Nature on our Doorstep - New, The Down the Lane Wildlife Diary
Converting a Garden Shed to a Chicken House
More space for your Hens and a cheaper starting price
When you are starting out with keeping hens or if you are increasing your flock it is easy just to look for purpose built housing and as some of us know, that can be a very expensive business. I went down that route starting with a fairly expensive Ark, got more Chickens and realised it wasn't big enough.
So, one solution is to simply convert a Garden Shed and this has many benefits..
1. You can stand up in it
2. The Chickens have more space
3. Because of height it's easier to clean
4. It doesn't look unattractive
5. It's more diverse.
The only 'extra' you need is a Run of course but even then you have the ability to increase in size as and when and can move that around as you wish, see diagram below which would not be too hard to put in place if space allows.
The Interior of a Chicken Shed
To the right you will see more or less what my set up is down the Lane, it has served me well for over ten years and I haven't too much of a bad back with cleaning etc! The Chickens love it, too often our Chicken Houses are maybe more designed for us humans than the Chickens! If you can please both...bingo!
This is imperative. Chickens must have air as there’s more danger in them overheating than getting too cold. Better still is to have one at each end thus causing a bit of a through flow. These need to be just the depth of a removed wooden slat and 6 - 12″ wide. Even so, check out the temperature of the house daily just to see if you need to adjust.
This can be either a 2″ square timber going accross the width of the shed. Alternatively, why not find a suitable branch to give them an even more natural feel to their environment.
I use the plastic bread bins as photo. These are an ideal size, a tabloid newspaper complete or a broadsheet newspaper folded once fits perfectly. Just put Wood Shavings in and you’re away for a slightly easier life!
The diagram shows two, but you could probably squeeze three into four feet. They often share these anyway. These would be approx 15″ deep which makes the ‘ceiling’ an ideal size to put the Poo Trays on top.
As stated, the diagram would be OK up to about six chickens (in my photo I have another side perch and have house 10 very easily). A 6''x 4′Garden Shed would, going by guidelines, take up to 20 Chickens, but you’d need to use the longer wall for this. If so, buy a Garden Shed which has a door on the 6′ side or you could be a bit cluttered.
The ideal thing about using a Garden Shed is, if you have six or less chickens, they have room to walk around a bit before you get up to let them out, whereas in a housing at the end of an Ark, they’re a little cramped. Remember they’re awake and ready to go at 5 - 6am during the Summer !
Only put a light in there for your purposes, not the Chickens. They don’t need one, it won’t assist in their egg laying unless you had a ‘one hour to brighten, one hour to lessen’ type system. Even then, you may get more eggs during winter, but their overall egg laying days will be vastly reduced - about 50%!
There is a live feed to Garden Shed for Sale on eBay plus other links on the Garden Sheds for Chicken House shopping page.
The famous Down the Lane Poo Tray can often be found in Skips outside your local retailer!! Easy to empty and usually two a penny to find new ones!
Great Coops from Omlet..