Saturday, October 4, 2014

Chicken Coop Feng Shui

At our homestead, we have three places for chickens to hang out, depending on the circumstances.  We have the row cover chicken tractor, which fits neatly over our garden beds, but doesn't have enough predator proofing to keep the chooks safe overnight.  Then we have the A-frame chicken tractor, which is pretty predator proof, but doesn't have much room for nest boxes (which we need now that they've started laying).  Lastly, we have part of a shed that shares a wall with the garage.  It doesn't give the chickens free access to the grass (yet), but it gives them the most space to move around, the best predator protection, and, we'll admit it, it's easiest on us.  (We still herd them out to the yard every time we have a few hours.)

A couple weeks ago, our Easter Egger caught us off-guard by starting to lay at 19 weeks old, followed shortly by the Rhode Island Red.  How did they know what to do?  We didn't even have our nesting boxes ready!  We clearly had to get the boxes built ASAP, and we took the opportunity to rearrange the shed coop and get the positive energy flowing more smoothly.

This is what the coop looks like from the outside, after rearranging.  We don't have a picture from before we reorganized it because it's probably bad karma to publish such things.

On the innermost corner, we built a platform, supported between two studs and on some pruned buckthorn trunks.

Then we built a nest box or three to go on the platform out of old fence wood...

...set it on the platform, and filled it with some of the straw-like tall grass from the yard.  This setup must be ok, the first egg was laid in it 20 minutes after the chickens first saw it.

Then we added a roost above the nest boxes.  As it's shown in the picture, the poles are too close together.  We're going to fix that soon.  But it's better than the 2 x 4s we had hanging from the ceiling before this renovation!  We also built a 'droppings box' out of an old 1 x 12 and some fence pickets, which helps keep the top of the nest boxes clean (shown in picture below).

The chickens can all fly up to the platform, but we have a pallet ladder to make it easier for them.  Some of them also seem to like the challenge of climbing the ladder and shuffling across the other stick to get to the platform.  We haven't heard them cluck the Mission: Impossible theme yet, but they're getting there.  Also notice the chicken feeder full of grit hanging underneath the platform, and the oyster shell dispenser behind that.  How 'bout that use of vertical space?

Good job, ladies.  Mission accomplished.

How do you make the best use of your coop space?  Let us know in the comments section below!


  1. So awesome Jake we could have done this in Voyages and B235

  2. Beauty! Love your pics and thanks for sharing the process - i'm inspired!