|Recycled Materials Hen House|
I love our Hen House! My husband built this from nearly all recycled materials. At one point, we had about 10 hens but when we moved to California for a short spell, the chickens found a new home.
Tomorrow our dear friend, Lynne, is bringing over some of her non-laying hens. Since Larry and I don't eat eggs, this works out perfectly. Our only criteria? That they poop! We plan to have these gals go to work for us in our garden. Chicken manure and straw makes for great compost so we will keep them busy throughout their lifetime! I'll take pictures tomorrow once they've arrived and have settled in. In the meantime, I thought I'd give you an Open House tour of their dwelling space (while they are not free-roaming) and discuss some of our plans for the Chicken Garden.
For additional reference, there is a great book titled, "Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard" by Jessi Bloom (Timber Press). In her book, she shares everything a gardner needs to know, including chicken-keeping basics, simple garden plans to get you started, tips on attractive fencing options, the best plants and plants to avoid, and step-by-step instructions for getting your chicken garden up and running.
|Every Home Needs a Welcome Sign|
As I mentioned the bulk of the hen house is made out of recycled materials. The pallets were free and you can find them just about anywhere. We sourced ours through Costco. They just pile them up in the back of most stores and are happy to have you take them away. Otherwise, they pay a company to come and get them. They tend to be sturdier than others that we've found.
The door to the front of the house was found at a friends garage sale. We picked it up for $20.00. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it until the hen house was built. I knew exactly where it belonged at that time.
The shingles were my favorite find. We picked those up at a Habitat For Humanity Re-Store. If you haven't been to one in your area, I highly recommend them. Your purchase helps families in need and you get a great deal. I think we paid about $30.00 for a pallet of used shingles.
|Nest Access Door|
When we have laying hens, this door in the side of the house comes in handy. The door lowers behind their nesting boxes so we have instant access to the eggs. It's always a crack up when you open this door too early in the morning and they are still in there nesting. They look at you as though you've caught them in them in the middle of a very intimate moment. "Helloooo? Can't you see we're busy in here?"
This is also a great way to clean out their nesting boxes without going in the house. I try to avoid going there as little as possible. That is fondly known as my poop-gathering area!
|Back of House - Ventilated Window|
We wanted to have a ventilated window in the back of the house for the warm summer days. We placed a door that can be accessed from the inside that closes when the weather turns cold or it's raining.
Every girl needs a room with a view so this window made a great addition.
The roll up fencing around the yard was part of our back yard fence. I planned to replace my yard fencing so I just borrowed enough to create a small fenced yard when the chickens aren't ranging.
We put in six nesting boxes and fill them with straw. These were made out of scrap lumber my husband had in his shop. The dimensions of each of the nesting boxes is 12x12, just about perfect!
We found this great piece of juniper in our yard and thought it would be so cool for them to sit on when they aren't nesting. Larry tells me that they sit on this regularly.
|Palletized Walls & Heat Lamp|
This final picture on the right shows how the walls and floor were constructed out of pallets. We put a large sheet of insulation on the ceiling to help keep it warm and installed a heat lamp for the cold nights. We live in the high desert so our nights can drop below freezing. It also helps to keep them cool in the summer. The ability to regulate the temperature in the hen house really makes life better for them.
I hope you enjoyed our Open House Tour. As I mentioned earlier, the ladies arrive tomorrow so I'll post additional picture of them enjoying their new space.
Our next step is to increase the size of the yard and add some chicken friendly plants and ground cover.
If you have specific questions about the design of the house or otherwise, we'd be happy to answer them.
Thank you for visiting!