Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Repurpose It….The “Clampett Coop”
For more than a year we considered getting a few chickens for egg production. We finally “bit the bullet” in mid May and purchased three older pullets. We are now the proud owners of Charlotte, a Barred Rock; Nellie, a Black Sex-Link; and Swoope, a Brown Leg Horn (all named in honor of Virgina cities). In constructing their coop we wanted to keep costs down much as possible while also reusing anything we could find that was destined for the landfill. What we came up with is meant to function as a temporary coop (under one year) because we plan on building a bigger one off a yet-to-be-competed shed and getting a few more chickens!
We had a few scraps of wood left over from another project, but it was not enough. Over the course of a few days we kept our eyes open for possible materials – all from the side of the road! Dallas has neighborhood bulk trash pickup once a month. Homeowners can leave brush, downed limbs, entire trees, furniture, appliances, etc., etc. on the parkway. The city collects it and takes it to the dump. This is both a blessing (re-use, free stuff!) and a curse (useable items fill up the dump, neighborhood eyesore the week prior to pickup). The curse part of it is probably a post in and of itself, but I’m going to focus on the blessing part here today.
We decided on a Wednesday that we were going to get the chickens that Saturday. This didn’t leave us much time to scavenge (or build for that matter)! We were able to gather some great items that I wanted to showcase here. We started construction with screws, some wood, and some wire – all left over from a previous home renovation. Everything else we found – thanks to the people of North Oak Cliff! Repurposed items include the nesting boxes (college-type plastic storage bins), roosting perches (ladder from a bunkbed), and numerous things that help to form the overall structure of the coop including an old sawhorse, a garage work table for the base of their elevated sleeping area, a shutter used as a door to get to the nesting boxes, and more wood.
When first completed I liked it so much but just couldn’t stop laughing. It looks so ugly & sad! But that’s also where the beauty lies. The chickens are clueless and couldn’t be happier. The coop provides them shelter from the weather, safety from predators, we provide the food and water – they’re set! Same can be said for babies – they have no idea if they are sleeping on a $1000 designer crib or a $10 one from a thrift shop. Just give them the basics – food, shelter, clothes, and love. Of course we don’t dress our chickens, but you get the idea. When all was said and done we ended up spending about $6 on hinges. We did buy one small roll of chicken wire but that was with a gift card we already had and we still have plenty of wire left over for anther project. We do let the chickens free range for a few hours daily to help reduce the amount of feed we need to purchase, and therefore, lower holding costs. No doubt, we could improve the look of the coop if we painted it. But I’ve become quite fond of our “Clampett Coop” – it is a constant reminder of our recent push to tread lighter on the land – and I’m OK with that. - Carrie