During the chill of our North Carolina winter, Joel and I enjoyed what we affectionately call, "hermit time". We stayed home most nights and didn't go out with friends. Really, we didn't venture out much at all because it was just so cold. Then one Sunday afternoon the sun came out just enough to lure us outdoors.
The house next door to us was bought by a company that flips historic homes and rents them. This group had a big dumpster placed between our homes (which did take up the entire space between our houses) and had began to demo the inside of the house. Every evening, Joel and I took to checking out the contents of the dumpster. Each day we would find a treasure.
By that sunny Sunday we had accumulated almost everything we needed to build a chicken coop so we go to work. We had so much fun drawing designs, comparing them to coops people were showing online, measuring ours to meet our specific needs, and actually putting it all together. In the end, we only needed to buy chicken wire, some screws, zip ties, and some metal place holders. Everything else came from our garden supplies and the dumpster in the driveway.
After thoughtful consideration, we decided to build a coop that would fit right on top of our raised beds so that at the end of each growing season we can put the coop on top of the bed and let the chickens work their magic. Chickens will strip a garden. They will eat anything left behind, roots, bugs, leaves, anything. While they are scratching and eating, they are also pooping in the soil which means- automatic fertilizer. It's a pretty good set- up and saves us a lot of work. While the beds are in use, we are going to move the chickens around the yard to clear some wilder areas of their weeds and vines.
Our coop is light weight and we both can easily move it around the yard as needed. We built it out of 2x8's, PVC pipe, chicken wire, tarp and home cabinet parts. We actually used a kitchen cabinet as the nesting box. The entry door to the coop is a bathroom cabinet door. Joel even got creative by combining the steps up the ramp to the nesting box with roosting sticks. We still need to make our feed and water dispensers and a latch for the doors, but other than that, we are in business.
This month we will go to Renfrow's Hardware out in Matthews to pick up our little chicks. We are going to start with two since our coop is not that big and our needs are not that great. We hope to have them laying by August.
What do you think? We are pretty proud of our homemade creation. I am just convinced, more and more, that if you look hard enough and get creative, you don't have to spend lots of money on anything.