Our Homemade Chicken Coop
When we first decided we wanted to try keeping hens, we ended up with a small coop that was designed to be able to be transported in a car. So it was small at built to be at ground level which was difficult to work with. After some time we knew we were happy with having “the girls” around; the eggs were great, the kids loved them and they were good company when out working in the garden. Despite their mess (poop) and fairly destructive nature, we knew they were here to stay and so we decided a housing upgrade was needed that was in keeping with our own place. There are lots of designs and plans available for coops online and once we picked one out as a starting point we decided to add a few extras:
A large overhanging roof to provide some weather protection for the timber structure so it would stand a chance in the Irish climate. The roof was covered with rubber roofing membrane to seal it (leftover from our own roof) and roof plants to match our own house and protect the rubber from the sun.
A double glazed window (some leftover twin wall polycarbonate) and some good quality insulation (sheep’s wool leftover from the house) for summer heat insulation and also to protect against winter cold
Needed to be raised to a comfortable standing height. Apparently the chucks prefer to sleep at height and it makes it ergonomically easier to clean out and get the eggs.
Plastic lined floor to protect the timber from the poop.
The timber was mostly new for this project and it was such fun making this that we make a second upgraded version for our friends to house 4 hens. It has two stacked nesting boxes instead of one and some other upgrades. The sliding door at the front was a reused plastic chopping board that needed a new home.
While on the topic of keeping hens we’d like to highlight a fantastic invention by an Australian ex-plumber who sells his patented chicken feeders online. The Dine a Chook feeders are a must-have and work so well compared to the crappy options we found available in local stores. These brilliantly designed pellet feeders are designed to keep out other wildlife which was a problem for us, and the water feeders are similarly well designed to keep the water clean. Ours feeders are two years old now and working brilliantly to the point where we don’t need to be concerned with changing, refilling or cleaning out for up to 2 weeks at a time. We highly recommend them!