After a little bit more work the enclosure is now chicken ready! All the wire is on the front, the padlock is on the door and the coop is repaired. Now all we need is the chickens, which should be with us on Tuesday afternoon! In the meantime, if you’re thinking about getting chickens or just want to update your coop and give the chucks a little protected space, here’s how we made our chicken enclosure.
For the coop, we saved one that had been broken by a storm and was just about to be burnt. We cleaned it up, painted it a nice blue and put it back together. We were lucky to get a second hand coop which didn’t really need too much fixing, so we didn’t need to fork out too much for it, just £20 for the Cuprinol Forget-me-not blue paint.
Next we started building the enclosure. We bought 30 pieces of 2.4m long timber (10cm wide X 5cm thick) from B&Q for £70, which has a good deal on at the moment if you buy more than 20 pieces, it brings the price down to £2 each! The roof was a rectangle 2.4m X 4.8m (the 4.8m was made of two pieces of wood fixed together). The rectangle was then split into 18 smaller 0.77m X 0.7m rectangles to give the roof strength so that it could be freestanding other than being attached to the garden fences.
All the wood was held together with metal plates and angles. Straight metal plates were used either side of a joint and metal angles were screwed into every inside corner. This added some real needed strength, which without would have caused the roof to cave in from its own weight.
On to the roof structure, 9 plastic roof sheets were screwed down. These were 3m long by 0.5m wide and £8 each from Wickes. The plastic sheets should help keep the rain off and stop the enclosure from becoming a mud bath.
The front of the enclosure was made in a similar way as the roof, with a large a large outer frame (4.8m X 1.9m) split into 5 sections, 4 supporting (2 sections of 2.27m X 0.95m and 2 of 1.47m X 0.95) and one for the door of 1.7m X 0.78. We used the timber to make the door as well. All joints and inside corners were supported by metal plates and angles as describe for the roof.
Once the front had been secured to the fences, the roof was lifted on and secured to the front and all of the fences. As the fence panels were not very wide, we added some extra supports along the fence where we could attach the roof onto with more metal angles. The extra supports at the back were longer than the front so that the water drained off into our garden, not the drive behind the garden. In the future, we’re planing to build a raised plant bed to catch the water and stop the ground from soaking through.
After being strapped down to stop the roof from taking off in the wind, we attached aviary mesh using metal staples to the front. The mesh was £35 for 3ft wide x 15m long, the wire was 1.6mm in diameter and in 1 x 1in squares. It was easily cut into the right sized striped using wire cutters. I can really recommend the online supplier that we got our mesh from hillsofdevon.co.uk as their website was really easy to use and understand and the wire arrived well before the estimated time of arrival.
I’m so happy with the finished product. I know a lot of the time I say that “we did this” and “we did that” but mostly it was my boyfriend that did all the construction work. He did a wonderful job and did most of the work with just an electric drill and a hammer, couldn’t have been a simple job once he got to grips with the design.
Including the price of all the screws used and metal joining plates, which came to £107 from Wickes and our local DIY store (where we got more for our money) the total price for the enclosure came to £284 pounds. For how much work you have to put in and how few DIY skills are needed, the results look fantastic! There’s still a little bit to go like making sure that it’s also rat proof and painting the wood to make it weather proof but these can be done whilst we have the chickens.
With the enclosure ready, the next post will be when we actually have the chickens. Tuesday is the day, so expected lots of photos and happy thoughts! 🙂