The Chicken Coop I’d Like to BURN….

burnin coop-3

Freedom, baby!

Finally living in the country with 5 acres of land means I can do whatever I want and that feels really good. You may remember when I lived in the city and we were only allowed 3 chickens? Yeah, so we had 4 of course (because I’m a rebel…and that’s just how I roll…) We sure did love those chickens and when we moved to an apartment we gave them up to another lady with a large coop and run. Some days I wonder if they are still alive and well… but am too scared to drive over and see just in case they died or something. Yep, I guess that makes me a chicken too.

So after living in the apartment, and then moving into the new built house everyone started talking about getting chickens right away.  I was still feeling a little overwhelmed with moving, and having lots of visitors each week (family members came to visit from all over). So every time my husband mentioned it I said, “oh maybe in a little while. “I was trying my best to delay it until I felt more settled in.



Well, one weekend I drove my parents back to Seattle after their visit to catch a plane home. When I came back home my husband “surprised” me with starting the building process of a brand new chicken coop. He said, “Honey, I am starting Chicken Coop 2.0 and your’e gonna LOVE it! Come see!”

Now many of you may be thinking….that is just so sweet of him! What a great husband. What a nice surprise!

But oh no, let me stop you right there... this isn’t a happy story.

This is the story of how a chicken coop nearly destroyed our marriage. Just kidding.  I’m totally being over dramatic. Just keepin’ you on your toes.

But I was super annoyed when he showed it to me. I mean,  I had to be all like ” Oh, wow! and “How sweet!” saying it with a smile while inside totally irritated. It’s really hard to be mad at someone that is trying to do something nice for you.  And at first I didn’t want to show my disappointment because it was a nice gesture. But I couldn’t hide my feelings for long and that night I came clean with my disappointment. I told him that I had plans for a different coop and that I hated this new design.  Am I a bad wife? Yes. Yes, I probably am.

Let me explain…

First off, I had been researching different coop designs for the past few months. I wanted a design that wouldn’t be so hard to upkeep. After my last coop, which was really pretty, I realized how hard it was to clean the bottom of the coop – I had to crouch down and hand shovel it most of the time. My back ached and I inhaled way too much stink by the time I was done.  The upper area was okay to clean but it did take some time and I had to had remove the nesting box material. So I researched and found that basically I wanted a walk in shed type coop. One door, with one side of the building being the nesting boxes and one side having the roosting bars. That way I could easily take a rake or shovel, and clean out the floor without back pain and close encounters of the poop stink. I saw Shaye’s chicken coop design over at her blog The Elliot Homestead where she used wooden crates for the nesting boxes and LOVED it – such a genius idea for quick cleaning a coop.  I was wanting to have an easy to clean coop since it always seemed to be me who ended up with that job.

But my husbands’ new chicken coop design is awful.  A disaster really.

I do hate saying that too… because I love my husband. And he does try. But he obviously hadn’t cleaned the last chicken coop EVER. No, not even once. And he really should have talked to me first before taking this one on. It’s called communication people.


Problems with the new coop:


Yeah, I seriously will need a ladder to gather eggs!!! AND I (not the kids) will have to gather eggs daily. I loved it when my kids got home from school and ran to gather all the eggs for me. But unless we have a stool back there it ain’t gonna happen.


And to clean the coop – ugh. I still will have to clean the floor of the coop leaning over.


I tried to make him stop building it.

I really did try.

I begged and told him to just scrap it and build me the one I wanted. To take the loss and learn.

But he was determined to finish it. Stubborn man. He said someday he’ll build me another one. One that I really want. But we all know how this goes. It will be years before that happens. We just have too many other land development projects that will come first. 5 acres of irrigation, landscaping, pasture and more.


And you think he will be cleaning this coop? Oh heck to the no!

I told him he would have to be the first one to clean the coop (just so he understands…) and he just said something along the lines of – then the chickens will die in filth as I’ll never clean it! You see what I’m up against here? Please feel sorry for me…please…………

Just so you know the coop wasn’t finished in this picture yet.


On the bright side I have a nice big chicken run that looks a little bit like my dream one. This will be my first big chicken run ever. FYI I am not letting my chickens just free range everywhere on my property. Last time it was a poopy mess on my back porch and yard all the time. And they always were getting in my garden. I will give them a large run this time and have a tunnel I can open up for free ranging in the front pasture once it’s all fenced. They will have lots of bugs and greens to free range on.

This is a picture of the siding he attached on the outside of the coop. And painted it to match our house.

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So there you have it. I’m keeping it real with you guys.

Sometimes marriage is hard and sometimes lessons are learned in love as you work together.

I do love my husband and am grateful for all his hard work. And that he is even willing to build me stuff. I’ve tried to be as gentle as I can be with my disappointment in his design. But it’s soooo hard! I’m a perfectionist. And tired already thinking about cleaning out the new coop.  I need to learn patience and tolerance. And to be more humble. And he hopefully will learn to not disappoint his wanna-be homesteader wife with communicating better next time. Hee hee.

