Solway coops and runs

The place to discuss chicken coops and runs.

Moderators: Marigold, victorias poultry

Bantams=Banter
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:31 pm

Solway coops and runs

Post by Bantams=Banter » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:23 pm

I know there's been requests for opinions on the Solway coops and runs before, but as far as I can see, not for a while.

I'm getting money from all my nearest and dearest for Christmas with a view to getting a garden set up in the new year.

I'm thinking bantams (max 4)

So, can I please have everyone's opinions of the Solway coops and runs, because I think they look ace...

Cheers in advance!
1 x hubby
2 x children
3 x cats
5 x guinea pigs
2 x chickens
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 5846
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Marigold » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:23 pm

I have no experience with Solway, but have heard good recommendations of them. As far as I'm concerned, at least they're plastic! Mine is a Green Frog, I've always been very happy with it and so have the hens, so far as I know. So easy to keep clean, well ventilated, and I've never had redmite in it. I would never willingly go back to wooden ones.
User avatar
chrismahon
Forum Guru / Wise Bird
Posts: 4882
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 10:29 am

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by chrismahon » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:49 am

We have an old Solway which we bought second-hand from Margaid (member of this forum) Bantams=Banter. Very solid it is indeed. Ventilation is OK for UK and the pop-hole and door is secure. Minor downsides:- the access door is small so cleaning out is awkward, particularly when the coop is on the floor; the door leaks in driving rain because it has no seal so the floor needs wet bedding taking out on occasions, but at least the floor won't rot; the internal nest box (removed on ours) makes cleaning out even more awkward. It would be fine for 4 bantams- we have two large fowl in ours and there is easily room for another.

Would I buy another? Yes if the price was right because, although it has minor issues it does work sufficiently well, but that would mean buying second hand for me. Our neighbour thinks it looks like an old fashioned oil central heating boiler (as it's been fitted with an external nest box which looks like a burner unit) but we think it looks OK, although we do prefer apex roofed wooden coops.
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 5846
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Marigold » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:51 am

In the light of Chris's post, I find my Green Frog answers most of those problems. Build quality is excellent - mine is several years old now and functionally as good as new, I can't see how it could ever wear out. Ventilation is very good, as the roof has a 1" continuous strip of space between the top and the walls - the roof bends and overlaps the edges and is supported on small protrusions on the top of the walls. There are 4 adjustable ventilators as well, and also the door can be adjusted from fully open down to closed - it's a triangle supported on the apex, very easy to adjust if needed. The back side removes easily and completely, making daily poo picking and occasional more thorough cleaning a doddle. The two nestboxes are external, removable and come to bits when thorough cleaning is necessary. Two perches, slotted through the walls, easily removed. My run is under cover, so rain isn't an issue, but I would imagine it would be as waterproof as any other coop. I would like it to be higher off the ground, but you could always set it up on concrete blocks, to make more room underneath for the hens and to make bending down easier when attending to cleaning. I have the Medium one, which has plenty of room for up to 6 hybrid-sized birds. (Beware - many coop manufacturers wildly overstate the number of birds their coops will hold.) GF comes in various colours - each to his own, but the green and black version fits well into the garden colour scheme.
I would recommend a roof on your run if possible - the hens and their keeper stay dry, clean and comfortable, there's no mud to contend with, food doesn't get mouldy, and if you can completely exclude wild birds you won't get redmite. (They shake the mites off their feathers when they perch on a mesh roof, or if they're able to enter the run to eat and pollute the chickens' food.) And if you use 1/2" mesh for the walls, and also lay this under the floor, you will be protected from predators burrowing in, mice, rats or foxes. Put permeable weed proof membrane over the mesh on the floor, peg it down well with metal tent pegs, then top this up with Aubiose (shredded hemp) or any other dry bedding. Lovely, soft and warm for the girls!
Oh, and make the run as big as you possibly can - nobody ever says their run is too big! We recommend 2 sq. metres of run space per bird, and this ratio is especially important for small numbers of birds in little runs where there's less room for them to escape dominant hens.
Margaid
Full Member
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Margaid » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:57 am

Actually it was third hand when Chris bought it as I found it second hand on eBay. It was an early version of the Eco Hen House which now have external nest boxes as standard. If you look at this one on the Solway website you can see the access door that Chris mentions. I had it raised off he ground but well secured as it was in a field and quite exposed. The only problem is that you wouldn't be able to stand up in the run, which makes cleaning out very uncomfortable. So you may be better of putting the hen house inside a taller run, either built yourself or maybe one from Green Frog - the Green Frog site keeps crashing so I can't give you any details. The Solway houses are of course built from recycled plastic. I only sold it becaue I had to give up keeping hens :cry: :cry:

Marigold's beaten me to it - I bought the Solway in 2012 ...
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 5846
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Marigold » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:56 pm

I don't know where you live, B-B, but found this ad on Preloved. It'd in a village a few miles N. of Swansea, convenient for the M4 if you live in Wales or the Midlands.
http://www.preloved.co.uk/adverts/show/ ... og%2Bcoops
Bantams=Banter
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Bantams=Banter » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:37 pm

Thank you all for the information and insight!

I'm surprised nobody mentioned any Omlet products, but I'm also pleased because I absolutely can't afford anything of theirs!! :D

I'm also looking at Cosy Coops, but I'm worried they look a bit flimsy...

Mucking out won't be a problem because I have 100sq ft flagged area at my disposal to move it around on so I can disinfect one area while the run is on another...

I'm going to faff about this, I can feel it in my bones... :-)07

Oh, and we're in the North West
1 x hubby
2 x children
3 x cats
5 x guinea pigs
2 x chickens
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 5846
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Marigold » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:04 pm

just my opinion, but I think Omlet coops are over-priced, over-insulated, poorly ventilated, (just a few small holes in the sides) and don't have proper perches - the hens have to sit on a sort of plastic squared toast rack which catches the poo and is hard to clean. I have used a small Omlet coop, which would have been OK for a broody coop but was inadequate for the three hens it was supposed to hold. We also had someone on the Forum here, who was devastated when a weasel or stoat came up through the 1" drainage hole in the base of the nestbox in one of the ground-level coops, and killed the hen inside.
Be aware that hens get in a flap if you move the coop round. I've only moved mine once, and the hens spent ages looking at where it used to be, the Leghorn kept on jumping up in the air to try to find it in the clouds, and none of them seemed to notice that it was just a few feet away in a different corner of the run. I had to physically put them to bed that night or they would have camped out in their old corner!
Bantams=Banter
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Bantams=Banter » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:51 pm

Gosh, I had no idea about that!! But I suppose it makes sense... So would you suggest I kept the set up in one place, disconnected the run once a week, and gave the floor a good disinfect??
1 x hubby
2 x children
3 x cats
5 x guinea pigs
2 x chickens
Icemaiden
Full Member
Posts: 653
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:05 am

Re: Solway coops and runs

Post by Icemaiden » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:07 pm

Does anyone know anything good or bad about Arkus plastic coops please?

Father Christmas might finally be persuaded to bring me a new coop so long as he doesn't have to bring me any more Christmas or birthday presents for the next three years!
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
Post Reply

Return to “Chicken Houses, Runs & Equipment”