Half Timbered Thatched Roof Chicken Coop Treehouse

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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.

Supplies

Coco Roll (coir)

2x2s and 2x4s redwood.

Plywood

Large lag screws and washers – for attaching to tree

Dark Paint

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.

Sketchup Plan

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.

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1 Person Made This Project!

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25 Comments

0
shalnachywyt
shalnachywyt

Question 1 year ago

I'm assuming you have some way of cleaning out the chicken coop. I have a "chicken tractor" or what's also known as a portable chicken coop. Cleaning out the enclosed sleeping area can sometimes be a pain, not to mention cleaning the nest boxes which sometimes have poop in it which happens when they chicken tries to lay an egg and poop at the same time. :)

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Answer 1 year ago

I made the floor so it hinges to drop down. I've not been there when they clean it out, but I suspect they drop it down partway and scrape the poop into a container. The roosting section requires reaching in to pull out old straw and poop, and eggs of course.

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shalnachywyt
shalnachywyt

Reply 1 year ago

Have you had any problems with predators like raccoons or possums or even curious cats and dogs?

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Reply 1 year ago

It's pretty well secured with chicken wire. I haven't heard any problems voiced by the daughter and son-in-law, so I guess it's tight enough. The bottom of the enclosure has buried wire also, to discourage digging. As for cats, I don't think they'd want to get in there with those big hens.

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shalnachywyt
shalnachywyt

Reply 1 year ago

The neighbor to the south of me had chickens and he built his original coop with chicken wire. Blasted raccoons got in and killed all 33 chickens. Since then, I think he's reinforced the coop, but I'm not sure how. Raccoons can climb and they have opposable thumbs, like us. The wily critters can open latches and doors. They're very intelligent. My guess is when us humans have killed ourselves off, the raccoons will then take over the world and probably start learning how to drive cars and live in houses. ::grin::

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Reply 1 year ago

They are wiley little pests allright. But they must not be able to get into the chicken yard. There's a wire top on it too.
I had raccoons defeating a magnetic cat door once. Then I spent a lot of money for a better door, guillotine style, and they couldn't get in to eat the cat food anymore. So they can be beat, thumbs and all.

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shalnachywyt
shalnachywyt

Reply 1 year ago

Cat door, guillotine style? LOL! How did the cat avoid that?

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Reply 1 year ago

The door slides up out of the way when the cat approaches with a magnet on his collar. It stays open for about 2 seconds (adjustable). My cats learned quickly the timing needed to get through.

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shalnachywyt
shalnachywyt

Reply 1 year ago

Great idea! Did you create that or was it something you bought?

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Reply 1 year ago

I bought the fancy cat door.

0
domthemom
domthemom

Question 1 year ago

How has this held up in the weather over time?

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Answer 1 year ago

It's not the weather, but the birds that come by and harvest the "thatching". In truth, the thatching has grown a bit thin.

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kvolsing
kvolsing

1 year ago on Step 4

Great idea, and very nicely done!
I have been looking for a project for some of the reed growing in my meadow.
I like, that you found inspiration in my country, and brought it with you to USA :-)

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Reply 1 year ago

Thank you. We liked Denmark very much. Sadly, there are not many thatched roofs in California. Hmmm. Maybe with the wildfires these days it's for the better.

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GoatTeaParty
GoatTeaParty

1 year ago

This is beautiful 😍 what a neat idea to put it up in a tree!!!

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Algiz
Algiz

1 year ago

very nice - I am German, I might build one and live in it myself !!

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Reply 1 year ago

Hmmm. You may wish to change the scale. You won't need any plumbing if you can go out in the yard as the hens do. haha

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knopfling
knopfling

1 year ago

How cool is that?! I live in Germany and the original danish house that inspired you could be found in nothern Germany as well, love it!
What I don‘t understand is where you hid the hinges for egg collecting and for cleaning. Would you have pictures of those in use?
Absolutely love your project!
Superb!

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dcolemans
dcolemans

Reply 1 year ago

If I remember correctly, the roost roof has hinges fastened to the top frame of the roost. And the plywood bottom has hinges at one of the sides. Next time I'm over at the daughter's house I take a couple more pictures.

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knopfling
knopfling

Reply 1 year ago

Great! please do!