coop 1

Reclaiming an Old Chicken Coop Part 1

Finally, FINALLY we are real homesteaders. Before we were just playing around, thinking that canning a couple pears and owning some useless cats and a farm dog qualified us. But no longer do we have to pretend. Because… we have livestock. More specifically, CHICKENS. I have been desperate to own poultry for years now, and one of the requirements that I made when we decided to move our here was that I would get my own birds. Half the work was already done for us, because our Knob property had a massive chicken coop in good condition. To make it functional, we needed to build an enclosed yard that would keep the chickens in and chicken killers out. It’s been a long project, but I’m very happy to say that the final results should keep out even the most persistent predator.

Before: the chicken coop was choked with a weed forest and the door couldn’t even be opened. It took my dad and Ian a full morning to weed wack the yard enough to access the area around the coop.
Using the circular saw to cut out a new chicken door and ramp for the coop.
Perfectly functional little chicken door.
We just had to assume the birds wouldn’t be too chicken to go up and down their relatively steep and high ramp. The disadvantage of building on a slope!


Poll: who makes a better chicken, Ian or Lydia? Cast your vote in the comments!


The answer’s obvious, right?


Lucky for us, we had plenty of work groups come over several weeks that were able to help us with different stages of construction. Without them, the two of us would be slogging through the snow trying to get that yard done.

Wheeling Jesuit gentleman helped Ian dig and plant posts for the coop, possibly saving our marriage in the process by ensuring the two of us didn’t have to do it by ourselves.
We conveniently got to put the Noyes family to work by having them bury slab boards around the coop’s perimeter to prevent predators from digging their way in to the coop.
Terry helped to set cement over a nasty root that proved impossible to dig through.
Pepper was our constant building companion…at least until we adopted the dog.
One post was a litttttle too short, so we had to screw on a small block to top it off
Our Americorps coworkers came over for a weekend retreat and helped us with various tasks with the coop, including painting the exterior.
The completed frame
Wendell and Ian, the two men in my life! <3
I spent a lot of my time twisting multiple layers of the poultry wire together to seal the gaps.
I’ll probably have callouses on my fingers for weeks now.

And suddenly…the coop was complete and move-in ready. Check back in a few days to read about our adventures buying chickens from our neighbor, releasing them into the coop, and seeing if we can get their moist little bodies to produce eggs for us after all.

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12 thoughts on “Reclaiming an Old Chicken Coop Part 1

  1. That’s one hell of a chicken coop! Ours will be a much more humble affair but then only for two hens and the lodgers — in the week since we got them (2 hens and 2 ducks) the hens haven’t laid but the ducks have laid 15. We’re collecting plastic bottles to make a pontoon for the ducks to have a floating home of their own — they deserve it!

    1. What a fun idea! We are hoping to get ducks in the next year or so. I love the idea of a recycled bottle pontoon. Hope it works out for you!

  2. Love this! We just finished up our new chicken run also. We need to get some Americorps helpers!! Now we will be working on the Ducks new winter home, lets hope we get it done before the snow gets here!

    1. Do you have pictures of your run posted somewhere? I would love to see them! And yes, Americorps is a great program for getting workers, though granted our situation is pretty unique. If you are seriously interested in getting farm workers for minimal costs, I highly recommend checking out the wwoofing website at It’s a great program for farms to get matched with willing workers in exchange for food and lodging.

    1. Thanks! I haven’t heard any complaints from them yet. 🙂 Now the coop is even more exciting because we have meat rabbits in it now too!

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