*First time chicken haver
*Mixed flock of 12 chickens- 11 Hens and 1 Rooster. Hens include- 2 Australops, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Barred Rock, 1 Dominique, 1 ISA Brown, 1 Buckeye, 1 Golden Laced Wyandotte, 1 Easter Egger, and 1 Black Jersey Giant. The Rooster is a Barred Rock.
*The flock is almost 3 months old
*Location: Central Washington
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to present “The Odd Angle” chicken house and run. So called because I am pretty sure there isn’t a true 90 degree angle in sight!!!
So I planned, preplanned, replanned, gave-up, started over, decided to buy, decided to build, then finally had to do something! I finally settled on converting the lean-to type shed that is attached to another older shed.
*Just a side note- I inherited my childhood home after my mother died about 14 years ago. My mother had hoarder tendencies her whole life which got worse once the kids were gone. Luckily it was mostly things that she thought she could use/reuse etc, and not too much trash. That being said, it was pretty overwhelming just cleaning the house so the outbuildings were really neglected because I did not need them…Until now!?!
First thought is that the lean-to could house chickens and the white shed could be used for storage. Upon further inspection the white shed has been slowly leaning to the east, apparently for some time. It has started to sink in one corner and actually is pulling away from the lean-to. Scratch that plan! SO Let’s focus on the lean-to.
The inside measurements are 7 feet wide, 8 feet long, and a ceiling from 6 feet high to about 4 feet high. The “floor” was pieces of scrap wood set on dirt. Let me just add it was full. I did not realize how full until I started cleaning it out. Rolls of chicken wire (yay!), small squared heavy duty hardware cloth-like wire (yay x2), useful scrap wood (yay x3), baling wire (yay x4), lawn chairs, mouse eaten and soiled Styrofoam, mouse eaten plastic, old bird cages, rotted wood, tiny scraps and broken tools. Eh, hmmm well keep cleaning.
Once I got to the bare bones I shoveled out about 6 inches of soil to lower the floor, clean out the questionable contaminates (bits of plastic, mouse droppings, and other bits and pieces).
I created a subfloor by laying a layer of plastic (I laid the heavy duty plastic bags that my wood pellets come in on the dirt), then a layer of ½ in – ¾ in hardware cloth type wire (think cannibalized old bird cages), then a layer of plywood sheathing and scraps of lumber. On top of that I used a faux wood/plastic-type decking that was left in my garage. It did not quite cover the whole floor so I finished with cleaner pieces of scrap lumber.
I made poop boards and raised roosts, at 2 different levels. I wanted to make sure the chicks could sit in the southern sun if they wanted to. I secured the poop boards to the ceiling to help preserve as much floor space as possible.
I made the nest box entirely free standing so I can move it. The nest boxes are about 13 inches wide by 13 inches deep. The slope of the roof at the tallest is around 16 inches. The roof is hinged so I can lift it to clean the nest boxes. The front board of 3 of the boxes is also hinged for cleaning. The front board of the 4th box is a lower solid board for any of the larger hens that may not want to climb high. I did not run my dividers all the way to the roof.
I put in ramps up to the roosts and to the nest box, just in case. After I got everything in and settled I was concerned with the about of floor space that they had for getting down off the roosts. For right now it is working, though I am watching them close.
I found a clear 7 gallon container with a lid that I put 10 horizontal nipples in. The chicks switched easily-like overnight and they seem to do fine with it. I tried making a feeder out of the tote and PVC pipe…I did not care for the way it finished. I will try something else later, but for now I made my own feeder out of scrap wood (a last minute panic throw together as I was trying to move them out to the henhouse).
Right now I am just using straw inside the coop. I might change it up later.
The flock moved out of the house later than I had hoped. I could not work on the henhouse the way I wanted and it took longer than anticipated. I painted the nest box and the walls. The majority of the ceiling was painted-mostly it was to help seal the wood and brighten it up. I even secured the top of the walk in door.
The chickens lived in the henhouse for about 2 weeks while I got the run established. It seems at times that everything take me longer than I think it should. The run is about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. The dog kennel panels I used are about 6 feet high. I cleared out about 4 inches of pine needs and cones to expose fresh soil, though I left some patches of weeds and pine needles. I was mainly concerned with getting up stuff I did not want them eating off the ground. I still have to finish closing up some of the gaps at the bottom of the panels, but I needed to get the flock out!
The West side of the run is a 10 food solid tin fence that blocks a lot of wind. The South side is the henhouse. The East and North sides are dog kennel panels. I left a leaning piece of fence tin in the run so they can hid under it and to keep at least one area dry. The run is covered heavily by pine/fir trees. We will probably put a roof or cover on soon. As of right now they get the gentle morning light and by noon the sun has shifted so they are shaded. The henhouse has lots of ventilation and some drafts around the ceiling but the bottom is draftless. I am planning to add shutters with windows to the wire on the South side of the henhouse so I can close it up a bit in the winter.
Over the weekend they were able to get out and start getting used to it. They are really enjoying it, as am I. The next step is to clean up the yard and introduce them to free-ranging on the rest of the acre.
One word of advice...if you smile they peck your teeth!
Recent User Reviews
"I love odd angles!"
- 5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 10, 2019
And i bet your chickens love them too! Straight and 90° everybody can do!
Beautifully described the conversion from a junk-pile into a beautiful chicken coop.
Many. many pictures and really fun to read. Awesome!
"Great Shed Makeover!"
- 5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 10, 2019
Now we know why they call the "Lean-to's!"
This is an excellent "Narrate as you go," article. It's an easy read, and a real boost for those of us using "found items" to build or rebuild ... "DIY Chickeneering" at its' best! It's also a reminder to those (like me) who tend to keep every little thing because "I might be able to use it someday." It's time to clear out the clutter ... or at least organize it ... again!