This month’s “Cool Coop” is a great example of a doable DIY project. With some basic carpentry skills and determination, I think a lot of our readers could tackle this construction and create an equally functional and attractive coop. Our featured chicken keeper, Vicky of Texas, built this “Rustic / Whimsical Coop” out of re-purposed, left-over, donated and bargain materials purchased at an estate sale. Continue reading as she describes the construction
As we unpacked our put-it-together-yourself, so-so-quality first coop from the two boxes marked made in China that we had ordered for our starter flock of three hens, I knew that when the time came that we needed a larger coop, I would definitely be building it myself.
Throughout the year prior to starting the building process, I gathered materials–free shipping pallets, a pick-up truck load of odds and ends lumber from an estate sale (for $35!), old windows donated by a friend, and left-over sheets of tin from my mom’s new covered deck to add to our collection of scrap wood. I searched through do-it-yourself coop designs to find the one that appealed to me the most and then adapted it for our needs. By this time, we had four mature hens and four new chicks and would need roomier housing as soon as they were integrated as a flock. I sketched out what I wanted our coop to look like and made a building plan.
I started off with a sturdy pallet for the floor of the coop, filling in the spaces on top with narrow boards from other pallets and attaching 2 x 4s to the open ends to make it more solid. I removed the unnecessary boards from underneath the pallet and screwed the treated 4 x 4 posts to the inside corners.
At this point, I stapled 1/2 x 1/2 inch hardware cloth to the top of the floor (and went on to “wrap” the entire coop in hardware cloth as construction progressed in order to make it as predator-proof as possible.)
I proceeded to frame-in the coop, making adjustments to the plan as I went and constantly struggling to stifle my perfectionism! I had originally wanted to use the old paint-chipped windows as they were but as the coop progressed, the “look” evolved from shabby, to colorful/whimsical, to rustic/whimsical and that really ended up being the most fun part of building it.
The old windows-turned-doors are fully functional and open out for ease in changing the pine shaving bedding. The narrow door on the left side of the coop is hinged at the bottom and doubles as an exit ramp with a safety latch at the top for securing at bedtime.
Since we live in East Texas and have mild winters, but hot and humid summers, I designed the coop to be open on three sides for optimum ventilation and airflow (the back is fully enclosed with fancy shiplap siding that was part of the estate sale bonanza.)
I had planned to hinge panels onto the north-facing side of the coop but ended up just tacking them into place for winter. When it’s really cold (which is rare), I cover more of the open spaces with
The roosting frame is hinged to the back of the coop at the top so it can be lifted for easier coop-cleaning and the roosts are cedar limbs trimmed from trees on our property.
The final touch was the galvanized hen wall art I found at Hobby Lobby (and got for 1/2 price!) I attached it to the hardware cloth with nuts, bolts, and washers and it was the perfect finishing touch.
I am so proud of our new coop and our “girls” love it, too!
Thanks Vicky for sharing your coop with the Community! I’m sure our readers will be inspired by the set-up and coop you created for your backyard flock! Click on this link to few more photos and info on Vicky’s farm and projects:
If you have a “Cool Coop” you would like to share with the Community, email me at RNickols@communitychickens.com
Click on the link below for previous entries in the “Cool Coops!” series…
To view what else is happening at our Southwest Missouri property visit: the garden-roof coop
If you enjoy bird-watching (in addition to chicken-watching), I invite you to follow my Facebook page: Rebecca’s Bird Gardens