Do you have a second home hiding in your backyard? If your old garden shed isn’t getting much use, it could be repurposed to house a flock of delightful backyard chickens. Converting a shed into a chicken coop is easier than you might think. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be enjoying fresh eggs in no time!
- Prepare the foundation. Level the ground beneath the shed and set down timbers or cinder blocks to keep the coop several inches off the ground. Elevating your coop improves airflow and drainage and keeps the coop from rotting. It also keeps your birds safer from predators who might try to chew into the coop from the ground.
- Add a roosting bar. Attach a 2 x 4 board so chickens can perch on the four-inch side or install a large wooden dowel for roosting. Each bird will need about ten inches of space on the bar, so plan accordingly .
- Build nesting boxes. Chickens need a clean, quiet place to lay their eggs. Wooden boxes are easy to build but more difficult to clean. Metal and plastic are trickier to construct but can be scrubbed and sanitized. Boxes should be about one square foot in each direction and enclosed on all but one side. Plan on one nesting box for every three to five birds.
- Improve ventilation. If your shed doesn’t already have windows, cut a few in the walls and the door to bring in sunlight and ventilation. Hanging a box fan will also improve air circulation and keep the temperature comfortable on hot, humid summer nights. Fasten hardware cloth around any holes you’ve made to keep out predators and pests.
- Add a dropping board. Accumulated feces can create pest problems and hurt your chicken’s health. It also stinks. Make cleaning the coop easier by putting a dropping board under the roosting bar.
Congratulations! Your chicken coop is ready for inhabitants. Add a two-inch layer of hay, straw or pine wood shavings to the floor and nesting boxes, and your hens will feel right at home!