FOR THE BIRDS: Stephen Cummins in front of the chicken run he designed for his feathered friends; Poppy, Mrs Scruffy and Esmeralda.
FOR THE BIRDS: Stephen Cummins in front of the chicken run he designed for his feathered friends; Poppy, Mrs Scruffy and Esmeralda. Renee Albrecht

South American “coup” for Gympie chickens

GYMPIE import, Stephen Cummins has all his ducks in a row... or chickens, as the case may be.

A consummate pet lover and outdoors man, Mr Cummins felt that all the chook sheds on the market were either too expensive, or too small for the average backyard chicken fancier.

That's when he decided to put something together himself.

"Having some chooks around the house is not only pleasant but also provides a tasty source of healthy free-range eggs for breakfast. However there is a need to keep them contained and safe at all times, especially when we are away from home," Mr Cummins said.

Originally from Argentina, Mr Cummins emigrated to Australia 30 years ago and worked as a self employed subcontractor in the building industry for many years.

He settled in Gympie in 1998 when he found the perfect block of land with creek frontage on the Southside.

"Here is where I am going to stay," he said.

These days he likes to leave the tough physical work to younger men but still gets a hankering for construction every now and then.

"My chooks had become my pets. We named them Mrs Scruffy, Esmeralda and Poppy," he said.

But when trying to find somewhere to house his girls, that's where he ran into problems.

"For years we observed that nearly every chook house available on the market was either too expensive or too small," Mr Cummins said.

But then he developed his modular galvanised steel frame system.

"It was economical and spacious but also lightweight," he said.

The smaller cage, can have wheels fitted to move it around, and is 2x3m and at two metres high, makes it easy for adults to get in and out to feed, water and collect eggs.

"Best of all for only an extra $100 we could keep expanding our coup, allowing us to go to any length we wanted," Mr Cummins said.

The coups are covered with a UV resistant cloth roof and give the chickens shelter from the sun and rain.

Mr Cummins said the strong galvanised steel frame is highly adaptable and the 25mm hex PVC coated wire mesh is easy to work with and blends in to the surroundings.

The cages come as a flat pack with the standard module measuring 2x3m.

"It comes with easy to follow assembly instructions and everything you need to complete a fully enclosed chicken run," he said.

Feedback on his chicken coups have been positive and a little unexpected.

"The run is so versatile in its uses that it attracted many other pet owners. I was pleasantly surprised to find people buying the run for cats, small dogs, calves, goats and even possums"

"It gave me the peace of mind of knowing that when I came home from work, my pets would be safe. And the added bonus? Fresh eggs for tea!"he said.

Mr Cummins runs his business from his shop at 7 Woodbine St, Gympie.