Several years ago when we had baby chicks, we cobbled together some plywood bins and called it a chicken house. Amazingly, the chickens thrived - produced many years of eggs, though their offerings were not always easy to find.
We are older and wiser, now, and one of us has obsessive-compulsive tendencies when it comes to building projects. Craig decided that this time he'd build a perfect chicken house, right of Better Coops and Gardens. He spent hours researching chicken requirements, calculating, measuring and planning. He built a Chicken TajMajal for our girls.
Laying boxes - with a drop down door for easy access.
Now you would think these birds would be grateful - happy to nestle into their safe (expensive) plywood haven in the evening. No. Chickens don't do grateful, but they do aggravating very well. They huddle on the ground, under the ramp in the evening chill and we have to go out at dusk and gather them up one at a time and force them into their house.
Not the brightest of breeds, our Buff Orpingtons and Black Australorps will find their own way into their coop at night or they will end up a tasty, not-quite-kosher midnight snack for our neighborhood owls.
Of course, our two old, retired chickens still prefer to free-range. They spend their days messing on my patio and their nights huddled in a jasmine bush. On occasion, they enjoy making a political statement.
Here's Killer, doing her take on "A Chicken in Every Pot:"