We knew when we got the new girlies that they would eventually need an outdoor home to move into, so we made our plans for their coop. With a very low budget, we were lucky to already have nearly everything we needed! Keeping some nice wood laying around has these benefits 😉 Hurray for repurposing crates and pallets! I also used a super simple whitewash that is natural, safe and looks pretty awesome.
Last year, we acquired a homemade dog house for $25 off Craigslist. This was to be the main structure of the new hen headquarters, since it already had a roof and walls. We cut out the floor and replaced it with chicken wire, then placed wood beams of sorts across the wire for the chickens to get around. This will hopefully keep the home cleaner, as their droppings can drop right on down to the ground. We lifted the dog house a couple feet off the ground using solid pieces of wood we reclaimed from used wooden shipping crates.
We then added an exterior, easy access laying box section. There are two boxes, each a generous size, which should be suitable for our three chicks. For the walls, we used plywood that was also from shipping crates. The only things we needed to purchase were the hinges and locks, which we got from our local Home Depot for less than $25. We added a ramp for the chickens to use to access their little house, and a door to lock up at night. The ramp has blocks attached to help them climb up in case it gets slippery! And both the laying boxes and front door will be locked with a clip lock to outsmart the raccoons. We may upgrade if we feel the need. There is an eye hook in the ceiling that will hold their water bucket, which we haven't decided on yet since a 5 gallon bucket won't fit through the door! We will likely repurpose a smaller bucket and put water nipples in the bottom, as we've quickly learned this is by far the cleanest way of offering water to the chicks!
Natural 3 Ingredient Whitewash
Whitewash has been used for centuries to paint fences and buildings. It is nontoxic for people and animals, so you don't have to worry about getting it everywhere. It is also water-soluble, so it washes off you and your clothes; this also means that it washes off whatever you painted so it does need to be reapplied after the rainy season. We purchased a $10 bag of Type S Lime from the local Home Depot, which will essentially last me forever! I used 1 quart of water, 1/2 cup of salt, and 2 cups of hydrated lime, and I had a lot leftover (I didn't paint a whole lot though).
Mix the salt, water, and hydrated lime.
Paint your cleaned surface, it goes on almost clear.
As it dries, it will get more white.
The chickens checking out the progress on their home.