From House to Chicken Coop

The now-demolished house from which we salvaged roofing and siding.

The now-demolished house from which we salvaged roofing and siding.

Our new coop taking shape.

Our new coop taking shape.

I have heard of chicken coops that have been converted into little cottages but, here, we have done the opposite (sort of). It all began when we started with chickens for the first time, which was last spring (2013). As the chicks grew, they demanded better housing. We started them in a large trough, meant to water livestock. Later, we put them in a corral. Soon, Mr. and Mrs. Pepper, black and white Wyandottes, began an evening ritual of flying onto the top of the corral and strolling along the rails. What a pair they were! Alas, wings and courage strengthened and we had to move the chickens into a dog kennel with a cover over it to keep them contained so our neighborhood’s wandering dogs would not kill them.

Meanwhile, back at the farm planning headquarters, my husband began searching for coop plans. He went so far as to purchase a set of plans online, at my suggestion. Then, as we were at Home Depot shopping for the supplies, he began to hem and haw over it all. Next thing I knew, he was scrapping those purchased plans and designing his own.

Across the street, a house was slated for demolition. It was once a charming little two-story cottage, I believe. Roses still clung to it, hoping for better days, again. Vandals had desecrated the insides with disturbing graffiti and the owners were required to remove the house when they made a guest quarters elsewhere on their property, due to county zoning ordinances. My husband had received permission to salvage some aluminum roofing panels and wood siding from the house before tear-down. So, we had these old materials on hand and my husband decided to use them on the new coop.

He built the coop during most weekends over a three month period. We have our nine hens in there now and they have begun to happily lay eggs, again, with the longer daylight hours provided with a timed light. We joke about the cost of each of those eggs as we gather them. I will not state the amount of money this coop ended up costing us to build, even with the salvaged roofing and siding–because it is unreasonable. But we also console ourselves with the knowledge that the new coop will outlast any other outbuilding on our property. Someone down the line may appreciate that it was built well–and they won’t have to worry about the cost!

I absolutely loved the look of the old siding on the coop. However, my husband insisted that we paint it afresh to protect the wood. The finished coop is now barn red with white trim. I will be painting a mural on one end and on the two doors, come spring. Also, it was just too cold to finish painting the trim. I found that paint just does not flow well in cold weather. I look forward to my part in this project!

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