Flip This Coop

In August of 2010, my friend Julie offered us 4 chickens, 2 Rhode Island Reds and 2 New Hampshire Reds.  Our challenge was to build them some type of coop and chicken run.  Rising to the challenge, we decided to try an adaptive reuse of our daughter’s old swing set.

We spent $300 on plywood, chicken wire & nails and the construction began.  The slide area was to become the coop and the swing area would become the run.  We built a frame around the bottom and added ribs in the middle so that we could attach the chicken wire to it.

The coop was framed in, a drop down door into the run was installed with a cut out for the chicken door.  The drop down door would enable us to clean the coop with ease, and would also give us the option to leave the door down on the hot summer days.  The original top of the slide was left open as a loft area.  We built a narrow door into the chicken run at the other end of the “swing set”, and began attaching the chicken wire.  It took three separate pieces of chicken wire, which we then weaved together to keep predators out.

Because our property abuts conservation land, we are surrounded by porcupines, raccoon, foxes, fishers and skunks that would love to get into the chicken run.  Dom adds a netting of chicken wire around the run to act as a barrier.  It is then covered with a thick layer of dirt and a thick layer of stones.  The theory is that anything trying to dig under the frame would try close to the coop and not 1 1/2 feet out.

Ramps were added, food & water put in place and the girls were ready to come home to roost!  They were hand raised by Julie and her family and seemed to really like people.  One of them jumped into my lap and another one flew up onto my daughter’s back when she was bent over.

The first night, the girls climbed the ladder to the loft and roosted up there.  The fourth one up had quite a job getting into place and some nights, I went out and helped her into place.  As they grew a little bigger and couldn’t fit up there together, we added a cross piece behind which gave them more roosting room.  From left to right…Griff, Henrietta, Julie, and Hyacinth.

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