homemade chicken coop
Hacked chicken coop in progress
It was the best of times and the worst of times.  Teeming with ambition without the finances to match.  However will our fairy tale coop castle come to life?  First we waited for the day to buy PVC pipe for our own hoop house, but we don't have the pickup to gather the needed supplies.  Then, we decided on making a structurally sound coop out of pallets with one of those fancy living roof deals but alas no luck with a truck or resources .  A pickup truck a pickup truck, my queendom for a flatbed!

Finally an ever so random late night bargain design show gave us the idea.  Reuse materials that are already collecting dust to pimp your home decor. Eureka, we could rework the materials we had to make something that might not be 'a good thing' in some circles but would suit our space - and pocketbook - just fine (aka asset based coop construction). We did buy a circular saw which fit perfectly in the back seat of our Grand Am. We then set about the business of building a new and improved coop with the stuff we already had in our backyard.Thank you urban garden fairy!

We started coop renovation with an onion crate that we had previously detached from our coop. The new coop locale was not on concrete, so we dug a 2 foot trench and buried hardware cloth and made a border with old cinder blocks from the yard. We also bought just enough hardware cloth to cover 1/2 of their new earthen run. Plastic hardware cloth temporarily covered the other half of the run. A 4x4 wood garden bed became the frame for our living roof. We didn't have the $40 bucks for pool liner but we did have an out of commission inflatable mattress taking up space in a closet. Once upon a time young AJ pondered just how many pin pricks it would take to deflate said mattress - it took about 20. Don't tell my mother who gifted us the mattress in the first place.  Ahem, well back to the renovation story... Once we put two levels in and enclosed their sleeping quarters, we were able to move the chickens into their new home. 

Next, my husband completely dismantled the old coop and we used its pieces to finish off the new digs. 
  • Replaced plastic hardware cloth with used hardware cloth or doubled chicken wire.
  • Onion crates for extending the greenhouse
  • Chicken wire for covering the back of the greenhouse
  • We saved the plastic painters drop cloth and that's the temporary cover for our greenhouse.
  • Cut and used 2x4s to fortify the new coop's structure
  • Dog house parts used for the roof and the interior door
This process took about 2 weeks.  This morning, I added layers of newspaper under straw and compost mix in the living roof and planted parsley and transplanted a wild blackberry bush that just sprang up in our front yard.  My hope is that the prickly nature of the blackberry bush should keep the dastardly squirrels from getting too curious. The newspaper and straw mulch should keep the mattress from getting ripped. Our The coop de ville is almost complete.

What's the moral of our chicken coop story?  Set aside urban garden hang ups and do something with what you've already got on hand.  Much like a renamed rose, a finished (albeit) hacked coop still smells as sweet, as long as you remember to clean the thing out every once in a while.

New pics and details to come.

Last Updated December 12, 2011
Original Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (gwhiz@germainesolutions.com)
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