After considering all the alternatives, we chose a Sally Hen House to replace our existing elderly and rickety coop that was proving increasingly unfit for chicken habitation. Assembling the house proved to be a straight forward process and here's how we built the hen's very own Cluckingham Palace.
There were several reasons for the
choice of this particular hen house. It has an eye catching appearance with an attractive pitched roof, robustly constructed to order in the UK. there's plenty of interior space, the nesting box is generously sized, and
it promised to be easy to clean with a large lift out side panel.
Flat Pack Delivery
We weren't disappointed but the
hen house had first to be assembled after arriving in two substantial
boxes on a wooden pallet. Our gravel drive rendered the trolley, on which the boxes are
delivered, immobile - so the heavy packages had to be
manhandled with difficulty into the back garden.
After opening the boxes, all the
contents were in good order and clearly very good quality. Unlike
many flat packs, there is no list of contents but you can look
through the instruction booklet to get an idea of what should be
there and everything seemed to be present. One criticism though would
be the huge amount of plastic wrapping which couldn't be recycled and consequently ended up in the bin.
There are no written instructions but
the drawings are quite clear. Sometimes you need to have a
particular mind set to understand even simple diagrams, a little patience also usually comes in handy, but I found them easy
enough to follow with only the occasional need for a head scratching tea break.
Much of the hen house is prefabricated
and there are less parts than I imagined which makes assembly quicker
and easier. It would help if the parts were numbered but finding the
correct one is not difficult if you take the trouble to lay them out and they can be quickly fixed firmly
into place with the 2” screws that are provided.
Although the individual parts aren't
excessively heavy and pilot holes are drilled, assembly is definitely
a two person job. The front and rear are unwieldy due to their shape
and having someone to ensure everything is perfectly square and holding the
parts tight while they are screwed together is essential.
The hen house quickly took shape,
first the sides and floor, then the ends are secured followed by the roof. The only major problem was fitting the hinged nesting
box top which, if the screws were correctly positioned, would not
open. This might be a manufacturing or design fault, or perhaps our
incompetence, but was solved by only using one screw and it now opens
Overall, assembly was uncomplicated, and all you need is a screwdriver. Most of
the pieces fitted together without too much effort, the weather
resistant tongue & groove timber is excellent quality (14mm
thick), the panel flooring is strong (9mm) and there's a drop down
predator resistant pop hole. Roofing felt can encourage pests, so I was pleased to see that this wasn't required as the pitched roof will very effectively deflect any rainfall.
A perch is included and the hen house's
traditional appearance is pleasing to the eye. Chickens are hard to
read but I would say that after an initial settling in period they
will find their new house to be a spacious residence that is sturdily
built, well appointed and takes only a couple of hours to assemble.