Introduction: Half Timbered Thatched Roof Chicken Coop Treehouse
When my wife and I visited her niece in Denmark, we were impressed by their very old farmhouse. It is half-timbered and with a thatched roof. I thought it would be fun to duplicate the look here in suburbia, USA. Aha! The youngest daughter had just started keeping chickens and needed a proper hen house. Why not build a half-timbered, thatched roof chicken house in a tree.
For thatching I decided on the liner that they use for planters. It’s made from coconut fiber, also called coir. It looks pretty “thatchy”. Following are the steps in building it.
Coco Roll (coir)
2x2s and 2x4s redwood.
Large lag screws and washers – for attaching to tree
Step 1: The Plan
First I had to sell the idea to the daughter and son-in-law. So I drew up a plan in Sketchup for their approval. It was to fit within the branches of an olive tree so it had to be compact and accessible for cleaning and egg collecting. For cleaning, the bottom hinges down. And for egg collecting, the lower roof section hinges up.
Step 2: Construction
The tree was the most severe constraint. With a minimum amount of branch removal I was able to clear a section where it would fit. 2x4s forming the supports rested on large lag screws with large washers to spread the load on the tree. The support frame dictated the final size and I updated the plan accordingly.
I did most of the building in my garage. I built the roost portion separate from the house for ease of installation into the tree. The plywood roof sections were also separate.
I didn’t know I could buy the coco fiber in rolls, so I bought formed planter liners and flattened them using a heat gun. Not the smartest approach. But it did work and I attached it to plywood for the roof sections using staples and small wood slats.
Step 3: Installation
It went pretty much to plan after a little more tree trimming. I stained the 2x2 “timbers” dark. Next I installed the roof sections. The roost section hinged at the top. I cut plywood section to fit closely inside the timbers. There were painted off-white. Last was the hinged bottom plywood. And the hen house was complete.
Step 4: Chicken Yard
In theory the hens could fly up to the door after roaming in the yard and garden all day. This is not a good plan since there are predators looking for an easy meal, and the homeowners wanted to keep the chickens contained and out of their garden. So the next step was a secure chicken yard. The only way to do this was a chicken pen next to the tree with a secure tunnel leading to the chicken house.
I built a starter version of the chicken yard, and the son-in-law did a lot of improving. It's still in place after several years of use. I replaced the roof "thatching" once already. It seems attractive to local wild birds who come and pick pieces out of it. The grandkids use a step-ladder to open the roost door to collect eggs. There are only roosting spots for three birds, but at times there have been up to 8 hens in residence.
Participated in the
For the Birds Speed Challenge