A Tour of Our Chicken Coop

Have you ever looked at some of the chicken coops on Pinterest? I know people whose houses are not as nice as some of these coops:

By way of contrast, here is my own coop:

Taken in the late summer, before tarping the run for winter

OK, don’t let the fact that it’s not Pinterest-worthy fool you. It is actually a very good and sturdy coop!

For winter, we placed a tarp over the run roof to keep out snow and made windbreaks by placing straw bales around the edges of the run.

I thought I might take you on a little tour of it in case you’re interested.🐓

First of all, the basic structure of the coop was repurposed from the builder’s shed from when our house was built. We had no idea this shed was even here when we bought the house a few years ago. The house is now 12 years old and the builder shed had become completely overgrown with brush such that we didn’t even know it was here until the autumn after we bought the house.

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The view from standing next to the chicken run and looking up toward the path to the driveway

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The back of the shed had no vinyl siding, so we painted it with deck and dock paint.  Phil cut several windows into the board and installed latches that lock closed with carabiners.

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The coop has a second floor which the birds do not have access to. We store bales of clean pine bedding up there.

 

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We used hardware cloth to make an attached predator-proof run.

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A hardware cloth skirt extends out about two feet to keep out digging predators.

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An old tire full of sand and food-grade diatomaceous earth serves as the run dust bath, which chickens use to keep their feathers free of parasites like lice and mites.

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A store bought set of nesting boxes with roosts is attached to one wall. We have far more nesting boxes than nine hens need; three to four hens per nest is all that is necessary.

If you look carefully, you can see a nest full of nice fresh brown eggs

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Screen cloth was affixed over the inside of the windows to keep mosquitoes out; hardware cloth covers keep out predators.

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We keep a little rake in the coop for stirring droppings into the pine litter on the floor.

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Tree stumps and straw bales in the run give the hens something to climb on to alleviate boredom when they are confined.

Phil made the door and added a little kick plate to make it easier to close while carrying things.

Under their sleeping roost, Phil made a droppings table. It is filled with a mixture of sand and zeolite; we keep a kitty litter scoop in the coop and scoop out the droppings table daily. Droppings are disposed of in a black compost can outside the run. After the droppings compost, they will be added to our gardens.

Feed hangs from a carabiner clip. For the winter months, a heated waterer on a cinder block placed inside a plastic bin provides a constant source of water while keeping the floor and litter dry.  The coop is not wired for electricity, so Phil ran a very long outdoor extension cord from the garage all the way out to the coop.

Phil made a pop door out of a plastic cutting board so as to avoid the problem of a wooden board warping and not sliding up and down the frame runners properly. He made the pop door runners out of kitchen drawer runners.  We close the pop door at night during cold weather but leave it open during warm weather since the run is predator-proof.

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Happy pullets eating kitchen scraps in the summer.  We have created a deep litter floor over the dirt run by raking out soiled coop pine bedding into the run and tossing in shredded leaves, old straw, shredded paper junk mail, garden scraps, and any other kind of organic matter we have.  The chickens scratch around in it looking for tasty bugs to eat, which helps turn the bedding to cover their droppings, which prevents the run from getting smelly.

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All around the coop I planted herbs that have traditionally been used to repel poultry pests and parasites, including mint, lavender, oregano, pennyroyal, and wormwood.  In the summer months, I toss sprigs of herbs into the nesting boxes.  I also planted Borage flowers and Russian comfrey  to provide yummy forage for the hens.

A few pictures of our flock, with breed listed, out to free range on this cold, windy March day:

Black Australorp

Plymouth Barred Rock

Light Brahma

Starting from the bottom: Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, Silver-Laced Wyandotte, Golden-Laced Wyandotte

Hope you enjoyed this little coop tour!🐥

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26 thoughts on “A Tour of Our Chicken Coop

  1. In case you are wondering, I am on medical leave recovering from knee surgery and stuck on the couch with nothing to do. We don’t have TV and I’ve finished my library book. I am exceedingly bored; hence the sudden burst of blogging. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When not blogging, I have been spending literally hours each day planning our new turkey coop made of repurposed pallets that we will build later this spring.

    Phil and I are in disagreement about which breed of turkey to raise this year. Phil wants to do broad breasted whites and bronzes again and slaughter them all in the fall. I want to do heritage midget whites and overwinter some breeding stock.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How we store our chicken eggs:

    So long as you do not wash them and remove the protective coating they are laid with, eggs can be stored at room temperature, which actually makes them much nicer for cooking. They will stay good on the counter for quite a while, possibly up to a month, although our eggs always get used up before then.

    I store them in little wire baskets that I got at the dollar store. I label the oldest basket “use first”.

    One of my daughters’ friends’ fathers is from France and was happy when I gave him some unwashed, unrefrigerated eggs, which according to him is how all eggs come in France.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Uncle Waldo yet draws breath. Abigail has been laying an enormous egg everyday. We are hoping he’s breeding her on the sly. When I’m up and around, if she hasn’t gone broody herself, I’ll put her eggs in the incubator and candle them after a week to check for embryo development. If none, it means he isn’t breeding her. If he doesn’t start doing so by April…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well done!

    We haven’t had chickens since we moved. We’re allowed 4, and no rooster but have to build a semi fancy coop to help keep the neighbours at bay. Which is a head scratcher for sure

    In the past I did chicken tractors out of pvc and mesh wiring

    https://www.google.com/search?q=pvc+chicken+tractor&client=tablet-android-hms-tmobile-us&prmd=sivn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjv7KDLpM7SAhVGZCYKHaUkAncQ_AUICCgC&biw=1024&bih=768

    Now I am going to buy a pre made shed and modify it. I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheds can work well if you get the right kind. Just make sure it’s something very sturdy with a wooden frame; we had a Rubbermaid storage shed that we were using for the duck house, but a windstorm completely flattened it. Lesson learned!

      Will your pitbull be able to deal with chickens? We have a Shiba Inu who has murder in her eyes every time she catches sight of the poultry. We have to keep her leashed whenever they are out free ranging, whereas our Goldendoodle just wants to play with them and can be off leash around all the birds.

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      • I can’t let my dogs out without supervision so I don’t see how chickens will change that but yeah they certainly would enjoy eating chickens. Mostly they eat cats, lizards, frogs and what not.

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    • You might already know this, but another place to get ideas for coops is on the site Backyard Chickens. I’m occasionally active on my state’s thread at BYC and actually got our chicken tractor there for free from an older gentleman who had to give up chicken-keeping after having a stroke:

      We’ll raise a half dozen Cornish Crosses in the tractor for meat this summer.

      Liked by 1 person

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