Its done. We’ve finally finished! It took us a while but we have completed our chicken coop and the girls have moved in.
If you’ve read my post on preparing for chicken-keeping, you’ll know that I was on Pinterest looking for housing ideas. I know that prettiness is not the main consideration when planning a chicken coop, but since we were going to build a new structure in the garden, I did want it to blend in. The spot we had chosen as the coop location was already a bit of a dumping ground and the last thing I wanted to do was replace it with an ugly, albeit functional, animal pen.
The Bavarian, wonderful man that he is, listened to all my wishes – having a window box, using salvaged materials, going for a rustic look, using climbing plants – and built a coop that is better than I imagined we could manage. The only compromise we had to make was with the roof. The inital plan had been to use the stack of lovely terracotta roof tiles that the previous owners of the house left in the shed. The problem was that that would have left the coop very dark inside. In the end, after MUCH deliberation, we chose corrugated plexiglass.
Even though operation chicken coop started out as me saying what I wanted and The Bavarian doing it, it quickly turned into a family project and that was wonderful. The boys are at an age now where they can help out and enjoy it. The five of us were outside in all sorts of weather over the few weeks it took us to prepare the coop. We ate picnic lunches in the garden and spent full days outdoors. The Bavarian and I drank endless cups of tea and coffee in the rain as we considered what to do next whenever a problem arose. The children joined in with carrying planks, fetching screws and loved the trips to the DIY store and the saw mill.
Even now, with the coop and run completed, chicken-keeping is very much a family thing. Number One gets up and dressed as soon as he wakes. Then it is wellies on and off to check on the chickens. He has no problem picking them up, rooting for eggs and keeping them from heading for the gate once it is opened. He is the only one of us, so far, who can tell the hens apart with certainty. Two have a few individual features which makes it a bit easier, but the others are pretty much identical.
Number Two and Three are a little standoffish in comparison. Number Two is result-oriented, going in to look for eggs, but is not too fussed about picking up a bird. Number Three loves to stand at the fence and watch them, saying “maw-ning chik-ins” or “bock bock bock”.
Here’s a rough guide to how The Bavarian built the coop and run. He started by measuring and making a general plan. It was important to build the coop on stilts to lessen the chance of damp, cold and of rodents.
After hammering the fencing post holders (I only know the technical name for these in German!) into the ground at the correct distance from one another, he inserted the posts and built the frame for the coop. That was pretty quick to do.
On the right hand side of the front of the coop he built a door, on the left separate panels. The bottom right would be the ramp door for the chickens to use. When all that was done, he installed the insulation and covered it in planks from the saw mill, which he cut to size at home. We were lucky to be able to get planks with bark on one side. I love the look they give the coop.
On the left hand wall of the coop The Bavarian left space for a window. This he covered with a wooden flap. Instead of plexiglass for this window he used fine mesh wire so that it can be used for ventilation. Next to the window are the laying boxes, accessible on from inside the coop.
On the right hand wall of the coop, the bottom half can swing open as a wide, low door. This is for raking out the bedding and cleaning the coop out. The floor and back wall are lined with linoleum so that we can hose the coop out now and again easily.
The door and the decorative window are from my stash of salvaged goods. I am over the moon that we were able to integrate them into the coop. Sadly my window box of geraniums was attacked by the hens before we got to mount it. Hopefully it’ll recover!
To the inside of the shutter door and the side door The Bavarian attached the food and water dispensers, which he also built himself. His talents know no end, I can tell you.
The first eggs have been laid. We are having them for tea today. So now, at last, we are happy chicken owners.
Linking up with
Blogger Club UK with Debbie and Becky
24 thoughts on “Building A Chicken Coop – A Family Project”
Well done to everyone, it’s looks fab. I think this my favourite bit though: Number Three loves to stand at the fence and watch them, saying “maw-ning chik-ins” or “bock bock bock”.
Oh he is so cute with them. Today he was telling them “Bye bye chik-ins. Go shops” before we left to do the shopping.
This looks like a really fun family project. I’d love to have chickens but sadly I live in a flat in London!
London is a prety fab place to live though, to be fair.
Maybe one day you’ll become a country dweller like us and get your own 🙂
Thanks for stopping by Nancy.
Oh i love this post! My husband built a specially made ferret hutch a year or so ago and it’s oe of my favourite DIY projects to date. Good job 🙂 x
Thanks Karen. My husband would love ferrets too. We’ll stick with just chickens for the moment though.
Yay!!!!!! You’ve done it!!!!!!! I absolutely LOVE this post Fionn! So, so happy you’ve finally got your chooks! That clever old Bavarian! I love what he’s done — it looks even better than your Pinterest reference!!
Well done all 🙂 Thanks ever so much for sharing with #HomeEtc — Caro xx
We did! At last, after talking about it for an age.
Yes, The Bavarian is fairly handy with a hammer and nails. Funny the talents you discover once you have a house and garden 😉
This looks so great, and your chickies really seem to love it 🙂 I really like how you’ve added the window details and made it look so cool! x
Thank you Julia. I really wanted to incorporate some of the vintage salvage bits I had gathered for random projects. The Bavarian made a great job of going along with my wishes.
Ooo, how exciting!!! It looks fab, too. He did a great job. How were the eggs?! My mum and dad have chickens and the fresh eggs are so hard to beat.
The eggs are delicious Rachel. I’ll pass on your praise to The Bavarian.
Hurrah! I have been SO excited to see your progress and it is so nice to see the whole family getting involved. Bet those eggs are amazing. Thanks for linking up and sharing, love jess xx
It has been such an exciting, fun time for us all. The eggs are delicious, and plentiful. The kids are enthralled by the chickens, not at all shy and even I, not much of an animal person, have found myself chatting to them too.
It looks fantastic! I’m glad to hens are settling in well. This is really making me fancy keeping them again. I know my youngest would love looking after them so much!
We are really enjoying it Lizzie. The kdis have taken to the hens so well, it is incredible.
Oh my goodness, I am envious a million times over!! I know exactly what you mean about wanting what’s the best for the chickens but also not wanting to give over a large chunk of garden to something which isn’t massively attractive so I will be following these tips very closely should we go down that route of being chicken owners. Although I have to say, you have one talented husband since Pete would refuse point blank to build something even though I’m sure he could! So happy for you X #HomeEtc
I’ll pass on your praise Lins. He has turned out to be very handy indeed, the Bavarian.
I love how the coop has turned out. I couldn’t bear to have some ugly monstrosity in the garden. If you do get chickens, you could do a great pimp up job on a bought coop / hutch to make it your own.
Wow well done! Those are some lucky chickens – what a fab house & surrounding space they have there! Thanks so much for linking up with #bloggerclubuk x
Thanks Becky. They seem happy with it anyway 😉