Monday, July 15, 2013

Making a Chicken Coop with what we have (Buying almost nothing!)

 The big project at our house this Spring/Summer has been making a chicken coop. As I mentioned before we got chicks on June 18th (17 of them but one did die so we have 16). Well, they needed a coop. I figured that we could make a coop pretty well using things that we have on hand along with pallets that we are able to get for free. It did end up working out pretty well! All we have had to buy (and possibly we could have actually managed without them) was 5 2 x 4's and a box of nails.

 Here is a pictorial journal of the process.

 We started out making the framework of course. For this we were able to mostly use lumber that had been part of our tree fort that fell down in the storm last year. We also used a few boards that we had just laying around as well as a some boards that came from the pallets.

  After going through the boards we had we drew up a plan that would work with what we had. Ken helped a lot during the framing process which I was very thankful for. This was more the kids and my project but the framing process was a little daunting and I was very thankful for his help.

 Jonathan was the main one to use the drill during the whole process (even more than Ken or I). Building this chicken coop has been a great learning experience for all the kids (and me).

 We didn't have any whole days to just devote to working on it so we just worked on it whenever we could, a little at a time.
 After the frame was up we needed to add more to it of course.
  We were able to find some old political signs that we knew would work well for insulation as well as working for a temporary roof.
 Mara didn't start out being very interested in the project but after I required her to help one day she found she really enjoyed pounding nails and was out to help most times after that. Anytime we needed to work on the roof I found I had plenty of helpers as going up on the roof to work just seems exciting.

 We put a double thickness of big signs over the main part of the roof and then over the peak we bent and layered signs which worked pretty well.
 The walls going up was quite exciting. The kids very much enjoyed nailing them in place. For that we used pallet boards. My big job was to pull all the pallets apart. That created quite a workout for me as the kids weren't really didn't quite have the strength to do it and so they just helped in pounding nails out and Ken was generally working and also didn't have any interest in working with pallets.
  My next workout came when our electric miter saw (which Jonathan and I learned how to run with this project!!) rather broke and so we went to cutting our boards with the handsaw. Megan was our board sitter - a good job for her to help keep the boards stable while cutting.
 The walls going up was definitely a fun time!
 We are getting there!
 Ken took care of the slanted cuts for us which was nice!
 My brother was able to fix our saw for us for which we were very grateful (thanks to dad as well who picked it up and I believe replaced the blade as well since the other had gotten bent - as a saw sharpener he tends to have a lot of blades on hand). Jonathan loved getting to use it again.
 We decided to make a door after exploring some other possibilities. Our doorway is small so the door really needed to be custom made. When making the door we ended up learning how to run the jig saw too so that was another power tool that we can now use - yeah!
 The chicks got moved in after the door was put on. They seem to like their new home. Ken had quite a few hinges just laying around, we had a handle that had been used on the tree house and there was a lock in our stash of stuff as well so we didn't have to buy anything here either.
 My parents looked around their place and discovered some extra tin that a friend that moved to Louisiana had left at their place. They measured it and decided it would be perfect for our roof - even complete with a ridge cap. Thanks Jason, for a roof for our chicken coop!

  Dad made us a roof "kit" with pearlings (the boards that go across) cut to the right size. They were some boards that he had cut on his sawmill that weren't perfect shaped but would work fine for our situation. He also brought over the tin that they had found. Dad also brought over some roofing nails that he had but didn't need (he said roofing screws would work better but since he brought nails I decided to go ahead and use them so we didn't have to buy anything here either).

Putting the roof on was a fairly fast and fun job and definitely popular with the kids.

  I had thought I would go to the local ReStore (run by Habitat for Humanity) to find a window (and possibly roofing tin) but my parents came to the rescue on that account too and said the had an old one that they had pulled out of their house. It work well! Ken framed that in for me too.
 After the roof was done we decided we had better paint it. I actually loved the old fashioned rustic look that it had but Ken didn't quite so much and I figured paint would help it last better. I look through our collection of leftover paint and found some that was a good color for the project. It was just barely enough but it worked! The boys helped me paint.
 In this picture you can notice the little door to the side of the window. That is to go into our chicken run when that is done.

 It is so nice to have the coop done to this point. We still plan to insulate it (with more old political signs) and are heading out this morning to get more pallets to make a run with and then we also need to make nesting boxes and permanent roosts but the hard part is done.

  The project was quite a bit of work but very fun, good exercise and a great learning experience.
  We have plans and dreams of making all sorts of other things now!

monday's homestead barn hop


Maria said...

I love it!

Jackie said...

That is a totally cute chicken coop. I love how resourceful you and your family always are. Who would have thought to use political signs as insulation? Love it! :)

Angi Schneider said...

Abbi, I love it. You guys did such a great job. I really like the rustic look, too, but husband probably wouldn't either. Thanks for sharing with us.

Nora aka Mrs. DaybyDay said...

Awesome! My husband has access to tons of pallets..we already implement them quite a bit on our homestead. Will have to give this a try as we build our upcoming duck house, goat shed, and rabbit hutches..oh and probably another chicken coop (you can never have too many chickens!)

Nora aka Mrs. DaybyDay said...

Signed up to follow your blog by email. :)

femmefrugality said...

This is amazing! I'd have no confidence in my architectural prowess, but you guys REALLY did it! Can't wait to see your future building projects!

Kathy Shea Mormino said...

Great teamwork and fabulous use of resources!

Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick


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