When my husband and I were designing our coop we poured over the numerous free blueprints, photos and examples of chicken coops at BackYard Chickens (backyardchickens.com). I’m amazed at how clever and creative some chicken keepers are when it comes to constructing their coop. I especially appreciate the coops that re-purpose and recycle materials.–I’ve about decided that with a little imagination (and some basic building skills) you can make a coop out of about anything!
With the permission of BackYard Chickens and the coop builder, I’d like to share one of my favorites. “Maurice,” the car chicken coop, was constructed by Michael Thompson in Norfolk Broads UK. This clever coop was transformed from a 1970 Morris Traveller into a hen house for four ex-battery chickens!
“The front end was pretty bashed up and the back wasn’t much better mainly ‘cos it’d had a chain over the roof to hold it securely onto the back of the recovery vehicle. Being a joiner and not a mechanic, Michael knew his limitations and decided to cut Maurice in half – literally. Most of the woodwork was shot and not having a spare £1000 in the budget to buy new Traveller timbers he made his own repairs with scraps of wood left over from jobs he found in the back of his van.
All the woody bits had to be painted as the colour match wasn’t good enough – but the joinery repairs were second to none! A bit of filler strategically placed and a few coats of paint later and Maurice was looking sharp!
Michael continued “Having never built a hen house before I had to get the interior just right… I soon realised that if I reversed the sliding side windows, the handles would be on the outside – perfect for collecting eggs! Whilst I was at it I gave them five coats of gloss black paint to the inside of the glass giving Maurice the ‘limo look’ he so deserved – thus also creating a nice private area for egg laying! A couple of perches later and a pop-hole for access the new hen house was ready for action – a real chick magnet!”
“The cost of the Traveller and other materials on this project was about £300 ($466) plus the labour – I even managed to flog the offcut front half for £95 on eBay! But is was a labour of love… and I don’t expect there’s another one like it anywhere, a candidate for the Turner Prize if ever I saw one!”
His final words on the matter were… “Re-use, Recycle… one planet – to the max!”
Do you have a “cool coop” you’d like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To see what else is happening on our Southwest Missouri property, visit …the garden-roof coop.