How to Make Your DIY Chicken Coop Cozy

Posted on April 10, 2017

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Editor’s Note: This week’s DIY Done Right blog post comes from Lydia Poulsen, Product Manager for National Accounts. Thank you Lydia, for this week’s post. 

Pinterest has captured a new style trend: farmhouse. Farmhouse style has become a downright obsession these days. Whether it’s mason jars or wood signs, barn doors or old furniture, you can’t help but be inspired by some kind of DIY project everywhere you go, and bringing this trend outside is no different.

example of farmhouse style decor.

An example of farmhouse style decor.

Whether you live on an actual farm, or just in a residential housing tract (like me), everyone seems to want a piece of that farmhouse life. At least I do, which is why when we bought our new house last November, getting some chickens was at the top of the honey-do list. You can’t get any more farmhouse than raising your own chickens! Not only did we want farm-fresh eggs like Minara talked about in her last post, but we knew that our kids (ages 7 and 9) would be thrilled to have their very own chickens.

We started by spending countless hours on Pinterest researching chicken coop ideas and how to raise chickens. I should mention now that when I say “we,” I really mean my handy hubby. I consider myself a professional when it comes to pinning things on Pinterest, but he’s the one who makes the projects happen. Plus, if I didn’t give credit where it is due, I probably wouldn’t get fed (yes, he cooks, too). Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely consider myself a DIYer — I just like to stick to simple projects like refurbished furniture or crafty décor projects while he handles all the heavy lifting.

Build/Buy a Chicken Coop

So we looked at many ideas and found some pre-made chicken coop options available. Unfortunately, they were all pretty small and expensive. Since I work for Simpson Strong-Tie, however, it made sense that we consider building our own chicken coop, and one lucky day I came across a chicken coop that our Senior Testing R&D Lab Technician, Steve Ziagos, had built for the DIY hen house cut sheet that you may recall from a few weeks ago. Does this look familiar?

Simpson Strong-Tie Chicken Coop.

Simpson Strong-Tie Chicken Coop.

I saw it sitting there, all alone, just waiting to be used. So I asked the lab whether the DIY chicken coop needed a home. And just like that, I became the proud owner of my very own chicken coop.

I arranged for the hubby to pick it up (like I said, he makes the things happen) and, before I knew it, I had a DIY chicken coop in the backyard. And a weekend later, he was already working on “the additions.” The coop was great as is, but he’s not one to keep things basic. He wanted to make sure that the chicken coop was as cozy as possible for our new chickens.

Customize Your Coop with Additions

He worked his magic by adding a divided nesting area (a chick needs her privacy) with a drop-down door to let us easily grab those farm-fresh eggs. Throw in a splash of “barn-red” paint, and of course, no chicken coop would be complete without some wood border accents and white trim. Here is a list of our chicken coop additions:

Additions:

  • Plywood — one sheet of 4ʹ x 8ʹ, ½” or thicker
  • Hinges (for drop-down)
  • 24″ of chain (12″ for each side)
  • Latches (we used one for each side)
  • Roof tiles
  • Red barn paint
  • White paint
  • 1×2 lumber (about 6ʹ total for the hen house), extra for the wood border
  • Various screws

He didn’t stop there. He added a nice shingled roof to keep the residents dry and protected. We plan to add some stick-and-peel tiles to the nesting area as well for easy cleanup (that will be the kid’s job).

Finished Simpson Strong-Tie Chicken Coop.

Finished Simpson Strong-Tie Chicken Coop.

Simpson Strong-Tie Chicken Coop with modifications.

Simpson Strong-Tie Chicken Coop with modifications.

Select Your Chickens

Now that the coop was ready, it was time to get some chickens. Since raising chickens is all the rage right now, it wasn’t too hard to find some free, egg-laying chickens. We headed down to the local feed store with adult chickens in mind. I figured it would be a $25 bag of feed and we’d be on our way, but that would be much too easy. When the kids (okay, and me, too) heard the baby chicks cheeping, we were sold. Five baby chicks later, along with the entire starter kit to keep them alive and two very “egg-cited” kids, we were finally ready to head home.

Even though we have to wait five months before they start laying eggs, it seems worth it. I mean, how could you not want to take these adorable fluffy things home?

Baby Chicks

Our little chicks before they head to the chicken coop.

Enjoy Your Chicken Coop

So there it is. We have officially brought some country living to the city life. Speaking of city, it’s probably smart to check with your city chicken ordinance before you go falling in love with any chicks. My city doesn’t allow roosters and has a ten-hen limit, and they require that the living area is three square feet per bird. They require a permit as well. (See I did my homework.)

Next on the honey-do list are some raised planter boxes, which are already in the works. Wood has already been cut, and I just received my shipment of the ML26Zs for some added support. Our tiny farm is well on its way and we should be enjoying it all by this fall. Sounds to me like I can officially hang a well-deserved “Farmhouse” sign in my kitchen. Now that’s a project I can handle on my own!