Newbie chick shed and WIR build

Haphazard_Hannah

Chirping
Oct 2, 2020
75
227
93
Bristol, UK
My Coop
Hi everyone,

I'm brand new to BYC and chicken keeping and am embarking on my first large scale DIY project to build a safe and secure walk in run and convert a shed into a chicken coop.

Now, I’m so new that I don’t actually have any chickens yet... but I’m on the waiting list with the British Hen Welfare Trust so when they next rescue end-of-commercial-viability hens from slaughter I’ll get a call about rehoming some hard working ladies. I want their home to be spacious, comfortable and stimulating as it will serve as a retirement home for these hens for the remainder of their lives, and then more after that.

Now, my dad is the local handyman in his neighbourhood, around 2 hours away, and normally he’d be excited to help with something like this but due to COVID (and being in his 70s with COPD) I’m on my own this time! I have virtual support from him when I need it but I’ll have to do the manual labour myself! 😧

Anyway, I thought I’d start a thread for this so anyone who is interested in doing something similar can see how I’m getting on and learn from my mistakes!

So, day 1.
Before the rain set in I wanted to get the ground turned over and the lawn up. Now, this may sound weird as chickens love to search around and eat the lawn, but this area had been left in a right state by my landlord when he cut our garden in half and built a house on it. It’s basically a pile of aggregate with soil dumped on top and some grass grew horizontally over it. And my dogs crapped all over it.

So the plan is to lift the top layer so it’s some kind of level, get the rocks out as and when I come across them and ensure the finished ground sits level with the concrete under the fence line so’s the panels don’t rot. Once I’ve managed that, then I can lay a shed base and plan out the run. I should note that my garden is on a hill so it’s never going to be level, so I might need to step the ground up at certain points... but we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it! 😂

So, here’s the space after it was all rolled and ready to dig:
8E764721-38F3-4F8B-82E4-36738DA4424E.jpeg


Here’s my little helpers digging the ground for me:
B810E544-FE71-41E1-9C5D-B0750BB52BCA.jpeg


and here’s after a couple of hours and some ever increasing rain that spoiled my fun:
28627193-5A8D-4679-9077-A8133C756A43.jpeg

It doesn’t look like much but I’m feeling it in the back, I can tell you! Hopefully the rain will hold off tomorrow and I can get some more done!
 

Callender Girl

Crowing
Sep 18, 2018
1,479
7,748
466
North Central Iowa
Love your user name and your ambition. I'm looking forward to seeing how your build progresses. I like to think I can build things, but ... generally, my third or fourth effort pans out. Kind of. You're lucky your dad can supply virtual support.

Kudos to you for wanting to rescue hens! Welcome to BYC!!
 

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
1,061
2,279
193
Belding, MI
Welcome, Hannah! Thank you for rescuing commercial chickens. I bet the ones you get will be the luckiest chickens in their flock.

As far as building goes, there are a LOT of articles and threads here on BYC about coops and runs, so dig in! Anything you can't find, post a question, and someone will know the answer. I have learned more about chickens on this forum than anywhere else.

Enjoy!
 

Haphazard_Hannah

Chirping
Oct 2, 2020
75
227
93
Bristol, UK
My Coop
So the rain is unrelenting today so no activity outside unfortunately, however I have been working on my nest box design for inside the shed. I’ve had a little search for posts relating to the use of OSB as this is quite a cheap resource here in the UK apparently. The comments suggest that for internal structure OSB is fine for chickens, however I was wondering if the texture of it might provide haven for red mites? I mean, I can sand and paint it so it’s not an issue, just wondered if anyone else had any experience with this?
 

Haphazard_Hannah

Chirping
Oct 2, 2020
75
227
93
Bristol, UK
My Coop
The rain stopped! In that time I’ve been out, finished shovelling the shed area, laid wire and weed membrane down and laid the shed base! Really pleased with myself.

Here’s how it looked after the wire and now:

287B5012-505E-4B65-958A-CCCD133E8655.jpeg
5F1593C3-D26D-488D-87E9-ADC2A81DD2D2.jpeg


As you can see the soil banks up pretty steep immediately in front of where the shed will be so rather than shovel it all away I might consider putting some scaffold planks in as a retaining wall, but then I need to think about room to open the door outwards... hmmm.

Lots to think about!
 

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
1,061
2,279
193
Belding, MI
You will want a high threshold to keep the bedding in the coop, well, in the coop. Plan your door to be up high enough to clear the ground when you open it. Maybe your already figured that into your plan. :)

Having moved a LOT of dirt this year (and a LOT more to go next year), I'm thinking of ways not to have to move dirt.
 

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