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My room mate Adam and I decided we wanted to raise egg hens, so we got 3 Ameraucanas: Louise, Thelma II, and Thunderbird. They are healthy quickly-growing chicks, and the cardboard box we brought them home in was not enough space for them, so we set out to convert an old wood shed in our yard into a single-(chicken)-family housing unit.

Clockwise from top right: Thunderbird, Thelma II, and Louise

Louise is ready for her closeup

One word about DIY chicken cooping, and especially about converting an existing structure: reconsider. Designing a coop from scratch would be a project by itself. Making that coop fit into a non-square, non-level woodshed is just plain difficult. Especially when the masochism doesn’t stop at site selection, but spills over into materials.

Being a couple of modern sorts, we wanted to be as green as was reasonably convenient, which meant recycling. We had a bunch of scrap lumber lying around the yard, so we decided we could piece together the coop using as much of that as possible. This, and the glaring lack of a power saw, made the design process more complicated and the build more awkward and cumbersome.

Long story short, unless you are a seasoned DIY pro (neither of us has any real experience with carpentry), or, like us, you are in it for a bit of adventure, take to the interwebs and find some plans, then build from scratch.

So we got our plans laid out, bought our materials, and started cutting.

As I said, no power saw. My brilliant a** bought the “Jorgensen Miter Box with Saw” instead because it was way cheaper. 0 out of 4 stars. It doesn’t cut a straight line and the cheap plastic broke 1/2 way into the build. Thankfully it made it through all the 45º cuts. We found it was easier to cut 90º without the blasted miter’s box. Also the saw sucks. After ditching the miter’s box we found that the carpenters saw we had cut about 4x faster. Take away lesson: proper tools are well worth it.

And then the build:

We built a table top.

We then attached partitions. The recycled surface of the table dictated its size, so we had to jerry-rig some extra lumber into the gaps left between the table and the wall.

We built a door and a ramp, and then chicken-wired the whole thing, put in wood shavings and fitted a heat lamp, and now the girls have a home!

The (almost) finished coop! We are going to move the compost so that the egg door can open, and we’ve decided to cut the long egg door into 3 separate ones so that Thelma II can’t escape while we are tending to Thunderbird.