OPERATION: MAKE CHICKEN COOP COOL

Coop.001Our old chicken coop was beginning to look a bit tired.  Also, due to the high traffic flow, it was surrounded by nothing but dirt and mud which we didn’t want to track everywhere.  So this late winter, while we still had time before spring planting season, we decided to give the old coop and the surrounding area a much needed facelift.  With homesteading, timing is everything.  That’s why it was so important to get this project done now, because planting season can use up so much of our time.  And even though the coop was still functional, it needed several repairs and we just wanted to make it look nice. IMG_3098

Here’s how we did it for less than $25.  As you can see in our pictures, the coop was located inside an old raised garden bed.  In order to build the walkway around the coop we needed to level the area the best we could.  It’s important to know that nothing in this project is perfectly square, level, or even.  We just did the best we could with what we had.

First we laid down some old plastic we had to keep the grass from growing up through the walkway.  Second, we used scrap wood to level up several pallets on top of the plastic that we used as the base to mount the deck boards to.  We got the pallets for free off Craigslist.  For areas around the coop that were too small to fit a full pallet we simply just cut pallets down to the size we needed and laid them on the ground.  Once, we had the support structure in place, we began nailing the old deck boards to the pallets and the raised garden bed boards.  2×4’s were nailed to the bottom of the coop to give the deck boards something to rest on and secure to the structure. The deck boards came from our old deck that we replaced last summer.  They were pretty rough, but we just flipped them over leaving the bottom of the deck boards now facing up.  This gave us a much smoother surface to walk on and much nicer to look at.  Had we not already had the deck boards, we would have gotten them off Craigslist.  People are always offering to give away their old decks for FREE if you tear it down and haul it away for them.  As you can see in one of the pictures, we actually ran out of wood long enough to finish the last corner.  We had to improvise and make a diamond pattern with smaller pieces of deck boards, but we think it turned out to be a cool look for the structure.

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Throughout the building process, we wanted to incorporate a wild flower area next to the coop and an area to grow peas and beans on the opposite side of the walkway.  Once the deck was done, we laid down a weed barrier that we had left over from previous projects and stapled it down to the sides of the new walkway to hold it in place.  We used the straw that we cleaned out of our goat house to line the bottom of these 2 new garden areas and covered that with topsoil.  We have several composting bins on the property in an attempt to gain as much nutrient rich soil as we can.  Living in Missouri, the soil can be pretty bad out here.

We already had a small 8′ x 4′ garden area next to the coop for our watermelons.  We decided to make this garden bed home to our tomatoes.  By using two sections of railing from our old deck we were able to give the tomatoes their own little space and give the bed a nice clean look.  Our 5-year-old son even pitched in and painted the railings white.

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In regards to the coop, it needed several repairs and needed to be strengthened.  Especially, after predators ate a hole through the chicken wire.  We used scrap 2×4’s to strengthen the base of the coop and give us something to nail 1′ x 1′ rabbit wire into on the base of the coop to prevent further attacks on our chickens.  We had some wire left over from our rabbit hutch project but we had to buy 1 more roll for $13 to finish “Fort Knoxing” up our coop.  We had some leftover blue paint from a previous renovation and used that to paint the roof of the coop.  We did have to buy 2 cans of white spray paint for the outside of the coop because the white paint we had froze this winter and went bad.  We finally, ripped a 2×4 in half, painted it white with some Kilz primer we had laying around, and nailed it into the side of the coop to cover up all those staples we used to secure the chicken and rabbit wire.  We feel it just gave the coop a nice clean look.

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