We had wanted a new coop for years. But, as you know, there are just so many projects to be done on a homestead–and so little time. The current chicken home had been working “just fine” for the last 40 years, so constructing a new one just kept getting put off.
We kept looking at the cost of obtaining a new one and couldn’t justify it. The ones for sale weren’t nearly big enough for the flock, and by the time we built one, we wouldn’t have time to do much of anything else that year.
We finally put it on the calender as one of the only two big projects that would get done in 2014.
When it was all said and done, we bought two pieces of plywood and a window, and there are currently enough nesting boxes for 48 hens.
Here’s how we did it…
We knew that we wanted a raised coop to offer the chickens some protection. So we took four green treated posts from an old horse training round pen that hasn’t been used in 15 years. These became the four corner posts–they got buried a couple of feet down. Then we framed it out with corral wood left over from an old corral project, that we weren’t going to use for anything else.
We used some 2 x 6’s that we took from an old fallen-down house for the studs in the walls.
Some pieces of 2 x 10’s that we took off an old corral two years ago were still stacked up, so we used those for the floor. Very rustic 🙂 . We knew that we’d have to line the floor with something since these very old boards were worn, and there were holes in the floor. It can get between -20 and -30 degrees here in the winter, so we knew we’d have to do better.
We decided on some old paneling we tore out of the house last year. We laid it in the same direction we would be shovel/scraping so the shovel wouldn’t catch on any of the grooves.
The 12 hen boxes on the sides are made from the two sheets of plywood.
On one of our quarterly shopping trips, we stopped by a yard sale on a whim. The guy told us we could have a brand new 48 x 42 lockable screen window and an electric cord for $40. We couldn’t have bought just one small window for that–so we were definitely excited. It pretty much fit the exact proportion of the wall on the west side. Since we were planning to spend $100 on the cord anyway, we figure we saved $60 and got a free window out of the deal–which nearly covered the costs of the plywood.
For the door on the east side, we took a solid wood door from our stack of old doors and cut it down just a bit.
The roost is simply made of some branches we got while cutting firewood.
While we were still trying to figure out how to make walls, a neighbor drove in and said he had extra cedar siding (seriously) that he would trade us for the corral wood we hadn’t used. It was a great barter.
The plank was made of wood scraps, and finally, we had enough metal roofing left over from four years ago from when we re-did our roof. So it even matches our house. How lucky did we get?
I’d say incredibly.
All told, we figure we are into this project about $20.
How do you keep expenses down with your animal shelters?