We started with the duck hut (the one closer to the ground), then built the chicken hut when I added chickens. They were in front of a bunch of pines and scrub brush. We then had to put a pen around the huts as a family of foxes seems to use our birds to train their new kids how to hunt. Last summer, we had a bunch of pines removed and in the process, the scrub brush was removed too. This left the huts and pen wide open and it just didn't look very nice.
I had several idea and drew out several plans and DH didn't like any of them. Then he suggested converting the garden into a new duck pen. So that's what we did.
The chicken and duck huts before we had to put up a pen
The garden that was re-purposed (this was when it was first built - the grass took over so it was a pain to try to keep the grass from the beds and in the paths)
There was about 5 cubic yards of pea stone in here... I shoveled all that out and used it in beds around the house and then piled up the rest. I shoved a wagon full of that back into the pen today under their hut, I'm sure I'll be moving more back in later)
This year's new additions (fox took the other chickens 2 years ago)
black sex link and barred rock - no ducklings this year)
we cut a lot of wood LOL
Our helper, Abby the great dane - she was never far from us any time we were working on the new pen. The doberman stayed inside and pouted because working on the pen cut in on his walks
On to construction...
materials cut and laid out
The garden had 4' fence posts. Gates and corners were cemented in, so didn't want to pull them. Decided to add to them and sandwich them with 1x4s. (the inside will also be covered with a 1x4 just to make it look cleaner and the front will be faced with deck boards to cover the wood sandwich still)
Moving the chicken hut, put it into the pen with the tractor before we put up the back half, then moved it to where we wanted it by hand before we built the duck portion on
This morning - chicken hut there, adding the duck hut... you can see in the background the old duck hut, we took all the walls and reused them. We had trex decking in the old duck hut, but DH didn't want to reuse that, so we just painted some more deck boards and used those - has worked well in the chicken hut.
pen finished, chicken hut moved in, duck hut added below the chicken hut - will need to add some more ventilation to the duck portion now, but they are fence boards, so there are gaps between the boards for now
Upstairs and downstairs doors open - will only be like this for morning cleanings
another view of everything open. We made the duck portion - each end just opens wide for easy cleaning and egg fetching since the girls don't always lay their eggs in their bin
You can see in the people gate there is a duck/chicken door - lets them in and out, but keeps Abby out preventing her from eating their food and making a mess in the yard after...)
Room enough under the house for the ducks and chicken to hang out when it is scotching hot out. Will add some fast growing something in there that they can hang out under as well.
The duck/chicken door - took a few peas, a bit of shoving and a bit of "fine, figure it out yourself" and all the ducks and the chicken are willingly going in and out the door and know where it is
Mostly finished product this afternoon
need to clean up now - move the old raised garden beds - 3 can be reused somewhere, 1 is totally rotted and the others have a bunch of rotten fence boards, so I'll probably pull those apart and recycle what we can into our wood pile for the next project.
We'll also add the finishing touches that just make it look a bit nicer and add nothing to functionality.
Need to plant some grass in there so it isn't a mud pit (they are only penned at night for the fall/winter/spring and then 24/7 unless in the yard with me out there from June-September during baby fox hunting training season)
Will figure out a pond option for them in there as well. We'll move power to the back side of the pen, so depending on what we do, we will have power for a pump if needed, but their pen pond will be nothing like their back yard raised pond I built them.