Do you watch Rehab Addict on the DIY channel? It’s a show about a young woman who rehabilitates old homes to their former glory. Except for the fact that she is young, tiny, cute, and rehabs houses, we are like twins! I am old, not tiny nor cute, and I am addicted to rehabbing chicken coops. Other than that, twins.
I have been rebuilding, redesigning, reconfiguring, repurposing, redecorating, and rehabilitating chicken coops since before I got chickens. It seems like I never quite get it right. There is always something that doesn’t work at all or could be improved upon. So I tinker.
The coops we bought when we moved to this property, although well built, were a complete miss-step. We ended up closing in the fronts, insulating them, and adding ventilation out the backs. I thought they were working well until the chickens decided that the nest boxes were much more comfortable for sleeping than the roosts. I won’t even go into the problems that caused. I had to close off the nest boxes in a couple of coops, forcing the hens to lay eggs on the floor, which created a whole new set of problems.
So, it was back to the drawing board. I knew that once I got them back up on the roosts at night, they would most likely stay there. With the exception of silkies, all my chicken breeds have preferred roosting, the higher the better. The nest box squatters are mostly juveniles and some old lazy girls. The problem with yanking them out of the nest boxes and putting them on the roosts at night, is that my roosts ran side to side. There were 2 to 3 roosts in each coop. My roosts are not attached to the coop walls, rather they are supported by these 2×4 hangers. The boards can be lifted out for coop cleaning and egg collection.
Because my coops had open fronts, we were not able to install the roosts front to back so we had to put them side to side.
That means we could not walk inside the coops without taking the roosts down. Michael could squeeze under, but my old body doesn’t bend that way.
Then we decided to insulate the coops and close in the fronts for temperature control and noise abatement. Now I had a solid wood surface to attach my hangers and roosts! I could deal with the problem of non-roosting birds!
I can walk in, yank them out of the nest boxes and put them on a roost!
Here is Judge Judy inspecting my work on Coop#3, our largest coop. She is one nosy girl for sure!
The first night was a bit chaotic. Some of the birds were too afraid go inside, choosing to roost on the plumbing, outside in the cold. They were swiftly scooped up and put inside, on a roost.
Some chose to sleep on the floor. I put them on roosts as well.
Some got yanked out of nest boxes and put on roosts.
Today we finished retrofitting the final two coops. Of the 53 chickens who inhabit five coops, 10 were not on roosts tonight. I got everybody in the right place quite easily. I love finally having the roosts running the direction that makes it more convenient for us! We also gained several additional feet of roosting space. Note to self: This doesn’t mean getting more chickens.
With the roosts moved, I now had to figure out where to put the feeders to keep them from getting pooped on. With the fronts closed the feeders now fit perfectly on a hook on the inside of the doors! When the doors are closed they are the right height for the chickens to reach. They are also easier to fill now. I don’t have to climb in the coops with buckets of feed.
So, the moral of the story is, keep working on your chicken coop until you get it right. Oh, I just noticed how sloppy the inside of that door looks. Maybe we should paint the insides of the coops and hang curtains?
It’s what Nicole would do if she had chickens.