How-To: House Backyard Chickens in Style

My friend Beth, who I've known since high school, recently started a blog to update her friends and family on her latest domestic adventure — raising backyard chickens. Since Beth never does anything halfway, she and her husband Craig built a chicken coop that is super cute and matches their 1922 Craftsman home.

She writes, "I paid my way through college 10 years ago raising and killing chickens and also had laying hens. I wanted to get another batch of layers, but was resigned because a) we have a teeny tiny backyard; and b) my husband isn't much of a farmer."

However, all was not lost. Beth notes, "This spring, I convinced the man who drank a case of Diet Mountain Dew each week when we met (he has thankfully kicked the habit since) to build raised beds and start an organic garden. I gave up on the idea of having chickens, but he took up the cause and was convinced we could fit a small coop next to the garden."

To find out more about Beth and Craig's chicken-raising adventure, and to see how well their chicken coop matches their home, read more.

"We bought our chicks on July 9th and went on Seattle Tilth's coop tour the following weekend," reports Beth. "Craig took lots of photos and took all the best ideas from the coops we saw for his own design. Some materials were recycled: he salvaged the window and built the window box out of scraps we had from this and other projects. The coop is painted to match our house, white trim and all. Craig thinks the finished product took about 100 hours to build. It's a little over the top, but that's my husband. (By the way, not only has he stopped drinking Mountain Dew, but he's off all high fructose corn syrup and is quite the label reader. Weird. Now he's all about organic veggies and can't wait for the hens to start laying.)"

I have total chicken coop envy now, and I'm also envious of Beth's hubby's building skills. What a great coop! You can keep up with Beth and Craig's chicken adventures on Beth's blog. In the meantime, check out the gallery to see images of the decoupaged interior of the coop, as well as the coop's perfect match to their Craftsman.