Two Chicken Coop Sheds We Love
Chicken Coop Plans That Transform Sheds into Flock-Worthy Abodes
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Chicken Coop Shed #1
By Stephanie Thomas – In 2005 both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer. Life definitely changed, and not really for the best. I am a stay-at-home mom trying to keep things together. Inside I was stressed to the max! So when my husband came to me in the spring of 2006 and asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, to his surprise, I asked for chickens and a chicken coop. I mean if Martha Stewart can have chickens, why can’t I? I had never been around farm animals in my life, but I was looking for a new hobby to keep my mind off of life and the stresses it can bring.
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My parents passed away in 2010, three-and-a-half months apart. Even with all the sadness that it brought, my chickens never let me down. I could go out to my chicken coop and immediately feel just a little bit better. By this time, I had built a bigger chicken coop but I still was not quite satisfied.
This past year, we were in the process of building a garage, and my husband had decided to get rid of our storage shed. I immediately stopped him and said it would be perfect for a new coop. He has such a love-hate relationship with my chickens, but he went along with my plan. I first had the walls cut out, where we added chicken wire for air flow. I made enough nesting boxes for everyone, but they still like to all lay together. We painted the outside bright red because it was a happy color. I added my touches of decor and moved all the girls in. Once I added landscaping, I included my parents’ bench that I inherited from them. It became the perfect spot to relax and enjoy my happy little chicken cottage.
Although my chickens are all happy in their coop, we are saddened that my Scarlett has passed on. I was holding her one evening, just like I always did, and I looked down and she looked as if she had fallen asleep, but I knew immediately that our story together had ended. She had died in my arms. It was her time. Chickens have been an unlikely comfort in my life, and I am glad I could share this with you.
My motto has become, “Live, laugh, love … and don’t forget to feed the chickens!”
Chicken Coop Shed #2
By Robin Miller – All great projects start with a spouse. I made this observation years ago during the design-and-build phase of our house in the country. Since then, I had broached the subject of raising chickens, but her response was, “No chickens.” The local farm store went through their annual Chick Days for several seasons, and each year I got more information about raising poultry — which was easy to do — and trying to discover the reason behind the wife’s firm, “No chickens” policy — which was more difficult.
Eventually, I found that a rooster terrorized her as a little girl, and this explained the resistance. More research followed on docile breeds. We reached a compromise, and as part of the deal, the coop could not be an eyesore. The local home center had a special on a plastic shed, which she approved for the purpose. Next year, I’ll see what she thinks about hogs.
Where We Started to Make Our Chicken Coop Shed a Reality
We selected a Keter “Manor 4-by-6S” hut for this conversion. The floor, walls, and roof were all molded from 5/8-inch thick coroplast twin wall polypropylene, like a political sign, only with more substance. The twin walls have a small R-value, plus the hut was equipped with two ventilation grids and an acrylic window. The wall panels look like siding, with a faux “wood grain” on the outside and smooth inside. This told me the internal flutes of the wall panels ran horizontally, which would come in handy later. I followed the assembly instructions, and can provide the following hints:
• There should be even spacing of fasteners on vertical runs: place at 4-inches, 23-inches, 42-inches, and 61-inches; and even horizontal spacing at 8-inches, 24-inches, 40-inches, 56-inches.
• Lay plywood on the floor to avoid crushing the coroplast when working inside.
• Polypropylene resists most glues and paints.
• Use rivets to attach things to the skin.
• Use the internal flutes as the “bottom” of any penetrations you make.
• Use spray foam to reinforce your penetrations and add insulation.
The wall panels look like siding. Photo by Robin Miller.
Making It Mobile
For the chicken tractor design phase, I built a 6-foot-by-10-foot frame of treated decking, with an elevated platform for the coop. I added wheels for mobility that pivot into place. I attached a hoop-house frame made from 15-foot lengths of half-inch PVC conduit and 1-by-2s. These are attached to the coop with sockets sawn from a conduit body, and a pair of female adapters screwed into 5/8-inch holes, with fresh spray foam to work as the glue.
The Chicken Coop Shed Modification
I installed a Pullet-Shut door with battery and solar charging panel. I used Rustoleum Leak-Seal to glue the solar panel to the roof, after buffing the surface with sandpaper. The battery sits on a high shelf cut from the waste piece removed for the pophole door, riveted to the inside after cutting and folding out plastic tabs from the shelf.
I wanted the external nest box to be light and as insulated as the rest of the hut, but had no coroplast in stock, so I built my own “structural insulated panels” — a Styrofoam core glued between plywood skins and wood edges for fasteners. The operable roof uses the property of polypropylene for plastic hinges — the roof is the side of the hut cut on three-and-a-half sides, leaving the external face as the hinge. The cedar-trimmed roof hides a barrel bolt lock.
Do you have experience learning how to build a chicken coop for a garden shed? Share your journey and tips in the comments below.
Originally published in the October/November 2014 issue of Backyard Poultry magazine and regularly vetted for accuracy.