plants. gardens. friends.

digthedirt is about gardening, outdoor living and loving our planet!

learn more »

Cheep. Cheep. Cheep.

by vetch

chicken condo, henhouse, shed
« 1 of 2 »

What can be done with salvage and giveaways...

I call myself the queen of cheap... I love finding new ways to reuse old materials, and to create out of recycled, reused and salvage.  I love not paying high prices for what can be grown, raised or built at home.  Married to a carpenter, who loves saving money as much as I do helps.  Six years ago, he helped friends pack to move across country.  They couldn't take their two pet hens with them and talked him into adopting the Rhode Island Reds that were handraised in an apartment. 



The boxes on the left is the home that came with the pair.  It was a wooden box with a door on stilts.  Hubby added an addition for nests, a bar for a roost and we called it good.  It was sufficient for two hens.  We had no plans to gather eggs or expand the flock. 

After we found one of the hens dead, we thought Red needed company.  I posted on Freecycle for chickens.  A week later, we came home with RoseAnne (barred rock) & Shrek and Fiona (silky bantams).  And six months later, Lucy moved in from an overcrowded coop across the way.  Needless to say, the birds needed more room.  A couple more boxes worked for a time, but our flock was growing. 

Rocky got a great deal on the cedar siding.  It cost about $15 for the siding on the hen house.  The roofing, window, door,  most of the lumber  and even the blinds on the windows were scrounged from  jobsite scrap piles, Freecycle and giveaways from friends. 

(The shed next to the cedar henhouse is sentimental.  My family's sawmill closed in the 70's.  In 2000, we salvaged lumber from the derelect sawmill.  My beloved built a freestanding deck, then a porch from that lumber for me. We took it with us when we moved.  The windows were salvaged from a remodel job at WSU.)

Five years after Red moved in with us, we have 13 fat hens.  We needed more nesting boxes.  Being cheap, we looked for ways to use what we had instead of buying new material.



chickens, reusing materials, chicken coops


so cool! Are those buckets that you used in the last picture?? The shed is really cute- looks like it came out of a magazine. I also love using old materials and turning them into something useful and different. Thanks for the ideas!
FigTree commented on 09/11/10
Yes - those are 5 gallon buckets - more job site salvage. He used 1X4s cut to fit the bottom of the buckets - to hold in the straw. The hens don't much like them, preferring to squabble over the older nests. Rocky is a carpenter by trade, so salvage and the construction come naturally to him. I've been known to drive to construction sites and ask for salvage material from their scrap piles. Every pound I snag, they don't have to pay to dump.
vetch replied: on 09/11/10
Great Idea with the buckets! try putting a roosting bar in front of the buckets so the hens can stand and look in before hopping in. Hens like to look before getting in a box. We have way more nesting boxes than hens and they use only a few of them, sharing the choice spots I guess.
MRS.D replied: on 09/11/10
Like your hens, ours prefer to lay in two or three of the seven boxes. It's funny listening to one hen squawk for an hour because someone else is in "her" nest while 6 nests are empty. And they do know how to complain loud enough to wake the dead. Our banty and the 3 Austerlorpes tend to go broody more often than not. We tried letting them set and eventually leave the nest, but it didn't work. Luckily, we have the dog run attached to the back of the hen house. We put straw in covered crates for them and isolated them from the rest of the flock, locked out of the henhouse. It worked well. The banty tried to brood once after we returned the girls to the flock, but only for a couple days before she went back to laying daily.
vetch replied: on 09/14/10