Creating A Chicken Coop From Recycled Materials
Ever since creating Old World Garden Farms in late 2010 – we’ve tried to really show that you can build much of what you need using recycled, re-purposed and reclaimed materials. More importantly – that it can all be accomplished in a way that can not only be easy on the budget – but functional, long-lasting, and pleasing to the eye. One of the best examples of that might just be the two chicken coops that we have built for the farm. (see: Building Our Farm From Pallets)
Both of the chicken coops constructed over the last 5 years have been built almost entirely from recycled materials. Our very first coop was made from shipping crates and pallets – while our second and current coop was made from a mixture of old roofing materials, reclaimed barn siding and pallet wood. In both cases, we have often been asked for the building plans – and sadly – we simply built them without ever having a single thought of creating a construction guide.
So a few weeks back – and after a few more emails requesting we add them to our Etsy store along with our other plans – we decided to go for it. Besides – with a stash of used barn wood, pallet wood and reclaimed metal roofing to clear out of our garage before the move – we had the perfect motive to build one final demo unit to create a set of plans.
Much like we did 5 years ago – we built the coop in our current suburban home’s driveway and garage – and once again – it led to a lot of strange looks and questions from our neighbors and those passing by. I think most wondered what in the world we could possibly be building this time. It’s funny, but in many ways, our friends and neighbors have watched our farm progress project by project right smack in the middle of our driveway.
For us, the project brought back to life a lot of memories about how far our little farm has come – and how many things we have built from recycled and reclaimed materials. In the end – we completed the demo coop for a little over $100 in purchased materials – and were able to create a great set of plans – finally! 🙂 (See – OWG Vintage Chicken Coop Plans)
Of course, it can be built entirely from new materials (the plans list out both options) – but to us – there is something special about using materials from the past that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Creating The Recycled Chicken Coop
At 8′ long and 4′ deep, the Recycled Chicken Coop really is perfect for raising a few backyard chickens anywhere – whether it be in the city, suburbia – or out in the middle of the wide open countryside.
In reality – you could actually build this structure for any use – whether it be a playhouse, farm stand, ticket booth, or a top of the line dog house. The plans are easy to modify to almost any size.
The slanted sloping roof is a throwback to Midwestern coops of years gone by – and the window screens on the sides allow for excellent cross-ventilation of the coop. With 32 square feet of floor space, the mini-coop has plenty of room for raising up to 12 to 16 hens. That’s more than enough to keep a family of four supplied with fresh eggs – and enough left over for the neighbors, friends and family!
The coop was created entirely from simple 2 x 4 studs that provide a strong and lasting frame. We then wrapped the coop with inexpensive 1/2″ sheathing for a solid barrier to outside elements and great protection for the chickens. For the exterior – we used reclaimed roofing for the bottom, and salvaged fence panels and pallet wood for the top and trim.
For the door, we used a simple sheathing board and faced it with pallet boards. The door is right at 60″ – more than tall enough to enter and exit easily. A valuable lesson we learned after building our first coop at a mere 3′ high. (Not a great idea when one is 6′ 4″! 🙂 )
We finished it off with 24″ metal roofing panels to keep out the weather from above. The solid 2 x 4 roof framing is more than strong enough to handle anything from a shingle, metal – or even slate roof.
The nice thing about the base plans are that the exterior walls can be clad in just about anything from pallet wood, metal, t1-11 wood panels, vinyl or solid wood siding.
The only limit is your imagination.
After all, with a little planning and a little work – you can make some pretty awesome things from recycled materials.
Happy Recycling! Jim and Mary
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