It is important when choosing what to house your chickens in that you pick a place that you will not outgrow too quickly. This post will walk you through how to convert a shed into a chicken coop.
Raising chickens is an addiction. Sure you start out with two or three, but then before you know it you have a whole flock running around your yard.
If you want to let your hens free range, you need to be careful where you put your coop. Chickens poo, a lot and they do it anywhere they want without any concern for us barefoot walking people.
In no time at all, walking through the grass is like navigating a minefield especially if you are in bare feet! So choose carefully…that is all I am going to say on that. Ahem.
We used to house our pigs in a 10 x 13-foot shed, but as we soon found out raising pigs is an addiction as well and we outgrew that shed rather quickly.
The good news is I could use the shed as our new chicken coop. The bad news is it was in the wrong spot and needed to be moved to the other side of the property. That task alone was a day-long event.
Actually, all in all, the whole project took a week. One day to “de-pig” the shed (AKA, shovel, hose, scrape, hose, sweep and hose once more), one day to move it, one day to build the inside pen and two days to build the run. Luckily the cost was minimal. $25 in lumber and $15 in chicken wire. The rest of the materials we had on hand already.
I pride myself in repurposing anything and everything I can. To me, functionality is number one rather than looks, much to Handy Man’s dismay.
So back to the topic. I like to do things in steps and I think it is easier to read them that way as well.
Step by step guide to converting a shed into a chicken coop.
Step #1. Pick the perfect spot for your coop because you won’t be moving it anytime soon!
First like I said we needed to move the shed to the other side of the property. Handy Man was in charge of pulling with the tractor while his brother repositioned logs underneath the shed to help it move easier and do less damage to our yard.
Somehow I think Handy Man got the easier part of this job.
Let me stop here to say that choosing the right spot took DAYS to decide. I knew I had one shot here, there was no way Handy Man was going to move that shed a second time. I finally decided to put the shed in-between the garden and the barn was the best spot.
If you are new to chickens then I suggest you read my post on how to raise chickens next to your garden before diving in.
Chickens can quickly and quite efficiently destroy a newly planted garden in record time so taking precautions is advised. With that being said, chickens are a dream at breaking up a garden in the spring so for that reason alone I like them to have easy access.
Okay, back to the shed.
Step #2. Set up the interior
When you set up your coop you need to make sure you have room for a roost, feeder, water, and nesting boxes.
If it allows I suggest an area for storage to make feeding time easier but this is not necessary.
Step #3. Construct a wall and door
Once we had the shed settled in its spot, my wonderful father who was visiting us on vacation stepped in to do the interior renovations. He built a framed wall with a door that was all covered in chicken wire.
The outer area is usually where I keep the bedding and feed, but right now it is housing my older hens at night while the babies are in the coop and run.
NOTE: We have since extended the inside of the coop since our flock doubled in size. (see I told you, addiction).
When you build your coop it is important to make sure you have enough room for all your birds to prevent hen-pecking.
Step #4. Have safe access to your outside run.
The next step was to get a door in for the chickens to access the outside run.
Hubs happened to have a doggie door in the basement that would work perfectly.
I have no idea why he had this, but I don’t ask I just use! My dad cut a hole in the back corner and installed the doggie door.
I must say it works perfectly!
Step #5. Put in your nesting boxes.
I suggest doing this first since your nesting boxes are going to be the biggest item in your coop. When placing them it is important that you chose the best spot for them. Keep it away from drafts and off in a corner if possible.
I like to keep mine close to the door so it is easier to collect eggs.
Want to make your own? You can see how we did it using what we had on hand.
Step #6. Add some roosts for your chickens.
Next, we needed to build and install our roosts for our hens to sleep on at night.
We built two with scrap pieces of wood both that are ladder-shaped and hold the girls quite well.
You can read all about chicken roosts here for tips on spacing.
When I am feeding in the mornings the birds on the top rung of the ladder roost jump down to eat their grain and I have been landed on too many times to count. So, there’s another tip for ya!
Step #7. Hang your water and feeder.
I highly recommend hanging both your waterer and your feeder.
This really cuts down on waste. Chickens like to scratch all the time and all that bedding can get tossed into their water or feed. If you hang it up it helps keep things clean.
In the winter I prefer to use a water bowl.
You can see why in How To Winterize Your Chicken Coop.
Step #9. Build an outdoor run.
Even if you plan to free range your chickens I still highly suggest you build a run as well.
Chickens still like to be outside at dusk and dawn when it’s starting or still is dark.
There are quite a few predators out at that time so having a safe outdoor chicken run for them to browse in is a good idea.
Make sure to include access to the run from outside. Our run needs maintenance quite often so easy access is key.
Step #10. Bring in your chickens!
At this point, the birds could be moved in until Handy Man could build the outside run. They were quite happy with their new digs and quickly made themselves at home.
CONVERTING A SHED INTO A CHICKEN COOP SUPPLY LIST
- Chicken Wire – Be sure to get a good sturdy wire that will keep your chickens in and predators out.
- Plastic Chicken Waterer – This one works great if your weather is mild.
- Metal Chicken Waterer – Better for winter months.
- Chicken Feeder – This feeder works great and will last the longest.
- Bedding – I prefer wood shavings because it really soaks up the moisture.
- Doggie Door – A great way to let the chickens in and out quickly and easily.
And here is the final product. Little did I know 8 years ago when we bought this shed for our boy’s 4H projects that it would someday be a chicken house for our hens. It’s funny how things evolve on a farm. 🙂
Want more? You can find all of my Raising Chickens posts here!