How Dru Got Into Chicken Coops

Hi. My name is Dru. I've been building things for most of my life. Having spent some 35 years here in the San Francisco Bay Area as a carpenter, my experience has ranged from foundation work through to finish trim in new and remodel, residential and commercial construction. I happened into building backyard chicken coops quite by accident. 

It began with the posting of a barn wood dog house I built for sale on craigslist. On one particular day, I received two calls asking if it might be converted to a chicken coop. To say the least, I was not expecting such a request.

Within two months of receiving those calls, I had for amusement sake built my first urban coop patterned after the popular British style "Ark". I then built some smaller, far simpler models and offered those for sale. To my surprise, the response was twice that of the dog houses. I then started to research chicken coops and the raising of chickens of which led to enrollment in a chicken raising class put on by UCSC. And though the sentiment had been building, it was soon after that class, of which included the viewing and discussion of their on campus coop and hens, that I decided to pursue some hens of my own.

By this time it had not only struck me as an entertaining endeavor, but instructional as well seeing how I'd become fascinated with the various designs and approaches to a hens abode. After dragging my feet for months unwilling to commit Alexis Masters, the web master of this site, gently nudged me off the proverbial fence by offering to pick up some months-old chicks from a most reliable source she'd found for herself by way of Sue Chan, veterinarian and founder of the Ceta Foundation at Phoenix Ranch in Vacaville.

I chose five Red Stars and Alexis gave me a sixth. These hens have proven to be not only vastly entertaining, but are directly responsible for imparting their tendencies and mannerisms, preferences and dislikes, which has culminated in not only a better coop for them, but for my prospective clients as well.

My Hens

The last pet I experienced was a Cocker Spaniel growing up on the peninsula in San Francisco Bay Area. But then some 50 years later on April 22 of 09 Alexis, my most kind and competent web master set out for the Phoenix Ranch in Vacaville to meet with Sue Chan, veterinarian and founder of the Ceta Foundation to pick up our hens. Alexis had been after me for some time, to not only experience the design and building of coops, but as well this novel concept of those that take up residence therein. 

In short, chickens of my own. And what a journey its been.

So the following day with cage in hand I arrived at Alexis home prepared to take possession of 5 birds. I was in a truck and thought I would just put them in the back and be on my merry way. But oh no, that was not to be as Alexis explained, "they're just pullets, you need to take them back in the cab. Here, I'll give you a box…." as the cage I brought would not fit in the cab of the truck.

So I left out of the North Bay with 5 hens (all sisters) at my side and seemingly not happy. Thus began a journey I could never have imagined being a part of. And so here in photo is a timeline of that journey. 

My girls have grown and kindly produced, as have I in a greater understanding of their ways and needs, not to mention the ease in which one can partake in this backyard sustainable farming given some most logical and lasting designs.

I started them out in a Coop de View with a 4' by 8' run. I then took on one more of their sisters as Alexis had determined a possible over crowding with the Ark I had built for her. Some two weeks later when I brought Rosie home, they, her sisters would not have her. Just another lesson, as in pecking order. So I then had to quick build anther coop and run and put her beak to beak with the others till they accepted her; and it took another week and a half. I then built the hens a Coop de Grande and added a second run.

And though their now on their second more luxurious Coop de Grande, with walk in run totally surrounded in hardware cloth, as even the floor at 6" below finish grade for scratching and dust baths, they free range. Spoiled, I'd like to think so, but then hey….their the "girls".

The Girls' Gallery