The Chickenshed…

…copied over from one of my older, abandoned blogs…

OK, I’ve been asked in several other places how I adapted a standard 8′ x 6′ shed for poultrykeeping. So here are a couple of pics…

Looking straight in from the door…

Looking straight in from the door...

Looking straight in from the door...

…you can see that I run a “deep litter” system, with a 3″ layer of woodshavings on the floor and barley straw in the “nestboxes”. Woodshavings courtesy of our local builder’s merchant’s mill, £2 a big bag and barley straw from the farm shop @ £2 a bale – works to control blanket weed in the pond, too! The perches are 2″ x 2″ timber with the top corners planed off, resting on 2 x 2s screwed on to the supporting struts of the shed. Beneath them is an 6′ x 2′ light ply droppings board which is covered in old newspaper in summer and paper & straw in winter, for extra warmth. Changed daily in summer, weekly in winter – shredded paper works well, too. There is a “ladder” (an old plank with some short lengths of trim nailed across it) up to the roosts for the big Faverolles girls, who can’t fly, up OR down. And a couple of wide logs tied onto the perches for those bigger feet.

Looking right from the door...

Looking right from the door...

you can see the feed bins (including rabbit food) and feeder, and a couple more “nestboxes” which are an old guinea pig hutch and an old wicker cat box on top, currently housing a broody Pekin. There’s a shelf holding medications, mite powder, egg boxes etc. and I shall be adding some more to hold spare flowerpots etc. The other side is taken up by a window, curtained in the hope they won’t all wake up and call to us at 4 a.m. in June – these are chickens-about-town!

Pophole cut in the side of the shed.

Pophole cut in the side of the shed.


I cut a pophole in the side which is covered by a hinged flap that was once the door into the old guinea hutch, which is now a nestbox. This is secured at night by a chain running up to a hook on the side of the shed. And I built a covered run along the whole of that side of the shed to be somewhere dry for them to hang out in the rain, and create a dusbath/digging area. A resolute selfsown Cherry Plum tree insists on surviving in here too, providing plenty of shade and extra greens!

It hasn’t cost much to do, much less than buying a purpose-built coop & run, and they have a lot more space. The main run is made of 4 10′ fence panels acquired second-hand and stained green, currently arranged as a 30′ x 10′ pen leading west into the garden., but about to be moved to the north along the back of the garden, a swap we intend to do once or twice a year to give the ground a rest. I only change the deep litter a couple of times a year; mostly I just add straw on the top and mix it up a bit so it doesn’t form a yucky crust. So there’s an inexpensive, easy way of setting up, if you happen to be thinking “I wonder if I could give a few chickens a good home?”

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