Our little turn-of-the century farmstead has a classic set of red outbuildings. The date embossed on its cupola proclaims the barn was built in 1918, probably the same year they built the chicken coop, my favorite structure of the farm.
We started with just nine laying hens and a rooster, so we built a wall down the middle of the building and gave the chickens the shorter, sunnier half of the coop. (I used the other half as a potting shed.) The sun streams into this room all day and the chickens enjoy the warm sunshine. When it is hot, the windows can be slid up to open. The chickens love scratching through the deep straw bedding on top of the concrete floor.
My potting shed got smaller when we added another wall (constructed from old closet doors) to create a chick-raising room in the middle of the coop. I stapled plastic fencing across the back and corners so chicks can’t bunch up in a corner or get stuck in a cranny. An old stairway gate with hardware cloth stretched over it allows me easy access and lets the chicks and adult chickens get to know each other.
Old stairway handrails provide additional perches. I installed them at various heights, but all the hens preferred to be up high, so I moved them all to my shoulder-level, where I can still nab a chicken if I need to. The hens manage to get their offspring up onto the perch at a very young age!Our laying hen population increased to about 50 this summer (those darn broody hens!), so last week I moved my garden gear out and installed some more roosts. The chickens have taken over the entire coop.