Our coop is small, with only two nest boxes ( you can see it here:http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/crossgirls-chicken-coop) and we found it inconvenient for the broody hens to be occupying those two boxes so often. So, we set about trying to find something to refashion into a broody house. We ended up deciding on a garage sale dresser that we had been storing in the spare room for when the oldest went off to college. Well he didn't go, and didn't need a dresser, so broody house it is!!
First we deconstructed the dresser (we being the guy part of the operation).
The bottom, top and the back were all removed. Five of the six drawers were also removed as well as the middle support bar for the middle drawers. We replaced the bottom with hardware cloth for easy cleaning and ventilation. The left back and drawer space were also covered in hardware cloth to make a screened room for mother and chicks. We left the right side intact and cut in a pop door on the left side. As you can see, looking into the nest box, the supports for the drawers are still there to give support to the coop. The hens hop over that bar to get in the nest, the chicks go under it.
The roof was created from the original dresser top and a spare board we'd squirreled away from something or other. Piano hinges are covered with flexible rubber sheeting to keep the rain out. The top opens all the way or can be propped open with the attached hinged board. (Which I still need to paint!) This coop is in a low spot, so we opted to raise it up on cinder blocks. Alternatively, we could have placed the legs in cans or plastic tubs to keep them from eventually rotting. The blocks made it a more people friendly height.
A different view:
For the right side, we replaced the back panel and the bottom drawer. We covered the open space from the top two drawers and the back with wood that was previously removed from the dresser, either a bottom or the back piece. The bottom drawer is now a nest box! The drawer slides out for easy cleaning. As you can see there are hooks to keep little vermin from opening the drawer and there is hardware cloth below the drawer for the same reason. In the winter, we lined it with newspaper to make it less drafty.
This is what it looks like in there. Very cozy! Now that the chicks are out, all of the other hens are using this coop for a nest box, even the production reds..
Briefly, we had two mommas sharing the coop. A divider was placed down the middle of the drawer to keep the chicks seperate but this didn't work out for long as each hen thought the other had better food and the little btw jap., Holly, didn't care for Gracie, the buff brahma's chicks and would thump them on their little heads. If the hens were not banties, it wouldn't have worked at all due to the size constraints.
And here is the finished coop with door closed. That's Gracie there ready to rejoin her chicks after an afternoon romp. Because we have hawks, we can't leave the roof open in order for her to hop in and out. As you can see, we've had to add a makeshift ramp for the chicks to come and go. The roof and the pop door have latches that can be secured at night.
Trim boards add support and cute factor as does pretty paint, a flag and a little planter. The only expenses for this project were a roll of hardware cloth, the drawer hooks and a quart of peach exterior paint. Everything else, we already had. Remember hoarders, errrrr, kids, never throw anything away!!