With local enthusiasm for backyard chicken ranching skyrocketing to new heights, many people looking to get into the act are wondering where they can get quality coops to house their hens. The region's economic woes have inadvertently created some local options.
The downturn in the housing market has been terrible for local woodworkers and carpenters, but for childhood friends Berg Danielson and Mead Trick it's pushed them into the new field of chicken coop construction.
Both were born on BainbridgeIsland and have kept chickens for years. The competition between them to corner the local coop market remains friendly and has yet to impact their friendship.
Berg Danielson stumbled upon building coops out of curiosity and desperation. “I was laid off as a finish carpetnter last spring,” said Berg. “And with a new baby on the way, I needed to find a way to make a living.”
After various experiments, he settled on his “Saltbox on Stilts” design, which he describes as “the perfect mobile coop for the urban backyard hen keeper.” They cost $750 and are perfect for three hens. There's one on display at Bay Hay & Feed, or you can view them at www.seattlechickencoops.com. Berg also makes larger coops, and does custom coops and runs. He can be reached at 206-909-2427.
Mead Trick is a cabinet maker with a growing family as well in need of additional work as well. He built his first coop as part of a lesson to teach his kids where their food comes from. “It's also a great place to send your kitchen scraps,” said Trick. “And farm fresh eggs just taste better.”
Mead describes his style of coops as “modern salvage,” and makes use of recycled materials in his designs. Some of those are a little unconventional: A phone receiver or spoons for door handles, trapdoors for easy clean up, license plates, tree branches, and more.
“You can do things with a coop that you simply can't do on a house,” said Mead. To inquire about his quirky and artistic custom coops you can contact Mead at 206-715-4984.
If you're building a coop on your own, it's important to take into account the ease of maintenance, proper ventilation, roost and nesting box considerations, light needs, weather protection, and most importantly—predator protection. Or, you can buy one from Berg or Mead. Just don't ask their friends to choose between them.