When we moved to a new house where I could finally have chickens I jumped at the chance. What that meant in a practical sense was that there wasn't time to build a regular coop first. Nor did I want to pay $400+ for a premade one. So my husband and I came up with the chicken hut.
We started with an 8' 'handy panel' from Tractor Supply
We then bent it over our swing set, making sure to center it.
After that we covered it with a heavy-duty tarp and zip-tied the grommets of the tarp to the panel.
After that we built the perimeter of the chicken's run. We used 2"x4"4' welded wire fencing with 4' and 5' T-posts. The 5' ones worked best, and I'll explain why in a moment. We ended the fence where we wanted to access the coop so that we could move the fence back to walk in.
We didn't get very fancy and just bent the end of the fence back to shut the "gate".
Then we put the 'hut' inside the fence where we wanted it. We used more of the 2"x4"x4' fencing to enclose the run since the coop is open. We simply laid it over the top and zip-tied it down. That is when we realized it would have been best to use 5' T-posts for the whole thing. They stuck up higher than the perimeter fence and so we were able to slide the roof fence on top of it.
All that was left was accessorizing. We hung the water and food containers inside the hut using some scrap copper wire that my hubby had laying around, and used some branches for roosts by just wedging them across the panels.
(The feed container hook is empty because we started feeding them fermented chicken food.)
After we got the chickens settled in we realized that there were a few things that needed to be tweeked. It was very difficult to let the chickens out via the "gate" because it is an acrobatic feat to get through it with the roof fence bent down over it. Carrying a chicken through just wasn't happening everyday. We only let our chickens range inside of our backyard fence; so we cut a little "door" that goes into it.
The other problem we have was that the chickens initially wanted to roost on top of the hut instead of inside it. I was concerned that a predator could get to them that way and so crept into the run and used some extra fencing to kept them from getting around the outside of the hut.
I definitely would suggest doing that prior to putting the roof fence on.
And that's it! So to sum up what I would do differently:
~ Make a framed gate/door to get inside the run
~ Make a framed door for the chickens to get into the back yard
~ Put fencing around the front sides of the hut before putting the roof fence on.
~ Design a way to access eggs. Our pullets haven't started laying consistently yet so it hasn't been a big issue, but when they start we will need easier access.
~ If I were still using dry food I would want a pipe to feed into the feed container so that I didn't have to go inside to refill it.
~ Make a frame to hang the water container on near the gate/door for easier access since it doesn't matter if it gets wet. I don't think the roof is strong enough to hang the water from and that's why I haven't done that so far.
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