Repurposed/recycled materials: stories and ideas


8 Years
May 26, 2011
Roanoke County, Virginia
I know I am not the only person at BYC who needs to save a buck and is also interested in reducing waste. I love the ingenuity I've seen from people, so I wanted to start a thread specific to ways you have reused materials in innovative ways.

To kick things off, my story is not actually human ingenuity, but serendipity in action: my sister had a few dual purpose hens who free ranged her yard on a quiet country road. It was mid- January when I drive up to visit, and on the front deck a chicken is contentedly enjoying the lake view while nestled cosily into the fir Christmas wreath dusted with snow. It had fallen off the door and my sis had thrown it onto the table on the porch the night before because she couldn't find the nail. The wreath stayed there and was the preferred spot for laying all summer long! Sadly, we never got a photo...

Can't wait to hear to hear your stories!!


11 Years
Jun 7, 2008
Scappoose Oregon
Don't have pics but the addition I put on the main coop this weekend was built entirely of salvage wood. Old pallets and battered 2x4s from the warehouse next to my office. I had to pay for the hardware cloth to varmint proof and eventually some corrugated plastic for the roof.

The main coop was built almost entirely from an old deck we tore off a house before it was demolished. Again I bought the hardware cloth and nails. The paint was a $5 mis-mix from Lowes. Most of the posts for their run were froma fence we removed.

The Japanese bantams Teahouse used windows I pulled out a dumpster. The 4x4s we repuposed from an old fence. The posts for their yard were oulled out of a debris pile.

The barnvelder barn was started by someone who didn't protect their chicks from coons and sold it to me for 1/2 the cost of materials. I redid a lot of it since he really didn't know how to build. Paints were either cheap mis-mix or from the paint recyclers. The windows were all bought from a salvage yard.

The Kentucky coop I actually bought most of the wood, but I got the paint as mis-mixes.

Don't have pics of the rest.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Opelousas, Louisiana
I find a great joy in recycling all of my chicken coops and farm yard buildings. Here are a few pics of things that were built from recycled and FREE things that were given to me. I also visit a lot of construction sites and they give me the things that they would normally throw away. They sometimes give away boxes of nails, hinges, etc. Recycling and getting FREE stuff is the highlight of my life. Craigslist FREE section is my best friend.

Breeding pens/stalls made from pallets and other recycled wood.

Dog Kennel Coop made from pallets. Someone gave me a FREE dog kennel.

Open Air/Raised Coop made from pallets and free wire that was given to me.

Peacock Aviary made from FREE pallets. Total cost to build was $38.00 (sand and 2 plants).

Recycled Wood for my Sheep pen.

4 compartment brooder made from FREE pallets.

Free Pallets used to make portable nesting boxes, portable feeders and portable roosts.

FREE wooden boxes that are placed in my brooders and my broody hens set comfortably inside the boxes on their eggs. I was given about 12 of these boxes.

Sheep feeder made from pallet and free tin from a construction site.
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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Opelousas, Louisiana
Quote:Oh yea. And it's so much fun finding all of this free stuff. I recently met a painter and was asking questions about paint . The next thing I know, he said that he will give me all of the free paint that is left over from his paint jobs from now on. So now, I can paint all of my coops, houses and other stuctures. I am so excited about the future paint that I will begin receiving. Even after that, I was asking him about pressure washers because I wanted to get a cheap pressure washing to clean the coops, houses and walls. He said that he has 2 extra pressure washers in excellent condition that he does not use and he would give them to me for FREE. I was then SPEECHLESS!!!!!!!!

Imagine all of the money that I would have spent if I bought ALL of this material at Lowe's or somewhere else.

All it takes is a little patience and hard work to look for things that you need and I strongly believe that you will find what you're looking for in the end.


8 Years
Mar 12, 2011
Bucks County PA
We just finished building our run, using a recycled table top and a desk top for the shaded portions. We are now working on building a coop within our existing shed. Since it is predator proof and they will be inside that, we are going to be able to use a big pile of window screens we have that came with the house. We will frame up the coop area, and use the screens in lieu of chicken wire.


8 Years
Apr 1, 2011
Oroville, Wa
Geesh. My efforts pale in comparison to all the above, but here's the top frame from my former hay shelter tent (two winters and it collapsed) attached to my unused dog run = chicken run

An old dresser headed for the landfill

Turned sideways and modified = brooder

An old apple crate reinforced, covered and ventilated to be my interim coop:

I LOVE re-utilizing whenever possible! DH HATES when I come home with a truck full of 'schtuff'!


8 Years
May 3, 2011
My one question has been answered. I have alot of places around here with scrap wood. I have lots of ideas now. Thank you so much everyone for the great pics.

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