Homesteading: Building a Chicken Coop out of Recycled Materials

Well, we decided that maybe building an entire house before winter was a tad ambitious... and so we've decided to wait until spring to start the actual construction.  We didn't want all that wood sitting out over the winter, if indeed we couldn't finish before the snow got too deep to work.  The good thing, though, is that we've already put in the footings, so we won't have to wait for the ground to thaw out.

Feeling disappointed, we decided to go ahead and build a chicken coop to help lift our sprits and feel like we were doing something to move the homestead forward.  

On the eve of the first work day, with frozen fingers, sore shoulders and drops of rain streaming down my glasses, I sat back to take stock of the small amount of work we had accomplished.  Exhausted and frustrated by the weather and turn of events, I watched a flock of geese overhead.  I admired how they were able to flow and work together gracefully.  Each creature knowing exactly what it was supposed to do... until they didn't.  All at once, the birds scattered, twisting and turning haphazardly, almost as if they were falling out of the sky.  Jake said they just hit a gust of wind and got thrown out of formation, it happens all the time.  In a few minutes, they'll be back on track.  He was right, of course.

p.s.  In case you're wondering about photo details... The floor, siding and trim are from the playhouse and deck we took apart.  The skylight window was free from a friend.  The bricks, screws and plywood were leftovers from a previous project here at home.  The only things we had to buy were 2x4's, tar paper, and steel roofing panels.  We did find some free panels on craigslist, but decided the hour drive to pick them up wasn't worth it.  We rented a generator for the electric drill and circular saw, as we thought it would make work go faster.  We're not sold on power tools, except the nail gun.  We all really liked the air nailer.  By the third day, we ditched the electric tools for hand tools.  For us, they're faster and more accurate.  See that pile of wood in front of my feet?  That was all we had for scraps!  We learned from a lot of mistakes, and our motto of the day became: "We'll fix that right up with some trim!"  With the last moments of light, we boarded up the front with scrap plywood until spring, chatted with a neighbor, and took a moment to remember that it's all about the journey.  


  1. This journey has been so fun to follow!!

  2. We've built two chicken coops in the last 8 years, both using plywood and some scrap material that we had on hand, like old single pane windows that were painted pretty colors. The current coop was called the Duck Hilton when we first made it to house a flock of Indian Runners and Cayugas. Now its back to chickens (much easier).

  3. LOVE seeing the progress!! Your geese story was wonderful. It is one I will remember when I get thrown off course by the winds that hit me on life. Thanks for sharing this wisdom!!