Today show on how our food prices may skyrocket. However, I pride myself on not panicking (anymore) when the media does. However, I have noticed that even in our little town of 3500 the local Winn Dixie shelves have stayed quite bare and although I don’t really foresee a true food shortage in this country, I would like a little more control over my food supply. Oh, and we’re vegetarian so I monitor our diet closely to ensure we eat balanced meals. Protein is important. We eat eggs quite regularly. My husband K eats them daily.
So, I broke down and caved to K’s appeals. He used to raise chickens, ducks and turkeys so has already been spoiled by eating all that healthy and clean goodness. Additionally, he has a little bit of that Prepper inside of him so feels this should be our next step toward self-reliance.
Of course, now that I have said yes, things are moving quickly. One of my requirements was that my new ladies needed a decent home. I wanted them to be comfortable, safe and have a good amount of space to move around and forage.
I originally told K my ladies required a McMansion until I started pricing out those chicken McMansions. Scaled that back quickly! After several days of concerted hunting online, we decided on this prefab chicken coop from Tractor Supply. It’s fairly inexpensive but decently sized and was K approved.
I have a small confession here. This former city girl had never heard of Tractor Supply until we moved to our little town south of Tallahassee FL. I have a funny for you on this too. When the real estate agent was driving us around showing houses, he drove us to an empty lot and proudly announced to K that a Tractor Supply was being built there. In my head, I am thinking “Why would we even remotely care about that? I don’t do tractors.” Little did I know how valuable that Tractor Supply would turn out to be in my life! It has been our go to during Hurricane Season and I even bought our first raised beds there.
Buy a chicken coop online
Back on track. I had to buy the chicken coop online because it was not available at our local store but Tractor Supply delivers to the house so that’s convenient. I ordered the coop on a Saturday afternoon and it arrived the following Monday. I.e. 9 days. It would have arrived the previous Friday (6 days) but the shipping company called and told us there was an issue and they couldn’t get out to us. Since we are in.the.middle.of.a.pandemic, I told them not to worry about it and we’d see them Monday.
It arrived as promised Monday morning and that evening we decided to tackle the coop. As you can see in the pictures below, we put the initial walls up in the carport which has a cement floor. Then we moved it to the future site of the house. Tip for you. Don’t do that if you can get away with it. We messed up the squaring of the walls in a huge way by moving it and it added an extra hour or so to the build time. If you can, build onsite.
Below are pics of the beginnings of putting the kit together. As you can see we started in the driveway then due to the weight of the coop (100lb) moved it to the backyard where it will stay.
So this coop doesn’t have the greatest reviews.
A common complaint is the wood frame is not pretreated so it does not last very long. Additionally, it’s not the strongest.
However, for us the price was right and we will give it a few inexpensive upgrades to increase its longevity and sturdiness.
- One thing we intend on doing is attaching pretreated lumber to the base of the coop so it will sit on that vs directly on the soil thus deterring termites.
- We are going to repaint it with tractor paint.
- Since we live in FL, we are going to strap it down with hurricane straps. Will that happen right away? No. Probably the next time we know a hurricane is coming our way. 😉 🌀
- Additionally and due to our pervasive predator problem, we are considering lining the bottom of the coop with either hardware fabric or poultry netting so even if the predator gets into the run, that coop is sealed tight!
I will post pictures of all of this as we progress…
Tips from K on building the coop…
- The coop comes with pre labeled panels and pre-drilled holes.
- You only need a Phillips screwdriver to assemble.
- When assembling ensure the panel numbers match correctly as outlined in the instructions.
- As you assemble the kit, If you find the pre-drilled holes do not align to each other correctly, or when you put the roof panels on, then you have done something wrong. If you think you need to redrill holes you did something wrong.
- To help with the build, make sure the ground is level (if possible).
- If need be, to bring misaligned pre-drill holes into alignment (square), you can slightly put pressure on one of the panels to bring the holes into square.
Note: Don’t completely tighten the assembly screws (front, sides, roof) until you have the entire coop put together; this will allow you to move and align the panels as you assemble. Once you have the roof panels on (the last steps in the assembly) and ALL the screws in the roof panels started then you can tighten all screws on the build.
We didn’t really run into any major issues until after we moved the coop during assembly. After moving, we tried to put the roof panels on and discovered how unsquare the side panels were to the roof panels. So, we ended up having to remove all of the roof panels and loosen all of the coop panels to make the sides square to the roof panels.
From Amy: I confess I was a little stymied at this alignment problem, but K figured it out (we had to square up the walls so the pre drilled holes on the roof panels aligned to the predrilled holes on the panels).
Our review of the Tractor Supply Cumberland Cottage Chicken Coop
As far as backyard chicken coops go, this one went together pretty easily. The instructions were pretty decent although we felt it does take two to put together. And there were a couple of occasions when we had to backtrack and make adjustments because the roof was not quite square or we realized we forgot to put a piece on.
It has 3 decent sized nesting boxes and a nice removable tray to clean up all the doo. It has a roosting bar and several doors for the chickens to either go in or out of the coop as well as screened windows to help keep air circulating. Important stuff when one is a Florida chicken!
The roof is asphalt which made K happy since that will help with our frequent rain storms.
Oh, the box tells you this chicken coop will hold 8 chickens. I just don’t see how that’s possible – if you want them to be comfortable – especially full size chickens. K and I decided 3 was the max for this coop.
Once we get the entire coop and run finished, then I will be ready to buy my pullets (female chicks). I don’t want to buy them first and rush to make their home secure. Having said that, I am QUITE eager for some fresh eggs so needless to say, we are working on this a little bit each day.
I am pretty excited about building our small chicken coop from Tractor Supply. It has been a fun project thus far and I have been told by my many “crazy chicken lady” friends I will love having them! Can’t wait!! If you want a chicken coop for your backyard, this or another from Tractor Supply is totally the way to go.