I thought some of you may be interested in seeing the coop I designed and built using old pallets. I'm petty handy so after looking at too many coop plans to count I decided to design and build my own incorporating the features I wanted for my small flock of 4-7 chickens. For starters, I wanted to be able to stand up and walk around in the coop for gathering eggs and cleaning as well as have a number of swing out windows and permanently open venting. I live on a heavily wooded property with an abundance of wildlife so needed the entire run to be covered and completely predator-proof as the chickens are only able to free range when I am outside. Working alone, the coop and run took me about 6 weeks to complete, including attaching and burying all the hardware cloth. The only thing I didn't have time to do last fall was to add reclaimed wood siding to the exterior of the coop so I will do that in the spring. The coop measures approximately 4'W x 7-1/2'D x 6'H and the run is 8'W x 9'D.
I keep the food and water in the run so the coop is nice and dry. I am using the deep litter method and it is working very well. Before I added the pine shavings I lined the coop floor with a rubber-backed rug cut to size. It will make changing the litter in the spring much easier. I live in east central Minnesota so since I used pallets for the walls I tacked up twine and lined the recessed interior areas of the coop with straw to add some winter insulation. I also lined all but the front run walls with plastic to act as a windbreak during the winter months.
The following photos give a general idea of my process. The girls seem to be enjoying their new home and laying nicely, too!
UPDATE - DETAILS FOR ADDING STRAW INSULATION: I've attached a photo below of the area above the nesting boxes showing how I added the straw insulation (straw had not yet been added above the left nesting box in the photo). To begin, I tied a knot in the end of a long piece of baling twine and stapled it several times to the upper left corner of the area to be filled with straw. Then, while holding the twine taut, I stapled the twine 3-4 times to the center of the lower area of the space. After making sure the twine was secured tightly so the chickens could not pull it out I continued the twine up to the upper right corner of the space, pulled it across the vertical pallet board and down again to the center of the area above the right nesting box. I again stapled the twine several times, made sure it was tight, then continued it back up to the upper right corner of the space. I continued this zig-zag pattern around the entire interior area of the coop wherever there was a recessed area for me to put straw. I also added some straw to the two rectangular areas under the open venting in the photo. I did not add twine to these two spaces as they are narrow enough for the straw to stay in place. I also stuffed straw behind the nesting boxes. When I remove the straw in the spring I will also take down all of the twine to be sure the chickens do not get tangled in it. One more thing... I highly recommend wearing a dust mask when lining the walls with straw as separating straw bales produces a lot of dust!
Cozy Rustic Pallet Coop
Building a cozy, rustic coop out of pallets.