Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Horse Trailer to Chicken Coop Transformation - Part II

By Leigh -

See Part I here if you missed it!

So if you recall from my last post, I had the crazy idea to buy and up-cycle an ancient, rusty horse trailer into a chicken coop... with only the help of my husband and rather unwilling teenage son. 

My husband is 6'3" and was great for sanding the ceiling inside the rusty trailer and cutting out large hunks of iron meant for the containment of horses and their tack. I stand at exactly 5'0" (that's 15hh in horse-talk) so I was thankful for his assistance in these areas! 
The Hubbs also helped me with much of the woodwork stuff for the grow-out pen and isolation pens. And while he and I make a great team (perhaps vaguely reminiscent of Mutt and Jeff), he would probably tell you that little 'ol Leigh did the bulk of the design planning, sanding, scraping, taping, caulking, painting, grunting, moaning and groaning. (It'll be some time before my back forgives me for abusing it so! LOL)
And just this past weekend my 18-year-old son exclaimed, "Geez, Mom! Look at your hands! You have manly construction worker hands! Really little manly construction hands!"
Thanks, sweetie! You are one of the reasons some animals eat their young... And just for that I'm posting this photo of mid-paint I told you I deleted. Love you!:
So anyway... 
The very back (the part that used to be able to hold 2 horses) is 5' x 6'8". There are "escape doors" on either side originally installed so one could lead a horse in and then both duck and climb to "escape" out the little side portal, and then fall off the running board just below and break one's ankle right before the "big show." These ankle-breaking windows are perfect for warm weather ventilation!

We installed hardware cloth-covered "screen doors." They will allow a good cross-breeze to come through, but prevent raccoons and the like from floating in on the breeze and feasting upon our flock.  We thought about just covering the area with hardware cloth and doing without opening screen doors, but one just never knows when one might need a quick means of breaking ones ankle! So we put the screen doors on hinges and put raccoon-proof locks on the inside of the trailer... so that any raccoons that successfully chew their way through the steel sides of the trailer and gain entry will not be able to open these doors and fall and break their ankles.

I mentioned in the original post that I am a stickler for ventilation - especially because I plan to house my birds in a giant metal box. Virginia does not get as hot as Texas, but it does get pretty darn warm in the summers.
In the next picture you can just make out the ceiling vent in the main part of the trailer. I am hoping all this ventilation paired with a light-colored roof will help keep this coop cool when it gets hot outside.
To keep costs down, we used branches from a fallen tree as perches.

And what do you think about our fancy-shmancy nest boxes?? Our man's trash... is a nest box unit, baybeeeeee!

The bottom and middle rows have mini perches to make it easier for the birds to get in and out. I wish these perches could have been a bit larger, but the unit is made of cheap particle board and something heavy would just tear out. I'll probably use the top shelves to store a bit of scratch and the like. (You can never have too much storage!)

Later I'll put bedding in, and then it will be done...
And while I say "done" I use the term lightly... because now we're thinking that the front room works so well staying warm even on the coldest nights, we'll build a brooder for the incubator chicks on top of the grow out pen! When ever we get a chance to actually do that, I will post updated pictures!

Here is a video "tour" of the coop. I forgot to show the storage area... bummer. But you'll get the idea from the rest:


- Leigh 


No comments:

Post a Comment