Frequently Asked Questions about Ready Coop™
Below are some common questions that are asked about Ready Coop by people interested in home food production.
What is Ready Coop™?
Ready Coop™ is an insulated, modular chicken coop of Canadian design meant for year-round use. It is portable in that it can be moved to new ground every three to five years which is recommended to prevent disease. The walls, floor, ceiling, and roof are built as separate, stackable panels. It can be easily disassembled, moved, and reassembled by two people. This family chicken coop comfortably houses up to 12 standard sized chickens. It sits on the ground, so there is no need for a cement slab.
Ready Coop™ was designed to help new chicken enthusiasts bypass much of the expense, hard work, and heartbreak often experienced during the trial and error processes involved with keeping chickens. By sharing Ready Coop™ I hope to encourage community and family-scale chicken keeping as a sustainable and time proven alternative to centralized, mega factory farms.
Ready Coop™ with its natural brooder can also help you to propagate your chicken flock naturally without the need for electric incubators and heat lamps. A good setting hen will do that for you if you let her.
What size is Ready Coop™?
The main coop has a 4’ by 4’ floor space and is about 6’ tall when erected. The attached brooder has a 4’ by 4’ floor space and is a little over 3’ tall at the highest point. The design makes the most efficient use of the building materials required. You can keep as few as 2 or 3, and as many as 10 - 12 standard adult chickens in this coop.
How long does it take to make a Ready Coop™?
Give yourself about two weeks to build the coop and brooder. You can set up and use the main coop before you finish the brooder.
There are some important building details that take time, including the enclosed insulation, insulated vent and window plugs, and the production of separate panels that make the coop portable. Ready Coop™ is also strategically sealed against rain, sealed and painted for cleaning ease, and sealed where the smallest of insect predators might otherwise hide or nest. Ready Coop™ is very well secured against mice, rats, and all sizes of chicken predators. In addition, Ready Coop™ has extra bracing against extreme high winds, a serious consideration for any important structure in these turbulent times.
Why is there an insulated roosting area?
Although our feathered friends can take the cold, their combs and feet are subject to painful frostbite if temperatures drop close to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or – 20 degrees Celsius. Chickens naturally seek high places to roost at night when they become inactive. Nights will generally bring the coldest temperatures, especially when the sky is clear. Heat will rise, collect and stay in the roosting area. Winter heat sources include passive solar heat from the south window, heat from the chickens, a water de-icer, and a 40 watt light bulb timed to extend the day a couple of hours before dawn. This heat can be preserved through the coldest nights by using the Ready Coop™ insulated vent and window plugs. Even during the day, the roosting area, which has three roosting levels to facilitate the pecking order, is available for all of your chickens to escape from the cold. Heat from direct sunlight is usually available during the coldest days for the hens to bask in, through the south window and the south vent of the brooder.
Why isn’t the whole coop insulated?
To insulate the whole coop would create functional problems for the smaller doors. The warmer roosting area and daytime direct sunlight is sufficient refuge from the cold. If a hen needs to be isolated in the brooder during extreme cold weather, the brooder is low enough to be covered with two large comforters at night. During the day, comforters can be lifted to expose the south vent and let sunlight in. The brooder vent can be covered with sheet plastic or a couple of layers of bubble-wrap if you like.
Is the floor insulated?
The floor is covered with a galvanized steel sheet for easier cleaning and to keep out predators that may try to chew through the floor. For easier cleaning it is suggested that corrugated cardboard be placed on the floor. During the winter, you may want to place two layers of corrugated cardboard on the floor for better insulation. Add some bedding if you like.
What is the cost for materials?
If you include all the important details and buy all new materials, they will cost between $700 and $800 dollars (last checked Jan. 2008).
Do you recommend any books on keeping chickens?
I recommend the classic, “Chickens in Your Back Yard” by Rick and Gail Luttman, “Keeping Pet Chickens” by Johannes Paul and William Windham, "Keep Chickens" by Barbara Kilarski, and "The Chicken Health Book" by Gail Damerow. (the last two listed can be purchased through Thomas Allen & Son Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
Who designed Ready Coop™?
Ready Coop™ was designed by yours truly, Karen Levesque. I was born in Oshawa, Ontario, married and raised a family there, lived and worked in Montreal and Toronto for 14 years as a spiritual self-help teacher and reader.
My interest in sustainable "back to basics" living was able to flourish more fully once I bought my small farm property in 1992. I’ve connected with many individuals who are knowledgeable and active in the areas of natural and alternative building methods, water collection systems, off-grid energy systems, local medicinal herbs, alternative health care, alternative social and economic strategies, and local food production.
I see the need to preserve basic, time-proven, knowledge and skills that have almost been lost to us. My primary country living activities have revolved around food. I practice organic gardening, root cellaring, seed saving, food drying and fermenting, cheese making, growing grains and beans, and keeping chickens for eggs. Ready Coop™ is a way for me to share some of the knowledge and skills that I have gained through my experience.
How can I order and pay for Ready Coop™ Building Instructions? How can I order and pay for a smaller pre-built coop?
You can pay for and download the Ready Coop™ E-Building Instructions through the link provided on my home page.