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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    10 Comments

    0
    Algiz
    Algiz

    17 days ago

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

    0
    dcolemans
    dcolemans

    Reply 17 days 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

    0
    knopfling
    knopfling

    21 days 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!

    0
    dcolemans
    dcolemans

    Reply 21 days 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.

    0
    knopfling
    knopfling

    Reply 21 days ago

    Great! please do!

    0
    dcolemans
    dcolemans

    Reply 19 days ago

    First pic shows two of the three little black hens sitting outside the roost boxes. It needs cleaning! Other pics attempts to show hinges and latch under the floor. My son in law has added some hardware to strengthen it. Roost roof hinge is indeed hidden, but attaches to plywood and frame.

    IMG_20210602_123034.jpgIMG_20210602_123132.jpgIMG_20210602_123209.jpgIMG_20210602_123221.jpgIMG_20210602_122953.jpg
    0
    knopfling
    knopfling

    Reply 18 days ago

    Superb, thanks a lot! And again, well done indeed!

    0
    FernMakes
    FernMakes

    25 days ago

    That looks awesome!

    0
    dcolemans
    dcolemans

    Answer 25 days ago

    I had never got around to writing it up and publishing. Then I saw the BIRDS competition and was motivated to do an Instructable.