I’ve been meaning to blog about this for ages, but my vacation got in the way. We finally finished the chicken coop. Chuck built the actual coop part ages ago, but after Ray killed the hens, we had to enclose the whole space, which took a little while. And I’m proud to say that the only thing we bought for the coop was a roll of plastic bird fencing. Everything else was recycled. There is chain link fence along the bottom part of the enclosure and then I covered it with old twig fencing that I’d saved when I replaced the chain link with stockade fence — it looks good and keeps the chickens from sticking their heads through the chain link (where Raymond would like to bite them off). I also used recycled twig fencing on the roof of the enclosure for shade (although I have to get out and zip tie it down before the fall winds start). It gets really hot in that back corner of the yard, and not only does the twig fencing provide some shade, but I can hose it down for a little evaporative cooling as well. I used an old window screen up on top of the coop roof — it provides some structural support and keeps the hens from breaking out into the alley.
I made nesting boxes from stuff that was lying around. We’ve been drinking this cheap beer all summer, and the boxes work really well. I also used five-gallon buckets for nesting boxes under the roosting bar — they protect the eggs from chicken poop. We’ll have to see how this all works in the winter. So far, the chickens like the nesting box closest to the wall, and the two buckets. There are seven chickens, and when it gets cold and we have to start closing the coop door at night, it might get pretty crowded in there. But for now, these are working really nicely.
The last frontier was the gate. The original gate is the recycled gate from the chain link fence, but since the wily chickens kept coming over the top, Chuck pulled this partial screen door out of his stash of recycled house parts, built a frame for it, and attached it to the original gate. It’s a little goofy looking, but works really well and keeps the chickens safely inside.
So there it is, the $21 chicken coop. I spent money on the hens (about $12 for the first six, then $5 a piece for the replacement hens), and money on the feeder ($15) and waterer ($27). But for the coop itself, it was all recycled. The wood was from Chuck’s stash, the body of the coop itself was a packing crate in which my friend Sabrina had some old family portraits shipped over from England, the twig fencing was orignially on the chain link fence I replaced here at my house, the wire fencing for the roof was left over from the garden. It’s been about a month with the new chickens, and so far, mortality is at zero, and we’re getting half a dozen eggs a day. Go chickens!