Coop 2: Kapousouz-Mattox Coop
Amanda Kapousouz and Bain Mattox started keeping chickens in the Boulevard neighborhood backyard after finding materials in the barn that turned out to be the makings of an excellent chicken coop.
(1) When did you start keeping chickens and why?
Basically, a friend of ours was going to pick up some baby chicks and offered to grab us some. We had just moved into a new house with a big yard and had the room for them, so we put it together with reclaimed wood and fencing that we had in our barn and now they’re awesome, friendly, members of our family.
The coop is built of reclaimed materials, including a retired ping-pong table which is now the roof of the hen house.
(2) How many chickens do you have and what breeds?
All of our chickens are Isa Brown hens. We planned on naming them, but they look so similar. We intended to name them a mix of Steel Magnolia and Golden Girls characters, but we can’t really tell them apart. They are all pretty friendly and silly and loud. There’s definitely a pecking order in the flock, some are bossier than others, it’s pretty funny to watch.
A friendly and easy going breed, the Isla Brown is a popular backyard chicken.
(3) Where did you get your coop?
We built our coup out of salvaged materials that we had laying around in our
barn. The main wood structure is built from an old ping pong table that I had to cut down because it had some rotten edges, all in all, it looks pretty neat. We built it with a chicken wire bottom to allow their poop to fall through for their comfort and our ease. I used the smallest wire I could find for the purpose of keeping out snakes and other predators.
(4) What are some of your favorite features of your coop?
The ping-pong table wood and the reclaimed metal roof are pretty cool.
(5) What would you do differently?
I might add more windows for them if I were to do it again.
(6) Talk a little about your feeding and watering systems.
We have a pretty standard hanging water and food system, but we give them a lot of food scraps. They love the fruit and vegetables that we give them from our own kitchen, and I also pick up kitchen compost from our cafe, Buvez, a couple days a week. They love the tomatoes and basil from those scraps.
(7) What considerations did you keep in mind with the coop/run design regarding predators?
The chickens are fenced in during the day, and we added a fenced roof to part of the run because we have hawks in our neighborhood. I added a heavy sliding door that slides vertically to prevent raccoons or foxes from gaining entry while the chickens are sleeping at night.
After hearing that neighbors had lost chickens to predators, Bain and Amanda took steps to ensure the safety of their chickens. This includes a covered run and a coop door that opens vertically and is weighted to make it difficult for raccoons and foxes to maneuver.
(8) What kind of features address extreme temperatures?
We’ve read that our chickens do pretty well with cold weather, but in extreme cold, we line the bottom of their coop with pine shavings. In the summer, they get quite a bit of airflow through the chicken-wire bottom.
(9) Do your neighbors have an opinion on you keeping chickens?
All of our neighbors seem to like them, and a lot of folks bring them food scraps. We live street with a lot of foot traffic, so it’s fun to see people stopping and checking them out on their walks. The kids really love visiting them.
(10) Do you consider your chickens to be pets?
(11) What do your chickens eat?
Corn-free feed and food scraps
(12) Describe your coop maintenance regimen?
We scrape the bottom of their cage as much as possible and add grass clippings to the ground to try and cover up the mud that they create from scratching around all day.
(13) Do you have any advice for people considering getting chickens?
For their safety, make sure you have a secure enclosure for them to sleep at night. We haven’t had any issues, but we know a few people who have.
(14) Do you have anything else about your coop that you‘d like to share?
We casually call their coop “Twin Beaks” as some people name their beach houses things like “Anchors Away” or “Hip Nautic,” or “Gone Coastal.” We thought it would be funny to name their coop something silly too. I’m on the search for an old life preserver to hang on their coop for giggles.