We aren't the kind of people who can just drop a couple thousand dollars on a new coop. But never fear! When we bought our new micro-farm, it came with THIS!
Even more exciting, this aesthetically noxious, junky shed was filled to the gills with more junk! But if you know me, you know that every negative is really just a well-hidden positive. Among the junk we found lots of nice, usable wood.
We started by cleaning it out. Then the exterior really needed some help! The plan was to make the exterior perimeter of the building completely predator proof. We shored up rotted pieces of wood, put hardware cloth over all the openings in the eves and checked every inch for holes. We went to our local home and garden store and found a 5 gallon bucket of poop-brown "oops" paint made specifically for rotted wood exteriors! Totally stole it for about $25! And you can see why someone else returned it! LOL!
The only drawback was that the finished product looked like... um... poop. So I did some brain storming to figure out how to de-poopify my future coop. I breed Swedish Flower Hens... soooooo... this is what I came up with:
Next we used a shelf that was already in the structure and made a brooder on top and a grow-out pen on the bottom. That sexy wood paneling that helps keep the bedding in place came with the rest of the junk on the property. We have matching pieces on the walls of our living room.
Then came the 3 pens on the right side:
But we had a little bit of a conundrum. I'm only 5'0" tall and the brooder is kind of high up. We placed the door in the center so that when I am standing on a stool, I can reach into all corners of it... but that takes away space from another pen... or does it?
Dual purpose build out of scrap wood - it is both a stool for me to stand on AND a nest box! We did have to buy a piano hinge for this.
You can see in the below picture that the scrap wood is warped... but the chickens haven't complained yet! This tiny pen is perfect for my 4 Silkies. It looks tiny, but considering they all pile into a single nest box each night, it seems to be just enough.
View of the new pens from the brooder:
Of course with limited space in the aisle, I needed a creative way to store my bedding fork and broom.
Luckily for us some folks who rented our property before we bought it had horses!
NO - I do NOT recommend this kind of setup for your runs. This is a temporary solution. It is not particularly dog or predator proof. Since I'm at home most of the time, I monitor what is going on in my yard, so for me this is enough for a short-term solution. Once we can afford it (it could be a while - LOL) we'll replace this setup with well-built runs.
So that's how the Swedish Gingerbread Coop came to be!
(Oh - do you see it? We scored a torn up marine tarp for free! It makes the perfect shade and hawk-deterrent for the larger pens!)