Jim Howard wasn’t happy with the quality of the coops offered at the big box stores, so he built a custom coop for the family, and that idea has since blossomed into dozens of custom coops for area families. They do all kinds of customizations, but the main thing that sets them apart is they pride themselves on using only top quality materials. If you ever stop by, you’ll notice their resident “Chicken Inspector” Henrietta is there for quality control!
“It’s a family operation,” said master craftsman Jim. “The grandkids all love to help. We have Karly 5, Oliver 4, and baby Ryan always trying to help in any way they can! The biggest thing that makes us different is we are using quality materials. The wind storm blew over one of my coops, rolled it end to end for 120 feet and it only damaged a couple hinges. I was pretty happy with that!”
“Our coops are all built with #1 yellow pine and put together with 3 inch coated screws. Heavier wire secure it with 1 1/4 inch staples so it doesn’t come off as easily as what you might buy at big box stores that might use 1/2 inch staples for example. The roofing material is a polycarbonate panel that holds up very well. We get 90% of our wood from Parker’s Lumber there in Devine as it is much better quality than the big box stores too.”
“The other thing that sets us apart is we are building bigger and bigger coops that are on wheels,” Jim adds, “You can move them every day, so there’s always fresh grass and bugs below them. The largest mobile coop we built is 8×12 so far. We can add a water feature, internal or external nesting boxes, extra doors, just about anything, and paint it any color.”
The idea for a quality and fun custom coop took off quickly.
“As folks came by our place to buy chickens or eggs they would comment on the coop Jim built and ask to buy one,” said wife Jennifer. “Jim had the idea to start building chicken coops full time last year in February and our daughter Amanda came up with the name for the business.”
With the circumstances of this past year, we all look at the value of gardens and raising chickens a little differently.
“With the pandemic a lot of folks decided they needed to be more self-sufficient and business has been great. In 10 months last year we built 60+ coops,” Jennifer said.
“I think the pandemic made people realize they can’t depend on someone else to feed them. They need to look at ways to feed themselves and chickens are just a small portion of that,” Jim adds.”My favorite coop is one of the chicken tractors we built for ourselves,” said Jim. “We nicknamed’ the log cabin’ because it reminds me of Lincoln Logs with the reddish color and green roof. It is a 4×12 on wheels, but I also added a watering system to it. The run is half covered and half open and it’s just a really nice coop.”
If you are thinking about getting your own flock, you’ll be delighted to know the experts say chickens start laying eggs as soon as 4-6 months.
“The chicken tractors (mobile coops) were very popular but now the walk-in coops have become our biggest seller. We have sold/delivered coops to folks as far as Houston and Austin area as well as Uvalde and even Harlingen. A lot of folks in San Antonio have bought coops to put in their backyards. I work as a nurse full time (3 days a week) so I only work on the coops part time. Jim and Iggy work on them 5 days a week,” Jennifer adds.
They also do custom builds as requested by customers for other pets.
“We have built a ‘catio’, several doghouses, an iguana enclosure, rabbit pens, duck pens and even a guinea pig pen.
If you have any other questions please feel free to call or message us.”
There are a lot of pictures on Facebook featuring the awesome and creative designs of this homegrown, family business! It is located at 208 Naegelin Road in Lytle. Just call first to make sure someone is there.
Jennifer (210) 471-1773 or Jim Howard (210) 262-6073 for questions.
By Kayleen Holder