Converting A Swing Set Into a Deluxe Chicken Coop
A lot of folks assume that we decided to adopt chickens because we were suffering from pandemic cabin fever. Our poultry plans actually began in the spring of 2019. But family travel and work schedules put it all on hold.
When things got locked down in 2020, our time was at hand!
Fortunately, we researched chickens in preparation for their eventual arrival and even had a “chicken tutor”—a friend with a farm, 200-plus birds and years of experience.
We just had to figure out where to house our birds.
Swinging into Action
We spent hours pouring over plans, blogs and farm-supply catalogs. We had long family discussions about where to put the chicken coop, how much to spend on it and where to get free supplies. None of us possessed carpentry skills, so we had to figure out how to build a chicken coop with a sturdy foundation to withstand winter in Vermont.
That’s when it hit us. We already had a sturdy foundation in the form of my son’s old swing set. It had been the perfect attraction for a tot. But for a blossoming sixth grader, the luster wore off, and he gladly donated it to the cause.
Chicken Coop Building Day
With the frame ready to go, we swung into construction. We used plywood to construct the floor of the chicken coop, which hung 3 feet off the ground in the place where the swings once were. We lined it with heavy hardware cloth to keep out unwanted guests.
A removable trap door was built in the floor with a ramp to give the girls access to their fenced-in yard below. The roof was made from plywood and two clear roof panels to let in extra light.
Leftover asphalt shingles gave our chicken coop a professional look.
To finish it off, we built two triangle-shaped doors—one at each end. The larger main door allows us to access the interior for daily feeding and water changes. At the opposite end, just next to the slide, we installed a smaller egg door that gives us access to the nesting boxes.
Downstairs, we added protective fencing all around to allow the flock to get some fresh air and sunshine.
Read more: These chicken coop basics will help you build the right coop for your flock!
At the end of May, our chickens arrived: three Wyandottes and two Ameraucanas, hatched in April and hand-raised on my friend’s farm.
We’re still in the first year of our chicken-keeping adventure. But so far our chicken coop has held up well.
Despite frigid winter temperatures, our ladies stayed snug in their chicken coop, nestled deep in their bedding. They gazed out of their skylight, dreaming of hot summer days ahead. Of course, we’d change a few things. But we embrace what has become our family’s work-in-progress.
Maybe this summer they’ll learn to use the slide?!
This article was contributed by Elizabeth Craib (and family) of Hartland, Vermont, and originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Chickens magazine.
Published at Tue, 25 May 2021 17:00:18 +0000