Looking for ways to DIY the best chicken coop for your flock? Do you save recycled materials for those just in case scenarios? There are materials needed to house your flock, waterers, feeders and nest boxes just to name a few. I am here to tell you it is possible to achieve your dream even on a budget. All you have to do is think of what you and/or your flock need and get creative.
When I first decided to buy chickens I was completely naive about what exactly that would entail. I thought I would have these birds that I could just put in my yard, throw them some food and be rewarded with eggs. We all know that is not exactly what happened. Now, I have chickens depending on me to not only give them food but shelter and protection from predators. If you are new to this as I was, predators come in all sizes from the sky to the ground and everywhere in between.
I am going to share with you how we survived this transition using mostly recycled materials. Yes, you read that correctly. One thing I have learned is when there is a will, there is away! Do not be afraid to think outside of the box, when building the best chicken coop for your property.
Search For Best Chicken Coop Materials
First, I want you to ask yourself, what materials do I have already that can be utilized for basic housing needs? Have you recently torn down and old barn or shed? Do you have used tin roofing, lumber, doors or any reusable hardware? Even better, do you have a building still standing that you thought was a lost cause and considered bringing it down? Believe it or not these small items can save you a small fortune as well as cleaning your place up a bit. Building the best chicken coop for your needs doesn’t have to start from scratch.
After you have searched high and low in your own backyard it’s time to figure out what you don’t have, but, still need for your enclosure. Once I found all I could at home, my next step was to ask friends and family. Most of the time they will have something useful and are beyond happy to have it gone! You may be surprised at this point at just how much you have to build the best chicken coop for your feathered friends.
Convert a Shed to the Best Chicken Coop for Your Flock!
Once again take inventory. In this part of my own journey I had an 8 x 6 shed without a door, and old metal sign, a wooden screen door frame with no screen, material for roost bars, and old dresser and a large cage made of small gauge steel wire. Making a chicken coop from a garden shed was going well so far. I knew I could definitely work with these items for the roost/ nesting space. It would not be long before they would be ready to free range during the day. I still needed material for a fenced in area for them to roam safely.
Now comes the fun part. Going out into your community. Do you have shopping centers nearby? A local furniture store? Or even your family grocery store? All of these places that have trucks deliver goods usually deliver on wooden pallets. Your job is to ask them what happens to their pallets once they have been unloaded of the goods. Some may tell you that they reuse pallets, but eventually you will find a store that throws them away and is more than happy to let you take them all!
That is exactly what I did. Keep in mind that not all wood pallets are created equal, but they are all useful. Some have wood far apart while others will look like a privacy fence when standing on its side. After you find a place to get pallets, it is pretty much a never ending supply of free wood.The possibilities are endless my friends.
Now it is time to make use of the items you managed to gather. I am going to share what I personally did with the recycled materials I found, to give you a better perspective.
Pulling it All Together for the Best Chicken Coop!
I cleared out the shed of anything that could be a potential risk to a chicken. Used boards from the not so equal pallets to patch any holes that predators could slip through. I also reinforced the old dresser drawers with those boards, attaching them between studs on the wall for nest boxes. Inside the coop I attached the wooden boards as roosting bars. Using the wooden screen door frame and cage, I created a predator proof door for exactly zero dollars.
I did not want my birds using the screen door each day to reach their run so I did the only logical thing I could think of. A chicken size hole was cut in the wall of the shed leading directly into the run. I know what you must be thinking. This woman went through all the trouble of patching tiny holes and now she just made a big one on purpose?! Well, that is exactly what I did with the help of my husband.
The metal sign I found was now going to be hung from a rope on a pulley to be their new chicken door! Every morning we pull the rope to let them forage and every evening when they go to roost we lower it to keep them safe inside. Honestly, I thought it was a brilliant idea.
Pallet Use for More Chicken House Ideas
You may be wondering what else did I use those pallets for? I actually did a plethora of things, because like I said, it is an endless supply. The first thing I did was make a fenced in run. I did not take the pallets apart board by board. That seemed silly to me since I wanted them well protected. If stood on its side a wood pallet is like a double wooden fence. They also slide together nicely so they can be screwed together, either side by side or stacked two tall. Pretty perfect if you ask me. My chickens then had a run as big as my house is long!
Now I would like to share with you the items I had to purchase for building the entire enclosure for my backyard chickens. 1) a pulley from the hardware store for $.89 plus tax. 2) there is no 2 because I only had to purchase the pulley! Pretty amazing that for less than a dollar a safe haven can be created, right?
Of course this is only an example of what I did. This can be done with all sorts of materials to fit whatever needs you may have. Since the initial enclosure, I have built an entire guinea Coop with nothing but wood pallets from top to bottom. It cost under five dollars for the hardware. I have also made a quail aviary out of the black safety net used for trampolines that someone was throwing away!
Use your imagination. Everything you see can probably be recycled, refurbished and reused in your own backyard! Your chickens are going to enjoy living in the best chicken coop made just for them.
Many thanks to Wendy Spencer for this guest post. Follow Wendy on Instagram @wendyalexis78 For more Do it Yourself ideas please look for my recently released book, 50 Do it Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens,by Janet Garman (SkyhorsePublishing 2018) You can purchase a copy here on this website. The book is also available through Amazon.com through this affiliate link which does bring me a few extra cents but does not change the price you pay for the book.