Sunday, June 10, 2012

Convert a Shed to a Chicken Coop (Tips to Make it Easier)

Its done. Well, like every project I do, its 90% complete so I’m calling it done. The chickens are out of the house and their fortress in the dining room is gone!

chicken-coop-shed
The shed-coop is the ugliest thing I’ve ever been proud to have made. 
According to Matt, I did “95% of the work” which feels pretty good! However, I was interested in being speedy so its not the most beautiful thing in the yard. I figure, when we actually fix up the back yard I can beautify it then.


Or maybe its plenty pretty for this gal?


IMG_4864


We decided to convert the shed into a chicken coop because we never used the shed much, and we were hoping to save some money. (Though hardware cloth is pretty expensive.)

There are the basic features of every hen house.

The run.
chicken-run-shed
The coop.
chicken-coop 
A ramp to go in between.
chicken-coop 
Roosts.

chicken-roosts 
A nesting box.

chicken-nesting-box 
Although converting a shed to a chicken coop is a personalized thing since every shed is different, I have a few tips that will make it easier.



Tips for Converting A Shed to A Chicken Coop

1. Take off the walls one at a time.
We removed all of the outer walls of the shed at once, leaving just the framing and roof in place. The shed got really wobbly and not square. I added blocking (horizontal wood to hold the studs in place), but it was too late. I recommend removing one wall, then add the blocking to that wall. Then move onto the next wall.

2. Remove the floor.
If you’re on a concrete slab this isn’t necessary, but otherwise, I recommend it. Our plywood floor had already started rotting so we didn’t have an option. But, knowing how much the chickens poop and that some rain could get in there, its best just to remove it now. Plus, I think the chickens would rather walk around on dirt than cement or wood. We took out the floor but left the beams in place and just filled in with dirt around all of the beams, to make a dirt floor.

3. Use what you’ve got.
We were able to reuse the walls of the shed to make the coop, used leftover paint to paint the inside, and used doors from our soon-to-be-demo’d kitchen cabinets. The only things I had to buy were a few pieces of wood, hardware, and hardware cloth.

4. Draw out your plans ahead of time.

This is a little difficult when using an existing structure, but having a rough design idea is a good one. I didn’t do this – just flew by the seat of my pants – and there are a few things I’d like to change. For example, the chickens’ waterer is right underneath the big coop doors, so every time I reach in there to get a chicken or clean it out, I spill pine shavings in their water. So even if you don’t have all of the measurements in your drawing, just knowing where things will go will help you avoid minor inconveniences like this.

5. Design a place for storage.

This is something I didn’t do but wish I did. Our shed is 9’ x 12’ so its perfect for our three chickens*, with a little room to expand the flock if we want later. However, I wish I would have built a small storage area on the outside of the shed for food, pine shavings, etc. Right now the food is in a metal garbage can outside but the pine shavings are in the garage which is a pain.

* Sadly, Slash was indeed a rooster so he’s now living with Farmer Pete from the Urban Farm Store.

Have you ever built a shed or chicken coop? Or converted one to the other? What are your best tips?



PS. Look at how much they’ve grown!
chickencoop coop3-001

coop3-003

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4 comments:

  1. This looks professional .... seriously! What a cool chicken coop. Your chickens should be feel very special and lay lots of yummy eggs :). Our neighbors built a coop and it is no where near and cool and big and roomy as this one!

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  2. How exciting that it's done! I'm still completely jealous that you have chickens. Looks great.

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  3. We have chickens and I love it. I love that you name them :) That is such a great space for them :)

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  4. I have build sheds many times but never build any chicken coop. it is new and unique idea for me. I will must try this.

    ReplyDelete

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