Coop Conversion Complete!

I devoted most of last week to finishing up my shed to coop conversion project. The big girls were ready for fresh grass and more space, the 20 chicklets were bursting the seams of the puppy play pen, and the arrival of ducklings and guinea fowl chicks was just a few days away.

I found a can of white Kilz paint in my salvaged stack and since the weather was mild I opted to paint the interior walls. An old bed sheet made for quick interior curtains – I’ll replace them with ones made from a shower curtain soon (better to deflect rain). Clothes pins hold the fabric onto the wire mesh.

The white walls made the unpainted roosting bars and nesting boxes look a bit dull, so back to my remnant paint I went. I love this shade of green – its been my bedroom color for years – and there was just enough to coat these pieces and both sides of the coop door. The roomie donated fabric for simple nesting box curtains – it coordinates so well with the green, don’t you think? I used eye hooks and zip ties to hold the tops, slit the fabric up the middle of each box, then stapled back the sides.

Once painting was complete I placed the furniture, hung those curtains, and started tossing the straw. One compressed bale was more than enough – seriously, its so thick! – for this 10 x 12 interior, and the hens are loving it. Each time I visit I find eggs in little nesting spaces on the ground. Makes for cautious steps, let me tell you.

I’m really happy with the way the exterior came together. Guttering hung on one roof edge leads down to the rain barrel. My brother in law installed this for me at my home years ago, and it looks right at home in the new space. We’ve had tons of rain the past few days, and the barrel should be nice and full…but I haven’t got the endcaps secured to the guttering. Ah well – the project list is never done.

The coop run is accessed from inside the coop – its an 11 1/2 by 8 1/2 foot space. The wooden picket fence (remnant from my old house) has a gate built into it. For now its secured to the run with chicken wire – that will be cut to allow the gate to open into an extension pen in the next couple weeks. I secured a tarp to the front half of the run – the feed bowl is placed here as is the calcium and grit. The water bowl is in the exposed space.

We had a tough time getting grass seed to start, so the final landscaping touch on the coop interior was sod. My dad used sod quite a bit when we were growing up, but this was my first time working with the product. Grass Pad was super helpful and I found the Blue Wave sod easy to install. Maggie the cat was her typical helpful self as I worked – she’s not happy that the coop is now off limits. I laid a few tree branches inside the run so the chickens can perch outside in all weather – they’ll also attract bugs they’ll enjoy eating.

Exterior landscaping is the final piece of the coop puzzle, and I’m hoping to take care of that this week. The front bed will be topped off with soil from the yard (we have to remove soil where the blueberry plants will reside) and scattered with flower seeds. I’ll plant flowers that vine along the fencing, sunflower seeds, and various native wildflowers and herbs here. The plants will provide a bit of screening, attract juicy bugs, and the chickens will love to nibble on the leaves and flowers, too. We picked up a low growing shrub to plant on the exterior wall as well.

All in all it too nearly three months to finish the project. By taking it in stages and taking breaks to work in other areas I kept my mind fresh and my muscles from being taxed. The big girls moved a few days ago and clearly love the space – the chicklets spent their first night last night (a pen inside the coop) and handled it pretty well. I love the feeling of a completed project…but I’m already thinking about the extension run and duck pond!

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