I recently acquired three day-old bantams: a Silver Sebright, a Splash Silkie, and a Black Silkie. I already have a flock of 5 older large fowl pullets in a large-ish walk in coop with an attached welded wire run.
Of course, I envision a chicken utopia where all eight of my feathered friends love each other and otherwise get along famously. And my current set up has plenty of room for all of my chickens. But utopia takes time. Rome, after all, wasn't built in a day. So in the meantime, I needed a grow out coop that might end up being permanent if my utopian dreams fail to become reality.
Here's what I knew I wanted for the new coop:
Sounds easy! Small coops have to be easier to build than walk in ones. Right? Right?!
- At least 2 sq ft per bantam
- Plenty of ventilation (since my climate is very hot during summers)
- An elevated platform (since it will be contained in the run, and I'd like to conserve ground space)
- A gabled roof because of where it needs to be placed in the run
- Doors that open completely to allow for easy cleaning/access
- It needs to be made out of recycled materials to save resources (ie: money)
Well, a few weeks ago, my neighbors decided to get a new hot tub and dismantled their old one. They saw an old, icky plywood surround. I saw an opportunity! I salvaged what I could (which wasn't much) and started planning.
That's the thing about using recycled materials: it's nearly impossible to draw up any plans until you know what you have to work with. I ended up with smallish pieces, the largest of which were 36" × 30". The rest were 36"x18" or smaller. I also had a few odds and ends leftover from other projects.
I didn't need much space for three little bantams, but I knew I'd have to put two of these pieces together to make a foundation or walls anywhere near big enough. So I decided to make two halves of a coop and attach them together on an elevated base. Based on the pieces of wood I had at my disposal, I figured out I could do a 3ft x 3ft cube, more or less. To create a gabled roof, I calculated for a rather shallow slope simply because I didn't have much to work with.
I cut the first 4 pieces using a table saw. I cut half a base (36"×18"), a back wall (36"×30"), and 4 pieces for 2 sides (30"×18") and connected them using either 2x2s or 1x2s. Here's what resulted:
The wood is filthy, but I knew I'd clean it up and paint it eventually.
I then made a second half, but left off one end for doors. The two halves were joined by 2x4s. I attached hardware cloth across the top of the cube (using a combination of staples and roofing nails) knowing I would be using metal roofing and wanted to create ventilation by leaving the roof open and not covering the coop with a continuous sheet of plywood. I ripped bits of plywood as roof supports. Here's what I had after that step. The two pieces in front became the doors.
At this point, I had the whole thing up on four 2ft 4x4s. This was only temporary because I knew this wouldn't be steady enough. I just didn't want to have to work on the ground. The pics I took of the base I made for it didn't turn out well, but they're the only ones I have, so they are below. I made a basic frame of 2x2s with 4 cross supports. I then attached the 4x4s to each corner with brackets to make it steady.
The windows were next. I used a jig saw to cut windows on both sides and in each of the doors. I left the back wall solid, again, because of where it would need to be placed inside the run. I attached hardware cloth to the window holes using staples. Later, I used screws to sandwich the hardware cloth between the wall and the trim. I also used construction adhesive just to make it that much stronger.
Next, I made the doors using trim from ripped plywood. I took pieces of the door to the old hot tub's machinery (red siding-type material) and cut it to fit the door. That is the only aspect of this coop that is solely for decoration. Everything else is purely functional. The hinges were leftover from another project, too. They are designed to be "outside" hinges. I needed "inside" hinges. I figured out that if I flipped them "backwards," they would work. I attached the doors to the front and added a hasp and a barrel closure. I plan on locking the coop using a tumbler lock through the hasp, keeping the doors together.
The above pics show the roof. It is a leftover section from my first coop. I had to make a ridge cover for the gabled roof. THAT was difficult. I cut off a strip from the roof panel using tin snips. I only got about a quarter of the way through when it became impossible for me to advance the snips. Out of desperation, I tried using a box cutter. I scored the panel for several minutes, going over and over and over the score line. Eventually, I found I could bend the panel enough to make it snap, much like cutting tile or vinyl flooring. I put the makeshift ridge cap over a gap in the two roof panels and used long roofing screws to screw down through the ridges and into the roof supports. It isn't perfect, but since the whole coop would be inside a fully covered run, I figured it didn't need to be perfect. Here it is set up in the covered run:
At this early stage, the babies (who I've dubbed The Monochrome Gang as they are all variations of black and/or white) don't much care for it, but a few more days inside of it will fix that. It has to be better than the stuffy and kinda dark isolation pen.
Bottom line is that it works. It ain't perfect, but it keeps them safe at night. Bonus: the only expense was for a tube of construction adhesive - about $3.00.
If this gal can build a decent little coop in a few days using almost entirely recycled and salvaged materials, anyone can!
Thanks for reading!
Recent User Reviews
"Recycling? - No, Upcycling!"
- 5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 12, 2019
Fantastic job! You took some scrap that other's would have thrown on the dump and built a beautiful chicken-coop out of that. And you took a lot of pictures during the built and invested the time to write this article. Thank you very much for that!