Backyard Coop
Backyard Coop with XL Upgrade

Finding the right coop for a backyard flock of chickens can be tricky. For one thing, there is the perpetual time and money balance that comes into play in all aspects of country living. For another thing, on the backyard scale, aesthetics come into play. And yet this aspect must not come at the cost of practicability or durability.

One coop that has proven to be a great choice for a small flock on pasture is the Round-Top Backyard Coop from Roost & Root.

The quality parts and attention to detail that have gone into this coop makes it vastly superior to most other purchased options, and even a few homemade designs, as well. It is very sturdy, but it is also easy to put together. Cedar wood with a metal roof promises a building that will last. The wire used is thick and welded—much sturdier than chicken wire.

Backyard Coop
Nesting box; also note feeder and water reservoir to the right

An example of the excellence in design displayed in this coop is the nesting box. For starters, the nesting box is dark. For another thing, the perches are at a higher level than the openings to the nesting box. These may sound like small factors, but they go a long way toward ensuring that the nesting box is used for laying eggs and the perches are used for sleeping, all of which helps keep eggs clean. (And speaking of perches, they are polygonal in shape instead of square, the latter shape having been suggested to cause foot injuries in heavier chickens.)

The bulk feeder and waterer are handy and make chicken chores quicker and easier. Feed getting stuck in the feeder can be an issue, particularly when the weather is humid, although feeding crumbles instead of pellets helps.

Backyard Coop
Upper-story roosting area (resident not included)

The coop and run are spacious and durable enough to accommodate heavy-breed chickens. However, be aware that while the tallest breeds, such as Brahmas, can fit into the run and navigate the ramp, they may be afraid to try to climb their way into the roosting area.

This coop can be used either as a stationary coop or as a portable field shelter for a free-range or penned flock. Two people of moderate strength can move the structure for fairly short distances.

If you need more space for your flock, one or two optional run extensions (the XL Upgrade option) can be purchased to give your chickens more room to play. If you do decide to buy a run extension, consider adding a lightweight perch across the open side; this will provide a little additional strength to the extension without increasing the weight much.

The optional storm panels are a superb innovation that keeps chickens warm and comfortable with blowing snow and wind chills below 0°F, while still providing for ventilation. The 3-D printed clips that secure the panels take some strength to put in place for the first time, although it becomes easier subsequently as long as you put panels on in the same direction. If you are really concerned about extreme winter conditions, you can cover the top of the back side with hay and put a small rectangular hay bale over the door to minimize wind blowing in, but for zone 6b this will not be necessary on most days.

In short, while certainly not the least expensive option on the market (although it is frequently on sale), the Backyard Coop merits the price due to its exceptional quality. Unlike many commercial chicken coops, this one was clearly designed by people who keep chickens.