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Livin’ and learning…. and loving him still,

Karrie33 Comments

The Chicken Coop I’d Like to BURN…. was last modified: October 14th, 2016 by Karrie

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  1. Sue Madsen says:

    Aaahhh…true love…

    While he’s in the building mood, have him put some kind of top on it to keep the hawks out – just saying…

    • Three words…
      Burn it NOW!

      After 38 years of marriage THE ONLY WATY THEY LEARN IS IF YOU MAKE YOUR POINT!!!

      You will come to resent him every single day!

      You will loose both love and respect for him because HE SHOWED YOU NO LOVE OR RESPECT ON THIS PROJECT!!!

      You will hurt your back and suffer greatly daily because he wanted the CONTROLL!

      The best and kindest thing you can do for your marriage AND YOUR HUSBAND is tear it down, pay to have the one you want built and call it good!

      Ask me how I know…

  2. That’s a good idea…I’ll tell him Sue! 🙂

  3. I understand how you feel and can sympathize with you. After doing that so many times and to prevent disagreements I have started drawing my ideas of what I was thinking about. It has helped with the communications.
    Yes, we still love them❤️

  4. I’m the same way!! I would have been disappointed because of the design idea I had in my head!! Way to go with trying to be happy!! I love your blog by the way!!

  5. Hey! Did you write a story about my husband?? Lol

  6. Hi,
    I totally loved this story 🙂 so funny, I even shared it with my husband! as I can relate !!! I loved the final pic of you and your husband and his little rechargable drill. My husband has one like it..My husband… well lets say, he’s not really an ‘out-doorsy/home handyman type. Things don’t come naturally to him in that area (he works in an office), but he loves to help/try things and get stuck in – bless him 🙂
    Thanks for your honesty and sharing this story 🙂
    Keep em coming – Linda {New Zealand}

  7. Oh my gosh my husband built me the SAME coop! I wanted one in the pasture with wheels so we could move it around and I’d never have to clean it. He got all, “I’m a man and I have a better idea and it will be awesome”, and I ended up with the same coop as you! (We’re still married cause I’m nice like you.)

    We have a plastic stool we just keep out there for the kids so they can kind of reach the eggs. (They still have to heave themselves up a bit.)

    Men. Sheesh!

  8. Well, my husband designed and built the the chicken coop that we have and I KNOW that I could not have designed it better. It is a 4×4 box shape, but one entire side swings out on hinges to make it really easy to clean. I suggested getting a cheap piece of vinyl flooring from Lowe’s and I just swing out the side, put down a tarp and shovel out and then sweep out the coop. I spray it down with Solumel (Natural disinfectant form Melaluca), let it air out for a while and then put fresh shavings or straw down. It takes about 5 minutes. We originally had 9 chickens that used the coop, but now we are down to just 4.

  9. I have this type of design… I too hate cleaning it! What a pain in the rear!!! My son loves gathering our eggs. I’d suggest he build a large wooden box for on the ground. A permanent stool of sorts but that you can move if needed for cleaning, repairing & such 😛

  10. We just bought 8 acres, so hoping to have chickens next spring, too late to start this year.
    My wonderful husband, as that’s how he’s listed in my phone, is very handy and creative and can build about anything I can dream up. But I would love to see Jamie’s design, sounds very user friendly for the chickens and the “housekeeper”!

  11. Patricia Gardner says:

    I’m old. I had pet chickens when I was young. They were named and I could dress them in my large doll clothes. I would love to have a small house in the country and some pet chickens again. Patricia Gardner

  12. The run does seem to be perfectly child-sized for cleaning 😉

    Our first run for the ducks was one my husband and I built after we just go married and it was so low I had to squat inside it. The next one was a walk-in one with a door wide enough for a wheel barrow. You live and learn.

    How about selling or trading it? It looks perfect for someone who wants a big coop in their garden but can’t fit in a seperate run (obviously for fewer chickens).

  13. Burn it! This coming from your favorite Omaha homesteading sister! Burn that sucker down and don’t look back! The positives could be that it was a building learning experience and a great bonfire for roasting marshmallows with the family lol. I totally get where your coming from and I have to say the construction of its quite nice. The man IS amazing with a drill…but, sell it. I have cleaned one too many coops that were like this. Now we have the shed kind and it’s so nice to go in 2 times a year and using a flat shovel and wheelbarrow, it takes less than 1 hour from start to finish! And it never gets stinky. Love ya:)

  14. Meredith Perry-Hull says:

    Love the pics. We just added onto our coop. We’ve been using my grandkids old playhouse as a co-op for 4 years and we both decided it had to be bigger with a door we could actually stand upright to walk into. I do still have to stop to gather eggs but we did devise an easier way to clean. I simply sweep everything towards a new trap door we opened up in the side, then go around with a small shovel and scoop it out. Easier to save it for our gardens as well. We also added to the number of chickens as well, after our initial loss, we have 80 new chicks left.FYI, the easiest way to make nesting boxes is to use a 5 gallon bucket, hens love the privacy, when cleaning just grab the handle, dump everything into a trash can then wash them out. It’s another way to recycle plastics. We also found a way to keep our chickens from pecking each other by hanging plastic soda or water bottles from the top of the run with colorful plastic beads. They’ll peck at those all day, leaving the smaller chickens alone.

