This is a story of the ultimate in recycling! When we bought our house in November, there was a garden shed next to the house that had been used as a dog house for the former owners’ numerous large dogs. Our plan was to just tear it down, but after we got the chickens and started thinking about building a coop, we realized that the shed would make the perfect coop! Here’s the shed before we moved it (the names painted on the inside of the door were apparently the names of the former home owners’ dogs):
Then, after we tore most of the siding off to prepare it for moving:
Moving the shed was QUITE a project! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that whole process because it was “all hands on deck” to help get it moved. We basically shimmied the shed up onto a small trailer, then we very carefully towed the trailer and shed over to the location where we wanted it, and then pushed it off the trailer. It took five adults and about an hour and a half. The shed got pretty torn up in the process, but it was mostly intact. Here’s where the shed was and where we relocated it:
When we pushed it off the trailer, it was still several feet from where we actually wanted it to sit, so Rick and I “MacGuyvered” it into place using several 2x4s, a 4×4, some plywood, ratchet straps, and a jack. I must say, I think it was pretty impressive that we managed to move it that far all by ourselves! Here it is after we got it settled. You can see it was pretty crooked after all the moving around:
Then, it was time to start fixing! Rick replaced several of the studs because some were rotten or broken, and he also replaced the four pieces that rest directly on the ground with treated wood. Then he spent quite a bit of time trying to get it back into square. It never really did get square again, but it got as close as he could get it. We also kept with the recycling theme by tearing out some wood from our barn to use as the floor of the new upper part of the coop. Here are a few pictures of that process:
We continued along with the building by putting in the floor for the upper part of the coop, putting the old doors back on the shed so we can have access to the indoor area for cleaning, putting up a wall for the indoor area with a chicken entrance, and putting in an access door for us to use. You can see the “un-squareness” of the coop next to the person-sized door. That was the only way to get the door square. It might look a little funny, but it works.
To keep our girls safe, we dug down about 14 inches and placed chicken wire all the way around the perimeter of the coop, and then stapled it to the base of the coop. Hopefully that will keep animals from digging under to get to the chickens. We added the small mesh wire all the way around as well. We wanted to be sure that something like a snake couldn’t get through the fencing. You can see we also put in a chicken-sized door to let them in and out once we have their paddocks all set up.
Here are some pictures of the coop as it is now with the girls happily living in it. We are going to paint it (red and white) and probably build new doors for the back to replace the original shed doors since those doors don’t shut very easily. We will add another window and plan on installing nesting boxes this weekend or next. The girls will probably start laying by the end of next month, so we need to be ready. We also put in a couple of misters that we can turn on when it’s really hot. The girls don’t like the water and don’t like getting wet, but the misters do help to cool off the air in the coop. The bad news is that it gets the ground really muddy, so we usually don’t leave the misters on for more than a couple of hours at a time.
There’s one window which is both wire mesh and plexiglass. It can be opened when they need some fresh air and closed when it’s cold outside.
Here’s a view of the back and some pictures of the inside. There are a couple of roosting bars and the nesting boxes will go on the wall opposite the window and roosting bars.
Rick put in a 2×4 at the base of the doors to allow for easy cleaning. Just place a large box or trash can up to the door, remove the 2×4, rake all the pine shavings out into the trash bin, then replace the 2×4 and refill with pine shavings! Genius!
And finally, this is a shot of where we’ll be putting in the paddock areas. We will run some fencing through the area with the trees to allow for three or maybe four separate paddocks that can all be accessed from a single “hallway” that leads directly from the chicken-sized door on the coop. We also plan on covering the fenced areas with some kind of lightweight fencing (maybe deer fencing?) to keep the chickens from flying out and to keep larger birds from swooping down for a snack.
I hope you enjoyed these photos of our coop building saga! It’s been quite a process, but our chickens love it and if they are happy, we are happy!