The stores are loaded with cute baby chicks this time of year, and boy does it make me want to bring some more home. When I really look at it though – I know I don’t need more than 4 chickens, and they do grow up so fast.
Being that it is chicken season I thought I would show you guys what we did with our chickens when we moved last summer. We ended up building a reclaimed wood chicken coop for them.
This old barn was on the property when we bought our home. My husband and the Insurance company both wanted it to be taken down, but I loved the old boards, and the cute windows so I begged to keep it. It has character right!
My husband proved to me that it really was rotten on the inside and it really should come down, but before we took it down we moved our 4 chickens into it until we could build them a coop.
The poor chickens were not so sure about the move. First, we put them in the dog kennel to transport them, and then we stuck them in this old barn.
They could only see daylight if they got up on the window seal , and just doing that was a balancing act, being that the seals were really pretty narrow. I could tell that they were feeling sad, and wishing for their old home. We didn’t let them out at first, because we were not sure if the neighbors cats and the coyotes would get them. So there they waited until their new coop was ready.
We started by building an 8′ x 8′ framed box. This would be the inside of the coop.
Next we attached an outdoor chicken run. We used chicken wire on the sides and on the top to help keep predators out, but the bottom we did not wire, because we wanted them to be able to scratch at the ground.
Although I wasn’t able to keep the old barn structure, I was able to keep the pretty boards that I loved, and reuse them on the new coop. It became my job to pull all those old boards off, and let me tell you that it was not easy – especially in the heat. I worked for days and days at it. We were lucky that the old barn had wood on the inside and the outside so that the chickens were still safe and sound inside.
You would think that building a smaller coop would be no problem. You would think that there would be plenty of wood to salvage off the old barn to build an 8′ x 8′ coop, but this proved to be a challenge. The old structure had a lot of windows and doors – which meant that there were a lot of short boards on the building, most of which could not be used. The boards near the roof line were also being held captive by some bees. So they were off-limits also. It ended up that I had to pull almost every board off of every side of that old structure to make our new one work.
Inside the walls we found a few treasures. We found some old car license plates, an old thermometer that still worked, and this cute old chicken calendar. The calendar was used to record the egg counts of the chickens that used to live in this barn. It has the funniest artwork inside and I think I will use some of the pictures in our new home in some artsy way.
So we started piecing together our reclaimed wood chicken coop. On the inside bottom we did put down some small holed wire to help keep out pests, and we were able to salvage one of the cute windows that we also lined with wire.
Once I got a board off the barn I would lay it in the yard so my daughter would be able to see the length. She would then pick the one that was the closest to the length her father needed.
Then she would measure and cut the board and bring it to her father to nail up. It was really a great assembly line.
Because we felt so bad for our poor chickens – we ended up putting together the 3 outside walls and then the roof so that they could move into the new coop a little faster. The last wall could be built with them in there.
So we filled up the bottom of the coop with sand. We ended up putting in about a foot of sand just so that when we stepped into the coop we would not trip over the door frame.
Inside we placed their water and feed on crates so that the sand would not get in them, and also so they would be the perfect height for the chickens to get to. They also have a perch and two nest boxes.
The nest boxes were set up like bunk beds, and I do find eggs in both of them so they do like them.
In the outdoor area my husband also put up two perches.
I notice that every morning they do sit up there and bask in the sunlight or soak in the rain – they don’t seem to care.
The lasts boards went on with everyone’s help. The chickens and the dog all wanted to be part of that memorable day. And if you look through the doorway you will see my girl standing there with a camera.
Even with all the action that was happening in the coop. The second egg of the day was being laid at that very moment.
So the chicken coop was built for them to have a safe place to sleep, and an outdoor area for them to use during the day – when we don’t want them out running about the yard or when we are not home to watch them.
I think they are really comfortable in their new home.
And although it is smaller than the other barn, at least they can peck the ground and lay in the sun if they want to.
One special day I came home and looked outside toward the coop and I noticed that my husband had built a sweet flower box under the coop window. I just love our reclaimed wood chicken coop and the special little details it has.