This year we changed how we house our chickens. Since the beginning, we have housed our chickens in two chicken tractors. We really like the tractor method, but we wanted to consolidate all the birds into one coop and the tractors were not large enough to do that. We have also had some predator issues this year and letting the birds free range was no longer an option.
Because of these problems we decided to move to a more traditional coop and run method for managing our birds. The run for the birds is very large, so we do not feel bad about them being fenced in, and we plan to set up a rotational grazing system to help keep things interesting for the birds.
We chose a premade plastic shed to use as the coop. We got lucky and Home Depot was having a sale on their out buildings. We picked up a Suncast Sutton shed for a good price. The shed went up really fast and We have been customizing the shed to function as a chicken coop.
The shed is made of resin and has an air gap between the layers of plastic that make up the walls. This made cutting holes in the walls a little challenging. The things that the shed needed to convert it to a functional coop were nesting boxes, perches, and a chicken door. Everything else is just a bonus.
The shed came with plexiglass windows for the doors, but ventilation is important in a chicken coop so we used aluminum window screen in the holes meant for the windows. The decorative grating was more than enough to hold the screen in.
Light is another important factor in a good coop so we used the plexiglass from the kit and built three small one foot square windows. We mounted two of these in the South wall and one at the peak of the East wall. The windows were very simple. They are nothing more than a wooden frame with a groove that holds the plexiglass. We then used furring strips along the inside to hold them in the hole. After everything was mounted we used white window caulk to seal around the outside of the window.
With the large run, the chickens are very happy and we have not had any more losses since we moved everyone into the new coop. We have plans to run electricity and water to the coop, but that is a post for another day.