My Chicken Coops: be dazzled by their beauty.

When I started thinking about having chickens (oooh, about 10 months ago now), I worried about their shelter. On the internet, all you see is sites for ‘free chicken coop plans’ – before you know it, you’re being asked to shell out $100 for plans, and worrying that your chicken coop will block all the sunlight to your house. Seriously, some of those plans out there are amazing. But very, very expensive. Oh, if I had the money and the skills my chickens would have the cutest little cottages etc etc, but no, no, they’re slumming it here.

Slumming it with Big Daddy. The Horror!

This is my chicken coop. I built it from a old wooden packing crate (shipping crate), one big off-cut of square wood post, and two road signs. (No road signs were stolen in making my Coops of Squalor. They were all legally acquired,and out-of-date signage (eg wood, not metal). I cut a hole in the side for their entrance, the ramp is a scrap of ugly wood with kindling nailed to it (they need it for grip). The road sign doors just sit alongside the wood, and are held in place by nails to stop them falling out. This means I can take the whole side off to clean it.

Nails: easier than runners!

Because chickens prefer to roost high, I’ve got it on top of an old chest freezer which also doubles as a rain shelter. Mr Husband Man painted it black, “to make it less ugly”. Mmmmm.

This is my husbands coop (we’re not competitive. Honest.) – he spent much more time and money on this, and it looks much cooler. Trouble is – its a pain in the backside to clean, as you have to lean right into it to get the straw out of the middle. NOT so much fun. He made the box himself, and it is on four legs to raise it off the ground. The back flap is hinged at the bottom, and he has used an old axe handle as the lever to hold it in place when it’s up.

Underneath are two nesting boxes – basically a funny old kitchen sliding cupboard thing, rip the doors off, straw in the bottom – I have put old clear corrogated plastic on top as an awning to protect the chickens from the rain.

 

The shed is one of those aluminium garden sheds you pay large amounts of money for, but can never move because it falls apart. We dragged this through (which is why you can see sunlight through the corners), Mr Man built shelves out of planks of wood, and supported them with large buckets. Tech. It works, they sleep in there when it’s cold, and lay under the shelves. We’ll rig up a second shelf level at some point, with a ramp.

 

Can you see the theme? Basically, if you have a box, put a waterproof lid on it, access to clean it, put straw  in it, raise it up off the ground, add cheap-and-nasty ramp, and you’re done! You can go fancy, yes. But you don’t HAVE to. My chickens like to roost in trees, some sleep in the boxes, some don’t. They’ve been fine through some pretty nasty weather – when it snowed (which it almost never does here!) we would go out and grab them out of the trees, and put them in the boxes. If you have severely cold weather you will need to think about insulating, and possibly confining them to a coop plus run arrangement during the worst of the weather, so you don’t have to go tree climbing every night. For straw, barley straw is just about perfect, as you just throw the old stuff straight on the garden as manure/mulch. Mine prefer hay, but that can’t go on the garden unless you want to be mowing your garden in a few months time. Warning:chickens find the SNEAKIEST places to lay their eggs.

NB: highly technical shelf supports: buckets.

 

We don’t have many bigger predators here – dogs, cats, ferrets, rats – but mine are still fenced pretty well, though I let them free range for half of every day. Chicken fencing.. well, mine is ugly. See?

But the floppiness of the wire is what stops the chooks from flying up and onto the fence, then over. Mr Man makes cat-bum faces at my DIY fencing, coops,etc etc. But they’re  free,practical, and they work. Mr Man also isn’t the one who was constantly cleaning chook poop out of the house prior to getting the fence set up, so he can just not look, I figure. 🙂
By the house I have their water bowls and grit bowl – chickens are BIG drinkers – approx 1 litre of water per bird per day apparantly – so keeping that topped up and clean is a biggie. Hence the pipe – there used to be a fence there, and there will be again, so we can just pop out of the house and pour water down the pipe, rather than trekking around to fill it up. The hose isn’t connected, but it’s vital – the boys play with that while I clean the chooks.
So I think that’s that, any thing else anyone wants to see? I bet you all feel better about your backyards now. No charge! 😀
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Posted on February 27, 2012, in Sight, unCommon and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I think both are nice, effective coops. I obsessed about the coop I built, found a free plan online and modified it accordingly. Spent some money, but much less than any commercial coop available for sale online. My carpenter skills aren’t great by any means, but I tried to remind myself that the birds wouldn’t care, as long as they were dry!

  2. Yay, you posted it!

    That’s really cool. I feel much better about it now, and ready to get to planning instead of waiting until next year!

    I can’t believe you only started thinking about this 10 months ago, and you already have 52 chickens! O.O

    I didn’t want to admit is before , but we do have an empty “garden shed” made from wood, right up against the metal shed that houses the tools and mower, and our landlords said that we can turn it into a chicken coop if we want. There. I said it. I still thought we’d have to spend a ton on fencing and such. Now I know we don’t!

    Thank you for posting! You’ve made our “Blogs we <3" page, by the way. I was told that if I started a blog, I'd "meet" some really cool people, and it's already starting to be true!

    So, it's a pleasure to have "made your acquaintance". =D

    I'll let you know what happens with our future (near future, that is) chickens.

    ~Daniél

    • How exciting with the shed and possible chickens! Awesome! Depending on how curious they are (read willing to womble inside and poop on your floor), you may want to look at fencing – but probably not. Mine would lay where I put the fake eggs – that works to keep the eggs in one spot. Mostly.
      And awww, thanks! That’s made my day!When I work out that widget I’ll return the favour, save me from spamming Facebook with your links! 😀
      Looking forward to hearing about your chicken adventures to be… and remember, no roosters = no overpopulation 😀

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