Shipping Crate Coop


In the Brooder
9 Years
Dec 18, 2010
Hello! My husband and I have finally ventured out into raising chickens. We currently have 6 baby Black Jersey Giants. Unfortunately, the chain store that we bought them from did not have much information for us on how exactly to care for them, when they could go out side, what sort of bedding. (The sales associate just looked at me like I was crazy.) She also couldn't tell us how old they were.

My father-in-law got us an extra large shipping crate from this work that we are going to be using as a coop.

We have a large door in the front, and have put in 5 windows.

There are two windows on the right and left sides, Can anyone tell me if this is enough ventilation? Should we add windows to the back as well?
We have little doors that we are going to hinge above each window to open and close depending on the weather. We're also going to put heavy wire fencing over the windows as well.
The door is going to have it's own cover as well.

I put down vinyl floor this morning so we can clean it out better. My question is what sort of bedding works best? We were planning on using straw in the nesting boxes, but should we do something different for the rest of the coop?

The dimensions of the box roughly 4x8, the hubby wants to put the nesting boxes inside (right under the window) But will this cut into too much of their living space?
I want to make a small box on the side that comes out of the coop instead so they have more space to roam. We are currently stuck in debate, so if anyone has advice it would be greatly appreciated =]

One last question! (for now ;-) ) When can we put our little peepers outside? They are quickly out growing the storage container they're in, but I don't want to put them out too soon.
They are starting to get their little tail feathers, and the feathers on their wings are getting longer.

Thank you so much for any advice you can give us! Neither of us have taken care of chickens before, so we definitely need it! =] I'll post more pictures as the project progresses.
Hi SaraChristine! I'm a new chick mom too, ours are 8 weeks and just moved out to their coop this past weekend. I too had questions about ventilation, and saw this article that helped a lot:

For bedding, I put pine shavings inside their coop - it is only about 3' x 3', very small but all they do is sleep in there! They won't be laying eggs till the end of August so I have not put anything in their nesting boxes yet. They still go in them and poop though! We all learn quickly that they are poop machines!!

As for the nesting boxes, - are you attaching a protected run or will they be free ranging? They really don't need much room inside so unless they will be in the coop most of the time I don't think it matters. I defer to other more knowledgeable on this though! But if you put them under the window inside, you will still need to access them from the outside unless you plan on crawling inside to gather eggs! Either way you will have to cut another hole in the wall.

How old are your little peepers, do you know? Post some pics if you have them. Ours outgrew their box 2 x's! When they are fully feathered and can keep themselves warm at night, they can be moved to their coop. I have heard between 6 - 8 weeks.

I learned everything I know from this site, it is like a chicken bible!! Check out the learning center, if you have not already. And good luck!! If you think they are interesting and entertaining now, it only gets better!!
I'm sorry about the delay in response! We've been having trouble with our internet all week and everytime I write something, our browser shuts down half way through =[

We think they might be 3-4 weeks old, but they couldn't give us much information at the store when we bought them. I checked out that article and it was very helpful, thank you!

Lol and yes, I fully agree that they are poop machines! Smelly ones, at that!

We are going to have an attached run. Our outside cat, Deisel, is a true born mouser... and he's very good at his job. We are trying to keep in mind that it has to be fully predator proof, including Deisel, who seems to get into anything he sets his mind to.

We did decide to put the nesting boxes inside the coop, just because we had the extra room and honestly, it was easier that way. We can always add on a separate box if we need to later.

I've been thinking about going back to the store and getting a few more chicklets, but because I'm not exactly sure how large ( I know between 8-10lbs) my peepers are going to get, I've decided to wait.

I'll post what pics I've been trying to post since last week, and I'll take some more this week. We finally have the roof on as of yesterday, and I just need to finish painting and then the coop is finished! Yay! (well, we still have to build the run... lol)

Front of the coop

Flooring, and nesting boxes.

These were the little guys last week, and I swear they've doubled in size since then!
Yeah, the shipping crate is an excellent idea! The first coop I ever had was a large shipping crate from an aerospace company that shipped airplane parts in it-- it was big enough to stand up in! We then reinforced the inside joints where the wood sides meet up and then built a truss system over that for the typical A style roof over it. It worked great for many, many years. Just keep it off the ground and keep it painted, it'll be fine. Your chicks are so cute! I use pine chips in my coops too. Nice and deep and then you won't have to change it out often. Watch your chicks, when they don't need heat at night, you should be fine on putting them outside at night. Once mine hit about 3 weeks, they are ready to spend the day outside and then I just have a heat lamp at night if it is cooler at night. Older than that, and they should be fine without heat. You can check on them and if they are huddling up on each other, then they are cold. Just let them guide you on what you should do.

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