Keeping chickens is relatively simple if you are willing to provide them with the right care and conditions but moreover, they will provide essential fertiliser to your garden as well as a lifetime’s supply of delicious eggs. What’s not to love? Well, the answer to that question lies in the cost of buying a chicken coop; these are not inexpensive pieces of equipment and while you can pick up a chick for as little as £20, their enclosure may skyrocket up into the hundreds.
The good news is that it is entirely possible to convert an existing garden shed into a chicken coop using a little innovation and some time.
If you have an unused garden shed or simply one that you could do without and want to adopt a flock of chickens, get your DIY kit out because we’re about to look at the best way of converting a shed into a chicken coop.
What Are The Benefits Of Converting A Shed Into A Chicken Coop?
Of course, one of the best benefits about converting your shed into a home for your chickens is that it won’t cost you anywhere near as much as it would to buy a purpose built coop. But this is far from the only advantage, so before we crack on (get it, eggs, crack..never mind), let’s take a look at how you and your chickens will benefit.
- A garden shed is typically much larger than a commercially sold chicken coop meaning that your hens will have much more space and freedom which is vital for any animal kept in captivity.
- When you buy a chicken coop, the roof is normally very low and this can make getting inside to clean it the stuff of nightmares. Conversely, your garden shed is the perfect height for you to walk in, tidy up and leave the chicks to their business.
- A lot of people are averse to erecting a chicken coop as it may not look aesthetically pleasing. Since your garden shed is already part of your garden, it won’t serve as an eyesore.
How To Convert A Shed Into A Chicken Coop
While converting a shed into a chicken coop is a relatively easy task for someone who has a half-decent knowledge of DIY, there is one thing to consider. You will need to have somewhere for your chickens outside of the coop. Some people will opt to allow the chickens to roam freely around the garden but if this isn’t something you would like then you must build a run that would typically connect to the coop.
Securing The Shed
Chickens are susceptible to being attacked by predators and for this reason, you will want to make sure the shed is secure. One of the best methods for doing this is to apply a thin layer of concrete along the shed floor which will prevent unwanted guests from digging their way in.
Not only will this prevent animals from entering but it will also act as a waterproof barrier from the ground up so you can feel confident that you chickens will be comfortable. Once the concrete is applied, you will need to leave it, well ventilated, for a couple of days until it is completely cured.
Furthermore, if the shed has windows, you will need to make sure that these are fully reinforced.
Creating An Air Vent
Imagine you were going to spend a lot of time in your garden shed; you’re going to want decent airflow and the same goes for your chickens. Some people worry that the chickens will get cold but there is more chance of them overheating. Therefore, one of the first things you should do is add an air vent which can be something as simple as a metal mesh.
If you can, installing two air vents will allow for even better airflow and since the process is so simple, this should be a serious consideration.
Your air vents should be as deep as a wooden slat and will need to measure at least 12 inches by six inches. Simply remove one of the slats and create the correct size hole before covering it with your chosen wire mesh.
In addition to an air vent, some owners will choose to install a ceiling fan which can be extremely useful on hot summer days. However, your shed will need to have electrics for this to be viable.
Installing Nest Boxes
The nest boxes (amazon link – opens in a new tab) will be where the chickens lay their eggs and they will want to do this in relative comfort and with a good degree of privacy, making this an important aspect to consider. Your nest boxes will need to be large enough to house a chicken so you may want to adjust the measurements according to the breed you are keeping.
However, as a general rule, chicken nest boxes will need to be around 15 inches deep. In a four by four shed, you might be able to get three nest boxes in. However, if you want to create larger ones or save on space, two would be sufficient.
Installing A Perch
Your chickens are going to need somewhere to sit while inside the coop so adding a perch is essential. Some people will opt for a branch which creates a much more natural environment but of course, you may not have one to hand.
In most DIY situations, using a piece of timber that runs along the width of the shed is an ideal solution. It is important to make sure that the perch is wide enough for the chickens to sit comfortably but again, this may vary according to the breed and size of your flock.
Keeping The Coop Clean
Your chickens are going to poop but installing poop trays will make cleaning up after them a lot easier. You can buy shallow plastic trays and simply line these with newspaper or wood shavings. Once you are ready to empty, the waste will simply slide out.
Furthermore, you will need to inspect the coop regularly for damage and make any repairs as soon as you notice them. This will ensure that the coop is safe and comfortable for your hens.
Keeping chickens is a rewarding hobby and these animals can provide many benefits. However setting up a home for them can be expensive but if you already have a garden shed that is not used, this could serve as a viable home for your flock.
You will need to be prepared to put in a little hard work but once you are done, you will have a spacious and comfortable chicken coop that is easy to maintain.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Ensure that there are no weak spots in the structure where foxes could break in!”
“Regularly clean and inspect your coop for damage to ensure you have happy hens!”
“Secure all glass windows or better still, remove them and and replace will chicken wire or plastic!”
“If you want to go all out, install electricity into the shed so you can have a ceiling fan when the weather is warmer!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to build your own chicken coop?
One of the questions that many people have is whether or not it makes sense to build their own chicken coop. The answer to this question can be complicated, although we think that building your own can certainly save you money.
Can I convert a shed into a chicken coop?
The answer is yes! There are many ways you can convert your shed into a chicken coop. First of all, don’t forget about the nesting boxes! They should be placed in the right spot so they are easy for chickens to get inside but far enough from your doors so predators cannot get in either. The other thing you need to do is put some roosts up high where chickens can sleep at night and some perches where the hens can sit during the day.
How many chickens does a 6×4 shed?
How many chickens can a 6×4 shed hold? The answer is that it depends on the type of chicken. If you are talking about standard, or “broilers,” then six to eight will fit nicely into a 6×4 area. If you’re raising laying hens, they need more space. A typical laying hen needs at least 18 inches by 20 inches for one bird, and 12 square feet of room per four birds in order to lay eggs at an optimum rate.