Garden Beds to Chicken Coop

A weekend project on our journey to healthier eating

these are the hens

I would say it has been a combination of our desire to eat healthier “real food” and be more self-sufficient that has lead us to this year long process of wanting, waiting, making the decision and eventually getting chickens. Why did it take us so long to take the plunge and finally get chickens? There were so many decisions to make beyond the decision to just get chickens. Where would they go? How many chickens are we planning on getting? Would we buy a coop or build one? How much did we planning on investing initially? Do we want chickens for meat or eggs?  So many questions and so many decisions to make! Through the waiting and wanting period on our journey to get chickens I spent many hours on craigslist searching through coops to see what was available and what both new and used coops were going for.

The BIG decision came rather quickly as I found an incredible deal on a coop I couldn’t pass up. About an hour south of us I found a couple that was selling their coop at a great price and it could hold up to 30 hens! We can only have 6 hens where we live, but I loved the idea of a larger coop so our ladies wouldn’t be crowded in the winter, and the coop cost far less than used coops that only hold 4-6 hens so it was an easy decision to make.

Since we made the decision to get the coop so quickly and without a lot of preparation we had a lot of catching up to do. In order to make room for the chickens we decided to get rid of our unused garden beds. Why get rid of garden space if we’re trying to eat more sustainably? To make a long story short I still have some garden bed space I’m repurposing to plant veggies instead of ornamental flowers, and I’ve fallen in love with the idea of container gardening this year. Also, we had nowhere else we could have fit the coop and pen, and against our back fence is the perfect place.

It barely fit on our trailer!
It barely fit on our trailer!

What’s the secret to moving and installing a large chicken coop? Have lots of friends. We are blessed with an amazing group of friends, many of whom showed up on a Sunday morning with almost no notice to help their crazy friends move a chicken coop. Thanks guys!

After the coop was moved in I decided to paint it. I wanted the coop to match our house, so I used the trim and accent colors on the coop. Here’s where things got super interesting. In the middle of my coop renovation I found four (one year old) laying hens someone was re-homing, and I was able to pick them up the next day, but I wasn’t done painting yet!

This is what the coop looked like the day we picked up our four ladies.
This is what the coop looked like the day we picked up our four ladies.

As you can see the ladder and nesting boxes aren’t reattached to the coop yet, and it was still mid paint job. After I picked up the ladies I let them free range and get used to their new home while I worked on the finishing touches that would need to be completed before we could put them to bed. I was once again rescued by some awesome guys that worked quietly late into the night to get the coop secure for our new ladies.

Almost done!
Almost done!

Good night ladies!
Good night ladies!

The whole process of getting these chickens was such an adventure, and so much fun. Our kids absolutely love the chickens and my four year old helps me collect and count the eggs every day. The best part of having the chickens is hands down the farm fresh eggs (without growth hormones or antibiotics), but their company is great and they make excellent compost.

We got chickens for food and eggs, but they are making excellent pets as well, except for when they eat veggies from our garden. Do you have chickens? Did you get yours for food or pets?

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