Introduction: Turn Your Weeded Patch in the Garden Into a Chicken Coop
Long back I have constructed a trellis system in our home garden with stone pillars and GI wires for growing vegetable creepers. It is 30 ft long by 15 ft wide having 12 stone pillars spaced at 10 ft lengthwise and 7.5 ft widthwise.
Recently my interest turned to growing few country chickens. As part of the trellis is unused and partially filled with weeds I have decided to construct a chicken coop using one portion of size 10 ft x 7.5 ft from the existing trellis. Here I have not dismantled the stone pillars but removed the GI wires on top of the pillars used for the trellis.
Please see the pictures above which shows how the patch was looking earlier and how it has been turned into a chicken coop with minimal cost.
Step 1: Materials
The following materials were purchased for the construction which excludes the roofing material (other than one tarpaulin)
- About 400 numbers of Bricks
- 3 Cum of sand, which was sieved at site before using
- 3 bags of cement (75 kgs)
- One roll of wire mesh (40 feet x 4 feet size)
- One small roll of thin GI wire for binding the wire mesh
- Few pieces of coconut timber for the door and door frame. It is very cheap at our place
- Hinges, Latches and Screws for the door assembly
- One tarpaulin of size 12 ft x 9 ft for the west side through which rain waters splashes inside
- One tarpaulin of size 14 ft x 12 ft for the roof
- A bundle of plastic wire to tie the tarpaulin
Step 2: Cleaning the Area
I have deployed a contractor to carry out the construction works.
- Initially the weeds from the area was cleaned and then GI wire from the trellis were removed. Side by side the construction materials were also shifted to the site
- One stone pillar from another location was also shifted and erected at the front leaving a gap of about 2-1/2 ft for the door opening. (See last picture)
Step 3: Construct Flooring Area
- Initially one layer of bricks kept vertically was laid all around the area connecting the stone pillars. This will keep the flooring about 6 inches above existing ground level and prevent rain water entering into the coop
Step 4: Flooring
- The interior floor area was levelled with local soil and compacted. the thickness of the soil filling was kept in such a way that the top level of one layer of bricks kept horizontally inside will match the level of outer layer
- After laying the bricks, a layer of cement mortar was poured over the bricks and levelled
Step 5: Brick Walling Around the Coop
- A single layered brick walling around the coop, excluding the door area, for a height of 2 ft was constructed. The remaining height to the top of stone pillars will be covered with wire mesh
Step 6: Drainage for the Coop
- The chicken coop needs cleaning and washing once in a while and needs proper drainage. There is one coconut tree at the east side of the proposed coop. So, a 15 inches long 2-1/2 inch dia PVC pipe was inserted in the brick walling at the south-east corner of the coop adjacent to the coconut tree. Whenever we clean the coop, the water used for cleaning will drain out and irrigate the tree.
- A PVC cap was also provided on the opening of the PVC pipe to prevent entry of any insects through the PVC pipe.
Step 7: Central Pillar
- It was not necessary, but I have decided to construct a central pillar inside the coop for future use. we have used one surplus metal post at the center embedded in brick work. In case we decided to provide some short of platform inside the coop at a later date this will come in handy.
Step 8: Plastering and Pointing
- Plastering with cement mortar was done only up to the top of bottom brick layer. All other brick layers above were finished with pointing
Step 9: Inside Flooring
- As I have mentioned earlier, we have provided a drainage pipe at the south-east corner adjacent to the coconut tree. So the flooring inside the coop should have a gentle slope towards the PVC pipe for easy drainage of water.
- Initially, the required slope was measured with mason's level and reference points with cement mortar were provided at different places. Then the flooring was finished to match with the reference points which gave the required slope.
Step 10: Wire Mesh Around the Coop
Now it is time to cover the coop with wire mesh all around.
- The 40 ft long wire mesh was unrolled and spread all around the coop starting from the door opening
- Initially, one end of the wire mesh was tied with GI wire to the stone pillar at the door opening. Starting from that end, the wire mesh was tightened and tied to stone pillars uniformly
- At the other end of the door opening, the excess mesh was trimmed and tied with GI wire.
You can see the finished wire-meshed coop in the last picture
Step 11: Door Frame
- The total height of the stone pillars above ground level was around 7 ft. We have already covered about 6 inches with the flooring. We have also left a gap of about 2-1/2 ft for the door opening. So the door frame will have rough outer dimensions of 6-1/2 ft by 2-1/2 ft.
- After measuring the exact dimensions, the door frame was made with coconut timber and fixed to the stone pillars by GI wire
Step 12: Door
- The required door size was measured with reference to the door frame and made with coconut timber.
- The door was covered with left-over wire mesh and fixed to the frame with hinges. A simple locking arrangement was provided between door and frame so that the coop can be properly closed during night
Step 13: Roofing
- The roofing work was contracted to another team which included labour and material.
- The roofing framework has been made with Casuarina and coconut sticks and covered with coconut leaf mat
Step 14: Covering With Tarpaulin
- Roofing with coconut leaf mat is not water and weather proof. Normally we use a layer of special type straw laid over the coconut leaf mat to make it water proof.
- However, i have used a tarpaulin of size 14 ft x 12 ft to cover the entire roofing area. The tarpaulin was tied with the frame work using plastic wire.
- I have also observed that the western side of the coop gets affected by wind and rain. So the western side of the coop has been covered with another tarpaulin of size 12 ft x 9 ft and tied to the wire mesh
Step 15: Finishing
Though the coop was completed in all respects, it required few minor touches to finish it properly
- The excess lengths of tarpaulin on both sides of the coop were folded and tied to the roofing frame work. This will prevent the tarpaulin from being lifted by heavy wind
- The wire mesh around the coop was tied to the brick work by means of GI wires and nails at many places
- I have also provided lighting with a 7 watt LED bulb inside the coop.
Please see the finished chicken coop in the last picture.