Our finished chicken castle... the Coop (with a capital "C" – thank you very much). Made out of scrap wood and spare parts, it was one of the least expensive projects we've ever tackled. Sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed when faced with animal housing. The time, expense, and the worry if it is actually right for your needs. We purchased several books which claimed to have animal housing plans. They did not. We felt cheated and discouraged. We could draw pictures of barns and chicken coops ourselves ... we decided to just wing it. Preflight was discouraging but our spirits recovered before landing.
Josh and I made several trips to the massive wood pile on Post and found old Stryker parts boxes (translation: an infantry fighting vehicle whose parts require commercial kitchen refrigerator-size wooden boxes). We had no idea what we were going to do with the thing but we knew we were going to base our coop around its use. That's how scrap projects work -- you must plan and build to your supplies instead of building to plans. Not for the novice builder ... nope. Good thing I married a pro, huh? Actually, he isn't a professional builder ... he's a Ranger with a lot of good old fashioned common sense who is not afraid of a little hard work. And what did I do? Why, I took pictures, supplied iced tea, and acted as the designer for both the interior and exterior.
While we will probably never be able to replicate this coop, our chickens love it and we are very proud of the silly thing. Everyone who comes to the house admires its functionality and good looks. The chickens love the roomy nesting boxes, doors along the back for ventilation and alternate exits (also for collecting eggs), and the log perch with its neat branch for the bantams.
This design would not work for folks in the far north to winter their birds but for a Southerner interested in raising a small backyard flock … it rocks like KISS (or the Charlie Daniels Band, Alabama, or – insert a totally kickin’ band here – ).
Please, tell us about your chickens, coop, or small-scale farming dreams. We want to know! There's a bar of soap for a lucky reader! Your comment is your entry!
Watch the coop go up:
Scrap lumber made nesting boxes for laying hens.
Here the coop is on its back. Josh added side boards to support the nesting boxes.
Chicken wire on the bottom of the nesting boxes
We used an old parts container to make panels.
Sweet tea & GRIT Magazine: two items that make farm projects enjoyable!
The boxes and floor are lined made with chicken wire and stapled into a frame.
This is an easy solution to a perch ... a branch that fell doen in a storm -- trimmed to fit.
Doors to Nesting Boxes Easy to make and VERY useful!
A large door on both ends makes for easy cleaning and viewing.
We like the red barn look -- cheerful. Be warned: paint is not cheap. Painting turned out to be the most expensive part of the project.
Don't forget to stop in and visit the Razor Family Farms Web site.
Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!LEARN MORE