After viewing several of the beautifully constructed and creatively designed coops in this section, I thought it might be less intimidating for those who might have trouble with basic hammering and sawing to see a more humble, homely and cheaply constructed henhouse that still serves its purpose. When we first got our own chicks about 18 months ago, my husband constructed this henhouse mostly from scraps that he had in his workshop from other projects over the years. Bob placed it in a far corner of our backyard where it is partially hidden behind yaupons and other foliage.
The henhouse measures about 6 x 8 feet and is tall enough for short people to stand up. He purchased used chipboard at the local Habitat for Humanity store for the walls, floor and roof. He painted the exterior with left-over gray house paint, so the structure remotely resembles an outhouse. All it needs to complete the look is a crescent moon carved in the side.
Bob's big mistake was the flat roof, which began serious leaking with recent heavy rains. Last week he replaced the plastic tarp, and covered it with some roof paper he found in the attic. He used duct tape and staples to attach them. In this picture you can see the plastic mesh fence surrounding the outdoor coop area. Since our girls are free-range, this mesh serves as a suggested fence, again mostly when introducing a new hen to the flock. It takes them awhile to realize they can fly over it.
Bob made a simple door (5 1/2 x 2 feet) out of about $2 worth of cedar fence boards. We keep it propped on during the day with a bungy cord, and close it at night with a hook to protect sleeping girls from the night critters. There are ventilation openings (about 3 inches hight) on all four sides just beneath the roof awnings, which are covered with mesh. The cinder blocks in the right foreground are on a small coop that a neighbor built. We occasionally use it as temporary quarters when introducing a new hen to the flock.
On the wall opposite the doorway, there are two roosting shelves, one under the window and one above it. Each shelf has a little lip along the front to protect eggs from rolling off. They are wide enough to hold two or three girls, but we haven't yet put in a permanent divider. There is also a flimsy bamboo ladder, which the girls like to perch on. The window opening is covered with plastic mesh, and it has an outside flap that we keep open in the summer for ventilation, and closed in the winter for insulation. We live in Texas so we don't have to worry about keeping our girls from freezing.
He used leftover linoleum from a recent home improvement project to cover the floor. The bag on the left holds pine shavings, which we use on the floor and roosting shelves for easy cleaning.
Bob installed a triangular roosting shelf to the left of the door. We keep a pan of pellets and water available in the henhouse in case somebody gets hungry or thirsty during the night, before they are let out in the morning.
Here is a view of the henhouse and coop from our house. It is not an eyesore. You really don't notice the duct tape, and the girls don't seem to mind the humble interior at all, as they are happy to lay eggs there. They just don't like to share the roosting shelves. Total cost of the henhouse was about $100. Another $100 for the plastic mesh that surrounds the 15 x 20 foot outdoor coop area. Since our girls are free-range, the enclosed outdoor coop area was an unnecessary expense.