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 how to convert a shed into a chicken coop.
Can I Convert My Shed Into A Chicken Coop?
Of course, one of the best benefits of turning your shed into a home for your chickens is that it won’t cost you anywhere near as much as it would 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 Turn 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.
Step 1 – Structural Assessment
Begin by thoroughly inspecting the shed’s structural integrity. Ensure that the foundation is solid and that the walls and roof are secure. Any signs of rot or structural damage should be addressed immediately to ensure the safety of the chickens and the longevity of the coop.
Step 2 – Cleaning and Repairs
Remove all non-essential items from the shed and clean the interior. Look for any openings that could allow predators such as foxes or rats to enter. Repair these with sturdy materials. Replace any damaged roofing or siding to ensure the coop is watertight and predator-proof.
Step 3: Ventilation
Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent moisture buildup and maintain good air quality. Install vents or windows that can be opened or closed to regulate temperature and humidity.
In the UK, where the weather can be damp, adequate ventilation helps prevent respiratory issues in chickens.
Step 4: Insulation and Bedding
In colder regions of the UK, insulation may be necessary to keep chickens warm during winter. Use appropriate insulation materials that are safe for animals. On the floor, use a thick layer of bedding such as straw or wood shavings to provide comfort and absorb moisture.
Step 5: Roosting Bars
Chickens naturally roost off the ground to avoid predators. Install roosting bars at a suitable height, allowing for the size of your chickens. The bars should be smooth and rounded to accommodate the chickens’ feet.
Step 6: Nesting Boxes
Provide one nesting box (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) for every three to four hens. These should be placed in a quiet, darker part of the shed to offer privacy. The boxes can be filled with straw or shavings and should be easily accessible for egg collection.
Step 7: Predator-Proofing
Securing the coop against predators is essential. Reinforce the shed with hardware cloth, not just chicken wire, as it is more durable against predators. Pay special attention to doors, windows, and any vents to ensure they are secure.
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.
Step 8: The Chicken Run
If space allows, attach a run to the coop to provide the chickens with outdoor access. The run should be enclosed with hardware cloth, including overhead, to protect against aerial predators. Include features such as dust baths and perches.
Step 9: Feeders and Waterers
Position feeders and waterers in a way that minimises waste and is protected from the elements. They should be easy to clean and refill. Consider treadle feeders which help keep pests away and reduce food spillage.
Step 10: Introduction to the Coop
Introduce the chickens to their new environment gradually. Monitor their behaviour to ensure they are adapting well to the space, the roosting bars, and the nesting boxes.
Step 11: Maintenance
Regular maintenance is crucial. This includes cleaning the coop, replenishing the bedding, checking for signs of wear or damage, and ensuring the security measures remain effective.
Keeping chickens is a rewarding hobby and these animals provide the added benefit of fresh eggs every day. However setting up a home for them can be expensive but if you already have a garden shed that you can turn into a chicken coop, 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 homemade 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 replace them with 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 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.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.