I’m so excited to share with you the progress we’ve made on our future chicken coop! Since I’ve been talking for years about wanting to keep a few chickens on our acre, you all can probably guess how fun it is to finally see it coming together.
We started with this three-sided structure on our property that we had used as a garden shed until we built our garage (which you can see in this post). Once we had storage for the normal garage things, the totally enclosed shed next to it was freed up for our garden supplies.
Last summer I used this open shed for a painting shed when I got my new paint sprayer.
There were two major issues with this shed, however.
The first is that it is seen from the road, which means that it always looked pretty junky as a garden shed. Since it is something people see as they drive past, I wanted the front to look good as well as be enclosed.
The other issue is that although it is solid and has no rot or anything, it is completely out of square. As in, the folks who built it paid no attention to level or right angles. To say it’s been challenging for Brian is an understatement.
Luckily, we’ve always been OK with imperfection – our classic mantra is, “It’s the cottage-look!”
After reading a lot about chicken-keeping and coops, and seeing people write how they “only spent $500 to $1000” on their coop, my heart would drop – did a coop have to be that expensive?
Hopefully not. We’ve made it our challenge to use salvaged materials and to buy as little as possible. Since we’ve been planning on converting this shed for years, we’ve saved materials from all our projects with this in mind:
-The old dog run that came with our property (our dog never runs, so he hasn’t used this in years) will be attached to the back of the coop, pictured above. I plan on letting the chickens have the run of our small pasture (to the left) when we’re home, with the run reserved for safety when we’re away.
-This pile of wood was salvaged from our deck deconstruction. Anything that wasn’t rotten was set aside for the coop.
-A friend of ours (Dan) works for a landscape supply/composting company and builders bring full sheets of plywood to dump that they are not going to use. They then sell these for $3.00 a sheet (woot!) and Dan let us pick through the pile of plywood he had salvaged from work to use for the floor of the coop.
Then he wouldn’t let us pay him.
Yeah, we are blessed with some good friends.
-Brian decided to make these windows for the front with plexiglass and wood from other projects we had.
Though why we had a sheet of plexiglass lying around, I’ll never know.
The first thing Brian started with was the floor, using the salvaged treated beams from the old deck. I wanted a porch to make the flat front a bit cuter since it’s easily seen by neighbors, so he simply made one big floor to accommodate the small porch out front.
With the help of our friend Dan, Brian added floor beams and topped them with the plywood before framing the front wall with the old garage door we had been saving since our remodeling seven years ago and a fun old window I bought years ago at a local salvage yard (it is one of a pair that I think I was going to use for inside decoration, but they turned out to be too big).
And this is what it looks like now! Well, we have added more paint since this photo, but it still needs another coat, so it’s kinda rough-looking yet.
Doesn’t the porch look good? It’s sort of an old-west look with the flat front and Brian’s plexiglass windows above. I was surprised at the amount of light the windows and door let in and we haven’t even put the windows in on the sides yet (they will be screened for ventilation).
And how are we doing on our cost challenge? So far the paint has cost us the most (ugh- that siding just sucks up the paint):
- one 4 x 4 post $8
- two 2 x 4’s $6
- metal hangers $10
- bolts, nails and screws $13
- paint $50
Not bad. Here’s what we still have to find/do:
- two windows that open for the sides
- molding to finish all the windows and the door
- chicken-wire and 2 x 4s to frame an inside “wall”
- wood for nesting boxes
- an auto door opener for the chicken door to the run
- a salvaged sheet of vinyl for the floor (I’ve read this is the easiest to keep clean…)
- feed and water containers
- run electricity from garage to coop
- finish painting (ugh, another $25 bucks…)
Since our salvaged wood pile is getting smaller and smaller, we might end up having to buy more wood.
But you never know when something will turn up…
This is linked to Saturday Nite Special.