We had a shed in the garden, a common shed in a fairly common garden in the middle of England. Nothing remarkable to say about this shed, it even had a leaking roof similar to many other sheds. Contrary to many of the gardens/yards shown in other blogs ours is not measured in hundreds of feet, a common plot size in England is about 100 feet from street to back fence and between 30 and 60 foot across. Our total plot including the house, parking etc is 60x100feet. This is actually considered quite large. Engand is a densly populated country with high property prices.
Then came the thought of keeping chickens, at this time this thought didn't include the shed, we found ourselves an Eglu on eBay and kept three hybrid layers in that. We were happy, we didn't really have a clue what we were doing but they where eating food and laying eggs.
This is out eglu, and in fact one of the only photos I have which includes the shed to become coop. Lots of photos taken out in the garden, but very few including this part. This photo was taken to list on eBay when we were selling it. When it was in use the plastic roofing you can see leaning against the shed was fixed over the top of the run which kept it dry.
Well, they did for a while, all sorts of things went wrong, and we ended up with no chickens (but a whole lot of experience!)
Then one day, somehow, we agreed that it would be a good idea to sell the eglu (which at the time was vacant) and remodel the shed into a coop and build a run onto the side. This sounded simple enough, but then other requirements were stated and I, being the one who was to implement this plan, became a little unsure of things.
But, being unsure of how it will all work out has never stopped me before and so with my wife providing useful support (providing the requirements) and having taken a week off work I set about the task in hand.
First, the shed must come down... and so it did.
Having played a bit with the design I realised that in its current form the shed wouldn't allow us to put a covered run tall enough the walk into and so the shed would require a remodel. The shed ends looked like this
But what I really wanted was a pent shed roof. We also needed the windows in a different place, the door on the other end, a wall in the middle of the shed so we can still use half for storage, and ....
So work commenced on the site that the shed would sit on. The shed was here before but was sat on timber bearers on the soil and had rotted a bit. The long side of the shed was against the metal fence on the left and the short apex end was against the wood fence. It's going to turn 90 degrees and so the long side will be against the wood fence.
By this time I had laid a few paving slabs which would be the floor of the storage part of the shed and a trench had been dug for the remainder of the walls and laying of foundations had begun.
For reference the paving slabs are were the eglu was before the photo above.
Quick layout thoughts.
The space between the patio slabs and the metal fence is about 8x6 feet. I am going to build the three sides of the shed (the two ends and the back wall against the wood fence), put up some joists and roof it. This will make it look like a shelter. I am then going to enclose the area of the patio slabs to make a small shed.
The space between the slabs and the metal fence is the coop area, the floor of which will be raised off the gound by about 30-36" (depends how it goes, what's lying around at the time etc) This is why that area is not paved - its going to be avaialble for the chickens as part of the run.
The area between the shed and where the plastic bags are now (full of rubble) will be the run, it's going to be about 13' long (length of the shed) by about 8'. Adding on the area under the coop this gives us a run size of about 152 square feet and a coop size of about 48 square feet. So about 12 chickens tops, however our plans at the moment are 6 full size hybrids (going for eggs) and six bantams (get chicks and raise them from very young ourselves - the children will love this)
As said I took a week off work to do all of this, but due to complications in taking the shed appart (it wasn't just screwed, lots of glue was in there as well) I ran out of time and so this is now a part time as and when I can task. I think its going to be another four weeks before its going to be ready including paint drying time etc.
And now it's later, it's 25/03/2011 at this point (ok, it is here in the UK, in the US it's still 03/25/11) and the shape of the shed has gone from being in my mind to being real and the size of it and how it fits into the space is realisable.
And now all the rambling above becomes obvious, the space on the right over the paved area will be the shed for storage etc. The area with the dirt floor will be the raised chicken coop with access to the ground for the chickens. The shed is about 12.5 foot long and 6 foot wide, the chicken's area is about 8x6' and the shed is 4.5x6 foot. The dimensions are all driven by what was free and available.
You can see the bottom few slats have been replaced, and also the floor plate is all new. It means pressure treated wood is sitting on concrete blocks, it will be bolted down to those (not that it's going anywhere) before I put the roof on which is the next job.
Then the two remaining walls for the shed area will go up and then it all gets painted with shed paint of some description. Depends what I can scrounge at church on Sunday.
Want to get on with it, it's been nice weather for three weeks now, can't continue for much longer, this is England after all and we normally have weather much less condusive to outside work like this.
16 April 2011
OK, so this is going a bit slower than expected. The roof has been on for a week or so after framing of the shed part was done:
Over the last week the shed has been clad and space for the glass left in place, we have the glass left over from a previous green house, it's not going in until all of the construction is done to avoid breakage.
And today I got out and this morning I framed the floor for the coop part and this afternoon sorted out the chipboard for it.
And floor all done;
Chipboard wouldn't have been my first choice, but we had it already, and I was able to rescue good bits. For example there is quite a damaged board visible under the floor frame in one of this images, I got one of the six boards from that. I was lucky in that I was able to get exactly the right number of boards from what I had salvaged from when I took the shed apart - some of the sheets where in quite a state.