I got this crazy idea of wanting to take a dilapidated kids playhouse and re-purposed it to a chicken coop. No, I did not even have chickens, never had chickens. I just thought heck we eat tons of eggs, we are outside constantly, live in the country, have enough room for them to free range, the kids would love it, yada yada yada. I researched tons of websites and forums. Friends referred me to BACKYARD CHICKENS and I got tons more information.
My husband has learned from so many past experiences that he just goes with the flow. His initial comment,” WE ARE NOT DOING CHICKENS! I AM SERIOUS, WE ARE NOT DOING CHICKENS!” I started building a coop and ordered chicks. Stuck now! Then, my husband jumped in and told me I was doing something wrong so I begged for help. Of course he did because in reality he may be as crazy as me. The project took about 6 weeks total, working on it as we could. Guess who finds me cool chickens on Craigslist or by talking to people? Yup him! Love that guy.
Things learned.....BUILD FROM SCRATCH....it would have been cheaper and easier to just build it from scratch. Even with all the FREE items we had or picked up thanks everyone who had "garbage" just lying around. I don’t know exactly how much we spent….ALOT. I stopped counting around $300. Shhhh don’t tell the hubby. Not to mention the wood was warped so NOTHING lined up or measured evenly but we were already in so we powered through.
This coop will be holding 1 polish hen "HENka", 1 Japanese bantams "Nosey Nellie", 2 Silkie bantams "PoopShooter aka Shooter", "Scramble", 6 Seramas (part-time)"Breckenridge"," Copper Mountain" "Zeus", "Fiddle Sticks", "Lambeau", "DaisyDoo", 4 Easter Eggers "Cowgirl", "Mysterious", "Vaminos", "BullsEye". Yes, we have some crazy names......
We cut the legs off the playhouse to bring it down to a reachable size. Painted the inside blue, only because I had a gallon jug of it in the basement, and made a Chicken door opening.
Moved the wood siding around to close exposed areas and open up for doors and poop drawer. The created the beginning of chicken floor.
We covered with hardware wire for the birds to walk on. The poo drops through into the poop drawer for easy removal. Whatever does not fall is easily sprayed out with the hose.
A low and high perch was added and three hen boxes.
I painted the outside (see that blue paint in the sand? That is where my paint sprayer blew up on me. Picture a 5.'6" Smurf for a few days..that was me) and got some river sand straight from the good old Mississippi. Yep, we even kept the rope swing…..
And the roof goes on. I am not a fan of cutting metal. I think I will be gone that day next time….love you honey…..he did say THERE WILL BE NO NEXT TIME. Hahahaha All you ladies know why I am laughing.....we change our mind, our wonderful men take good care of us....maybe with an eye roll or gruff here and there.
Coop is ready until fall when I find some siding to go over wood for better protection in our harsh Midwestern winters. Installed a floor vent and two dryer vents for cross air circulation. Just under the roof line were some openings so I put chicken wire (Did I mention I HATE working with chicken wire? Wait even more I HATE the U shaped nails that you nail that horrible but necessary stuff) up to close the spots until we put siding over those areas.
We made temporary screen doors that remove for easy cleaning and lets cool air in during the hot, humid weather.
Found this idea on BYC using PVC pipe. I put the pie pan underneath since they are little piggies and this helps to catch the mess. I haven’t built anything for the pen at this point I just use and old milk carton and cut a hole in the side as their outdoor feeder. I have a pvc cap for the oyster shells and throw chick feed out on the ground for them. Since they free range I don’t have to worry so much about the outside stuff yet.
*****The plywood behind the feeder is blocking the hen boxes at this point, my chickens are not laying eggs yet, and I don’t want it to be a poopie haven. When I do open it up I will be hanging curtains for the girls privacy. Ok, so I am girly….what can I say?
Also, found on BYC, NIPPLE WATERERS. Utilizing multiple ideas, I bought the nipples on eBay. I found the water barrel at a garage sale with the attachments already on it. Whoot Whoot! Did I get lucky or what? I got two hoses and a double hose connector so I could put one waterer outside and one inside the coop.
THE CHICKEN PEN……used 2x4x8 and went as high as the coop and the length of one 2x4x8. 1x4 to make the shortie door and around the bottom of the coop. So it is 60” wide 8 ft long and 6ft high. There are two perches, a sand box (for dust baths of course), outside waterer, a shortie door for the chicks, and a full sized door for me. We re-purposed the play ladder and added some steps while they are young. We buried the chicken wire 6 inches (I would have l gone further if I did this different and laid wire under the whole coop) around the whole coop and pen. Luckily, we are in an open area and don’t have too many critters other than cows that come close with our dogs and kids…
Back view….that’s my daughter playing with her chickens….she is addicted!
This is the View from my morning coffee table. I am planting fly repellent plants that chickens can eat….they ate my cilantro already. I had thyme planted for a ground cover but with rain I think I may rock the area around the front. And since we are thinking of building a second meat chicken pen….yes I think I am might be chicken crazed…..the rock will go between for better water drainage.
I am sure there are better ideas out there and like I said I will straight build next time but this was a fun (I had fun….my hubby might not agree with that lol) project and we have thoroughly enjoyed our Backyard Chickens.