For those of you that have ever raised chickens, you are well aware of just how fast chicks grow. It seems that in a matter of just a few short weeks those fuzzy little balls of “cheeps” are a squawking, ground scratching, bug loving chicken.
The last batch of chicks we bought were Black Copper Marans. These beautiful black hens produce a lovely dark chocolate egg. These girls quickly outgrew their mini-coop and I knew it was time to figure out their permanent residence.
Chicken coops and tractors can be ridiculously expensive (see more about this HERE). I knew building one myself would be less expensive, but I lack extensive carpentry skills. I figured that starting with some type of basic framework for a chicken tractor would be easier for me than to start from scratch. I saw a picture online of someone who turned a crib into a chicken coop and the Crib to Coop Repurposing project was born.
I began my hunt for cribs at thrift stores and searching Craigslist, but most were priced higher than I wanted to spend. I was then blessed with two donated cribs from two very generous women (thank you!!).
The basics I wanted to stick to throughout this project were to stay simple and inexpensive. I looked around the homestead and utilized what materials we had available. Paint was my most expensive cost. This project was moderately challenging and overall cost roughly $100. I am very pleased with the cost of this project. It took me about 3 full days to complete.
I began by removing all plastic parts off of the crib and stabilizing the framework.
(By the way, when you build a crib, do it from outside the framework, or else you will be trapped on the inside. Lesson learned!)
Next, I strategically placed cattle wire on 3 sides to prevent predators from entering. Since I was planning on making this a tractor (mobile coop) I didn’t go all the way to the ground with the cattle wire. I didn’t want to inhibit moving the coop around or damage the grass in the process. Instead, I left very sharp edges (insert evil laugh here) a hair off the ground so that all predators will encounter an unexpected surprise if they try and sneak under.
I wanted to provide extra support for the frame so that when I am rolling it around the homestead, it is very sturdy. I painted four boards (which I cut to exactly the same length as the crib without messing up or cutting a finger off-major accomplishment) and secured them to the crib.
We have plenty of scrap metal roofing that was taken off our shop when the roof was replaced. I decided to utilize these leftovers as the roof. I placed a support bar across the top of the two vertical sides (thank you for the idea hubby) and nailed the roof to the support bar. I also added some decoration to make it a bit more cute. Black Copper Marans lay a dark chocolate colored egg, so I decided to use this fact as inspiration.I then screwed in several natural roosts and got the hubs to help me put in a nesting box and access door. I didn’t want to push my luck and operate the jig saw! I added a bit more decoration and voila, the crib is now officially a chicken coop!