My family moved out to our farm in Iowa about two years ago and it was a fixer upper, but look at this little goody! This 15x25 hen house was built by my neighbor's great grandfather and is around 100 years old. I had always wanted to keep chickens, and when I found the Iowa Blue breed I couldn't resist trying to save the coop. What makes this hen house so unique is that it is the last original building on the property, and from the research I've done there are no remaining brick hen houses left in North Iowa.
It doesn't look like much in the first series of photos, but over the course of the year many things were done to the building to make it serviceable. There are no pictures of it before I started work on the coop, but by the time the first picture was taken I had already put a lot of work into the building. The property used to be a commercial dairy goat farm and the hen house was used to hold some of the goats, so the first thing on the to-do list was shovel out 3 foot of goat manure. It was then power washed 3 times and sanitized before we could go forward with the restoration. You'll also notice there is an attached building on the east side of the coop. It also had to be demolished.
Finally, we were able to start working on it June 2013 after the rains decided to lift up. We reframed all the windows (using as much of the old wood as possible) and installed hardware cloth. We used barn sash windows and attached hinges so we could open them to allow for more ventilation. The copula and skylights are also original.
In this photo you can see that some of the mortar has crumbled over the years and needs to be replaced, to the point that a few of the blocks are resting on the door frame. This is the only part of the whole building that had fallen into complete disrepair. Otherwise, this quaint little coop has held up well considering its age.
Even though these doors were no longer functionable, I liked the idea of dutch doors and replaced them with the same idea. As soon as I get a picture of the new doors I'll post it. It's currently monsooning outside .
Next came the building of the breeding pens. After much deliberating, I decided I was going to stick with two breeds; Iowa Blues and Blue Wheaten Ameraucanas. This meant I needed 4 pens; an Ameraucana pen, 2 Iowa Blue, and one brooder/grow out pen.
This is pretty much what it looks like today so far, save a fresh coat of white paint to the wood areas along with new dutch doors and screen doors. We've also installed electricity. It still does need a new roof, and that is this summer's project. It took us a while to come up with a name for our acreage, and after a few ideas we came up with Rosewood after all of the wild rose bushes in our grove. So, you may ask: what came first, the chicken or the coop? The chickens of course! They lived through the renovations right along with the rest of us. I think they enjoy their new place, what do you think?
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