  15. Chip (the old time farmer) says:

    As soon as I saw the first picture of the coop, I was thinking “Ouch” and feeling my back hurting already. While I applaud your patience, cooperative spirit and desire for marital accord, I think you should at least start over on the chicken house portion of the project. I agree with you (and the others) that a shed type structure is more practical. As a teenager, I was in charge of cleaning our chicken house. It was so nice to be able to move the wheel barrel right up to the door and shovel it out with hardly any bending. One great innovation my father used when he designed the “roost” was he put hinges at the top where it connected to the wall. When it was time for me to clean, I lifted it up and fastened it with a bungee cord. That way I was able to clean underneath it and then spread the new bedding/litter. I suggest you put an ad on a community board so you can sell your husband’s “masterpiece”.

  16. I’m also thinking of a smarter way to collect the droppings. I was thinking of sectioning off a part under the bar that can hold sand. Much easier to scoop up.

  17. How funny. I am with the “burn it Tiffany”. I am 61 and just plain tired of make-work. Give him lots of kisses, his favorite meals, iron his clothes and then just burn it! But first, make sure you have a quick, acceptable and available substitute. I know you love the guy … BUT … sigh … burn it. He needs to know that when he is altering your work area/responsibility that he has your input. It is a matter of respect. Same goes for you and his work area/responsibilities. Oh I am tired just thinking about it! I’ve never had a chicken coup but I’ve danced to this music many times! LOL

  18. Build your coop of your dreams! You don’t need him to do it! You can do it! I built the planter box I wanted when my husband didn’t get it. He understood once it was done and built me more but mine was the prototype. They are huge and I used 12 foot boards – that must have been a sight as I’m only 5′ tall! They are awesome! If you’re worried – just look at YouTube videos – they can teach you anything! Good luck!

  19. Why not sell it on Craigslist and build again? If you sell it just for the cost of the materials you won’t be out amything.Best wishes to you, I enjoyed your story. Every wife can relate in some way!

  20. Tiffany Nash says:

    Same exact problem at our house! Stubburn men! I begged him to design it the way I wanted to no avail. Unfortunately you can’t even stand up straight in our run. He didn’t build roosts at first and he built it at the bottom of a hill so the water all runs right underneath and makes a terrible mess. Ah well, he takes care of them most of the time so I really can’t complain. Love him anyhow. Love the eggs too!

  21. Emily Huffman says:

    Fun article but how often are you cleaning your coop?! Why not just do the deep litter method (you can google it) and then you only have to clean it maybe once a year? The chickens will scratch the poop into the bedding throughout the year and turn it into nice material for gardening. It’s what I do, and there is no stink from our coop so that shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe you will love your coop more if it doesn’t break your back 😉

    • I may have to try that for sure! Out of necessity…LOL. I guess I just don’t get how the deep method wouldn’t stink…I mean it’s poop upon poop, right?

  22. I am so sorry to read about your frustration on this! I think the only real way to get him to understand is to maybe fib a little! Tell him your back is SO sore from cleaning it and you need his help. Tell him that the girls need food (bending down to get under the coop and fill the feeder) and that a chicken has laid in the wrong place (pick the worst place a chicken could possibly lay an egg!) and maybe leave a little poop in the doorway so when he leans in… he will need to change his top! I really am not usually this devious, honest, but it seems you need drastic measures!

    I have an amazing hubby who not only took my ‘dream coop’ and made it happen, he made it bigger and better that I imagined. I am so very lucky. Telling you about my coop just might rub it in and I am so sorry for that!, but its an amazing two room cabin with front porch, completely lined with rubber stable matting, feed and water hang inside, 4 roosting bars and 2 nesting boxes and a feed store room at the back. This summer we just added a run for the days/times when we are not able to let them completely free range. The whole thing is sealed with that 1/4 inch wire mesh to keep the predators out. Just painted it green and white this summer too and added a couple of window boxes to the front (didn’t get around to planting them though). This winter he is planning on building a climbing play frame for them in the run, complete with swing! But all this and he says… well, I never really wanted chickens, it was Michelle that did….. !!

    Sorry, but reading this really does remind me how blessed I am. My fingers are crossed for your hopeful rebuild!

  23. What is wrong with building it yourself? But then again my first date with my husband was him calling me up and asking to use my table saw. We have been building together for 23+ years. Our chicken coop is called the Hen House Hilton. He built the walls out of pallets and I took care to the inside. My only request was it be tall enough to walk in and a full size door. The only draw back is during bad winters we have to run a heater and keep water from freezing. He even buried wire 2 ft down and out from the run walls so other critters could not dig into the girls. Wish I could send you a picture.

  24. Two thoughts on your coop: 1. Tile the floor. Nothing fancy, just cheap vinyl tiles. The refuse won’t stick as bad, and it makes it easier to shovel. 2. Cover the run with wire too. If you need to, you can use pvc pipe to support & “dome” it. It will prevent predator birds (hawks, etc.) from getting your birds. It will also prevent them from flying out.

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