Our ranch came with a chicken coop. Sort-of. Many years ago it may have been used for housing poultry but when we bought the place the coop was in as bad a state of disrepair as much of the rest of the property.
In order to bring it to the point where we would even let chickens live there we did a bunch of work to it, starting with re-attaching the siding and re-roofing the structure. All of the chicken wire had to be removed before we could re-build the yard structure and in order to help prevent weather-related problems for the birds, we insulated and sheathed the interior of the house as well.
For little chicks (once they are big enough to move outside), we built a nice 5' diameter brooder from a section of an old grain bin with a lid, put a 100-watt bulb in it for heat and with plenty of room for their feeder and waterer too. We give them run of the Hen House but we've found they pretty much stay in the brooder. It is pretty chilly for them out of the brooder in winter but in warmer weather we open the house up and give everybody access to the outdoor atrium-yard-run area as well.
We decided that instead of just having boring-old normal roosts for the birds in their house we'd do something different. We went out and scouted the property for weeks looking for the nicest big old gnarly tree to use for them. Eventually we found it but during our discussions of how to get it back to the coop we realized that it was WAY too big to fit through the door (duh). Scaling back our ideas a bit we easily found a perfect gnarly old tree limb from a fallen cedar, cut it up a bit and dragged it back to the Coop. With a bit of effort we got it through the door and screwed-nailed-wired it up in a semi-normal position for them to use for roosting. To our surprise within minutes of putting them in their new home one of our tiny little chicks already found its way to one of the middle branches and perched there like he owned the place. Well, I guess he does, doesn't he?
Here are some "in-progress" pics of the Hen House.
1. The coop before starting work.
2. Demo work begins.
3. Re-Roofing the coop.
4. Siding and painting.
5. Starting the enclosure and bringing water to the coop.
6. The girls in their new home.
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