Raising chicks in a box somewhere in the house is not a very pleasant experience, at least after the first two weeks. Chicks are messy, and smelly if not constantly cleaned up after. This is difficult without a proper set-up. Without the right tools for any job means working twice as hard, and raising chicks is no exception.
Caring and housing chicks shouldn’t feel like a chore. The planing, building, and improving your set-up is half the fun. Just like anything else, once a hobby becomes a job it’s just not fun anymore.
After years of looking for an easier way to raise chicks on a budget, this is what I came up with.
I had an 8×10 bare bones shed built with one window, two air flow vents, and a double door. Then the finishing was up to me, it took probably close to two years to afford everything.
Today it has painted walls, a tile floor, electric, and a custom made brooder to accommodate 50 chicks comfortably. All my supplies are handy, and any mess sweeps right out the door. I actually enjoy spending time in my brooder shed. My cute chicks, a window fan, soft music, and a cup of coffee. That my friends is how to enjoy your birds!
For the past year, maybe longer, we have been remodeling the brooder shed to be a more suitable place to raise baby chicks. This will also be where my broody Silkie Bantam hens can hatch eggs. Over the winter we had drywall put up, and this past week it was taped and prepped to paint. The brooder itself has been built, but there’s still a box of flooring to install on the bottom.
I bought paint the other day for the interior of the shed, pale yellow of course! Next week painting is the number one priority. It’s been fun picking out prints for wall decor, mostly retro poultry tin, but I did choose two framed prints of fancy hens and roosters.
The biggest problem with raising chickens here is the hot weather. It’s impossible to tell a hen when to go broody, and of course they pick the worst time on their own. So I’ve solved that problem with a heating and cooling system in the brooder shed itself. However, that means the pressure is on to produce really nice quality birds. Air conditioning is going to drive my prices up a little to accommodate the price of keeping them alive in 115 degree temperatures. But, that also means I’ll have chicks during the off season when they’re not readily available at local retailers.
There’s still an incubator to buy just in case a hen decides to leave her eggs. They do that sometimes! One day they are dedicated mothers sitting on a clutch of fertile eggs, and then just like that, decide to re-join the flock, leaving their babies to die. What the heck!
So little by little it’s all getting done, but it all cost money, and unfortunately the money tree I planted has not produced even a single dime. Dang!
Here’s what the brooder shed and new brooder looks like so far…
Interior with new brooder
Still lots to do, but I don’t think a month to completion is unrealistic. 🙂
There’s a million ideas for chicken coops, but I like to think out of the box a little and be creative. Not a fan of store bought chicken coops, they are often cheaply made and usually a little a lot short on space. I like roomy, definitely not something I have to crawl around on my knees to clean!
It’s nice to not worry about the chickens when it’s pouring rain, or inclement weather. Not to mention the after the storm clean-up… so here’s a great solution!
Chicken Coop Shed Conversion…
Just a suggestion, I would use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. Sparrows can fit through chicken wire, and there’s no good reason (in my opinion) to feed expensive chicken feed to wild birds!
This chicken coop below gave me the idea of simply modifying an out building. Mine doesn’t need to be this big, but Tuff Shed or comparable shed builders offer buildings in all different sizes. I priced a 6X8 shed with a window, built and painted for less than $1,000
These nest boxes affixed to the interior would be very nice to have, however, a shelf affixed to the wall with free standing next boxes will work fine.
This roost is perfect, the flat board will make scrapping the droppings a snap, and I really like the shelf below to aid in quick clean-ups.
Neither the nest boxes or roost would be difficult to attach to the interior walls of a shed, whether they are finished or not. I like the dry wall in these pictures, but it’s merely a luxury… and, an added expense.
It looks like the feeders have been hung below the shelf, another great idea to help minimize feed waste.
I like this chicken run, it looks like an easy build. Predator proof, but the wire mesh is not going to keep the wild birds from entering and consuming expensive chicken feed.
In the next photo I found a better choice of wire, and suitable hardware as a fastener.
Vinyl Shed with a Floor, Windows and Doors, Costco, $600
It’s easy to find a suitable chicken coop, but for the money they always seem too small. If you do find one that’s roomy enough, the price is rather spendy, at least for what it is. Certainly can’t use a store bought chicken coop and not worry about it being wind proof, or rain proof. You’ll be spending a lot of time and more money draping tarps over it, or worse, nailing boards to a flimsy framework . I think if you’ve spent any time on-line looking for a chicken coop, you’ve already seen everything you really want is well over $300. That will only accommodate about 4-6 birds and not exactly with enough room to spread their wings so to speak.
This shed from Costco is ideal, if you build a shelf on three sides about half way up for nest boxes you have created the perfect set-up. There’s ample space for feeders and a water source, so you have less to worry about in inclement weather. This shed provides a safe haven from predators when you close it up at night, and there’s no need to worry about ventilation because they have windows!
If your worried about how they hold up, don’t. Folks have been using them as tack rooms on ranches for years here in Phoenix. They’re pretty tough considering they bake out in the sun where temperatures reach 115+ degrees.
Another point to consider is this shed will be far more useful over the years, a chicken coop is what it is – and probably not for very long. So what are you waiting for? Build a fence around it and you’re in business!