An Eastern Iowa Chicken Coop Tour

You know what I love most about blogging? Networking with people in Eastern Iowa, who share in similar passions. I've met so many amazing folks from all walks of life, who are doing awesome things right in their own backyards. Without this blog, those encounters might not be possible. 

A few weeks ago I made my way over to a city homestead just a few miles from our house. Ray and his family are gardeners, and also keep a small flock of backyard chickens. He graciously invited John and I over to tour his set up, and we were really impressed. 

Today, I'd like to share several photos of Ray's Eastern Iowa chicken coop, in hopes that it his set-up inspires you on a quest towards urban agriculture, or gives you  a few new ideas for your existing structure. 

First, lets look inside, where Ray's six hens snuggle up and do their business: 

The roosting bar is a big stick from his yard. Love it! and he has three windows that are covered in chicken wire on the inside (for predator protection) and a latched covering on the outside (for wind and weather protection).

I thought these nesting boxes, made of three square kitty litter buckets laid on their sides, were a very clever (and frugal!) idea, and he said his ladies love them. In fact, his Easter Eggers laid two eggs in the middle nesting box, and Ray let me collect them :) *homesteader high five*

Ray has two Barred Rock, 2 Easter Eggers. and 2 Rhode Island Reds. The gal in the photo above is one of his Barred Rocks, and below is one of his Rhode Island Reds. All of his birds were very docile, quiet, and friendly.

Like many city chicken owners, Ray keeps their water suspended off the floor a bit to keep the birds from kicking bedding into the clean water.

He also elevates his feeder off the floor a few inches.

Now onto the exterior - Ray built and designed his own coop. Isn't it gorgeous?!

He said he'd like to paint it this summer, but I think it's stunning as-is, don't you? It is clean and classy.

The horizontal door leads to the back of the nesting boxes, and the ladies are allowed to scratch around under the coop, too.

Ray has a spacious run with an additional bucket waterer elevated a few inches off the ground, and another roosting bar:

He also has some produce for the flock to peck at in the run: 

What I love about Ray's set up, and what John and I intend to do as well, is on nice days keep the door of the run open so the ladies can free range in the yard. They'll be able to scratch around for bugs and forage. However, this means I'll need to keep my garden fenced with chicken wire throughout the summer to protect my plants against rabbits and chickens.

For Ray and his family, six birds are an awesome addition to his city homestead. They provide them with beautiful eggs on a daily basis:

If you, or someone you know, are not familiar with backyard chickens in a city setting, I would encourage you to seek out a person in your neighborhood who keeps a backyard flock. You would be amazed at the serene environment, the cleanliness of the coop and run (in comparison to the negative stereotype many have), and the seamless integration into normal, daily life.

Not to mention, you get free eggs.

Do you have something cool you're doing at your homestead in the city? A project? A garden? A coop? Tell me about it! I'd LOVE to come take a tour. 

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  1. Can you direct me to your first posts about how you engaged the city? My City does not allow chickens... and that should change :)

    1. I haven't written about the specifics of engaging the city, however, I am totally willing to email you all of the documents I used so you can peruse them and modify for your area. Go here for more info:

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