I would like to share my outhouse conversion coop with you. This is the old outhouse from my grandmaw's home on Barrett's Mountain, in Taylorsville, NC. The house was built in 1901. I dont know the age of the outhouse, but it's at least 45 years old... That's when my grandparent's bought the house from my great-grandparents, and it was the outhouse in use at the time. Luckily it was on a concrete slab, and had a large overhang on the roof, which prevented a lot of wood rot. It appeared to be in pretty good shape, so I got the bright idea to relocate it. I thought it would look good with my "Meth Lab" (more on that later), so with the help of a friend, we carefully dismantled it, and carried it out of the woods one side at a time.
Once we got all the pieces loaded, we hauled it over to my house, where I began reassembling it. It measured roughly 48" x 48" x 72" tall in the front???.
First, I made a skid as the base. I took a half-sheet of 3/4" plywood (48" x 48") I had left over from building my meth lab, and screwed three runners to the bottom. I made the runners by cutting a 12 foot pressure treated 4" x 4" post into three 48" pieces, then I cut both ends on a 45 degree angle. I drilled a large hole through the ends of all the runners also. That way, if I ever want to drag the outhouse, I can run a rope through the holes and tie it to my mower, truck, etc.
Once my base was made, I had to repair the walls before they could be stood up. They held up pretty good over the years, but they were originally bolted to the concrete slab they sat on. Since I didn't feel like sawing through a bunch of old bolts while getting ate alive by mosquitoes in the woods, I opted to leave the bottom 2x4s on the slab and prying the wall apart. So, I had to cut new sole plates and screw them to the walls. Once that was done, I stood up the walls and Screwed them down to my base.
The entire outhouse is made out of German Lap Siding, but the front and back walls weren't constructed as walls. They just nailed up siding to the freestanding side walls. That would be fine, except I want to be able to take it all apart if I need to again, without prying nails out of each delicate 50 year old piece of wood. So, I had to frame up a simple front wall, then nail my siding to it. After that, I Stood it in place, screwed it to the base, then leveled and flushed it, and screwed it to the side walls. A hook-and-eye holds the door closed.
It now looked like the original outhouse, and I wanted it to stay that way. That meant that any exterior modifications I was going to do needed to be done on the back side. I needed a pop door for the chickens, and I wanted an exterior nest box. I also decided I wanted to put a raised floor inside the coop, so I would have dry storage underneath to keep feed, supplies, etc. But, I wanted it all to be easy to take apart for cleaning, and so on. So, I framed a back wall and screwed the bare frame in place. Then, I screwed a 2x4 to the inside of the side walls 18" off the floor. Next I nailed metal joist hanger brackets to the center studs on the front and back walls, so I would have a removable center support for the "chicken floor". After these three supports were in place, I found a bunch of 10" x 48" 3/4" plywood scraps left from cutting step treads for the meth lab. I cut and notched them out so they fit nicely inside the outhouse, resting on the 2x4 supports.
Once my chicken floor was made, I removed it so I could work on making the pop door and nest box. Back to the meth lab scrap pile, where I found enough odds and ends to construct a 24" long x 14" deep x 14" tall??? nest box, and a 12" x 14" tall??? pop door. I decided on a guillotine style door, in case I want to add an auto-closer later. I made them 12" off the chicken floor (without litter). A 2x4 on the inside and the outside of the wall gives the nest box floor something to rest on, as well as a "porch" for the pop-door. They are screwed down to these 2x4s. The nest box sides are screwed to the wall studs. I used "L-Brackets" to attach the bottom of the nest box to the sides, for fear I might split the wood drilling into the edges. Another 2x4 on top of the nest box inside and out gives me something to screw the top of the nest box to. This top piece is only the width of the thickness of the walls and 2x4s, though. The hinged lid is attached to the upper outside 2x4. Last, I attached the outside back of the nest box to the bottom with hinges, so it can be folded down to easily clean it out. Hook-and-eyes on both ends holds the back wall in place. Hook-and-eyes on both ends of the lid also locks the lid down, hopefully keeping predators out as well. One more eye screwed into the back wall will hold the lid up and out of the way when need be. Back inside, I put a piece of plywood over half the hole of the nest box, in hopes of making it darker inside for them. I also added a lip edge for the door of the box, so eggs wouldn't accidentally roll out.
All that was left to finish the back wall was to nail the lap siding to my new wall frame. This back wall was in the worst shape, so I had to salvage some matching siding from an old house across the street from my other grandmaw's home. Dont worry, nobody has lived there in 30+ years. Plus, I doubt they'll miss a few boards.
Next, I got my friend to help me set the roof back on the outhouse. I squared it up and screwed it in place.
I replaced a few boards here and there, but I wanted it to stay rustic looking, so I left a few cracks and knot-holes. I got some 1/4" hardware cloth and used roofing nails with plastic caps to cover the openings on the inside. I also went around the top, where the roof meets the walls. The walls were made with good ventilation around the top, so the openings were pretty large. One roll of 24" by 10 feet was enough to do the whole coop.
I put the floor slats back in place, and got a small tarp from the dollar store to put down under my litter. It was actually big enough that I folded it in half, and had a few inches I could turn up around the edges. I didnt want litter falling through the cracks of my floor slats into the storage area below, and I wanted a barrier in case a waterer got knocked over or something. Next, I added some pine shavings. It took about 3/4 of a bag to fill it about 3 to 4 inches deep. Now I just need to find some DE. I also screwed a little pywood scrap down to the floor in front of the outhouse door, so when I open it, litter won't fall out into my shoes.
I threw together a little ladder style roost out of a scrap 2x4 and 2 skinny strips of plywood. I made it the width of the front wall with the door opened, which is roughly 24". I think the upper roost is about 10" off the ground. I didnt screw it down, so I can quickly remove it to stir up the litter. It works well, but I need to add a higher roost, because the chickens started sleeping in the nest box sometimes.
I found an old crate at the house I got my extra siding from, so I brought it home to use with the pop door ramp. Without it, the ramp would be too steep, and I was running out of long plywood scraps, so this would have to do. I actually had a second ramp going from the crate to the ground, and most times they bypassed it and jumped straight onto the crate. They get up and down it fine like it is, but I'm going to add some rungs on it for them.
The only things left to do are put on the edge trim boards on the outside corners of the walls, and replace the rotten fascia boards on the roof. The tin is actually still in good shape, and doesnt leak. Once all that is done, I am going to try and white-wash the new wood to try and match it to the existing painted wood. If I have to, I will paint it and sand-blast it to distress it.
Oh, and just so nobody calls the DEA on me, here are a few pictures of "The Meth Lab", where all of my scrap materials came from. It's a 16'x20' two-story storage building I built myself last year, with help from a few friends and family here and there. My friends call it the meth lab cause it's way down in the woods all alone at the back of my property, about 150 yards from my house. It's still a work in progess, but it is "dried-in", and my wife has already managed to nearly fill it up with stuff. I plan on adding a 12' x 20' lean-to down the right side of it this summer, and finish putting the siding on, of course. Plus, I need to put a railing on the porch. After I add the lean-to, I think I will only have about $4000 invested in it. I'll probably move the outhouse down next to it once I finish running water down there (I've already trenched in the pipe).
Anyway, I hope you like my outhouse coop. My three bantams certainly do. Let me know what you think!