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Swing Set Chicken Coop
The chickens haven’t used the slide yet, but they’ve stayed safe and cozy in the coop built from the rest of her son’s old swing set, says Elizabeth Craib. Though they had limited carpentry experience, her family successfully repurposed the swing set into an A-frame coop.
“We talked about getting chickens for a long time, and last year turned out to be a good year to do it,” Craib says.
After researching designs online, she realized the wood beam swing set that her son had outgrown provided the basic framework. With leftover shingles, plywood and scraps from previous projects and neighbors offering leftover tar paper and nails, the coop only cost about $200, for a roll of heavy hardware cloth and lumber.
The Craibs built the floor off the ground about waist high at the point where it is 4-ft. wide and one sheet of plywood fit perfectly for the floor. They added another 2-ft. section to make the coop 4 by10 ft. To keep out weasels and other predators, they stretched hardware cloth over the joists under the plywood and up part of the walls. They also included a clear corrugated sheet on the side to add light.
The coop has three doors. A trap door lifts off the floor to give chickens access to a ramp that leads to a fenced-in area during the day.
“It’s shaded under the coop and that’s where they spend time even on the coldest days,” Craib says.
A big triangle-shaped door on one end provides the Craibs access to the coop for feeding, watering and cleaning. Craib’s 13-year-old son can get inside for a deep cleaning that takes less than half an hour.
The trickiest part is collecting the eggs. The chickens don’t use the nesting box near a mini door on the other end. They prefer to lay their eggs on the floor, just out of reach. Craib solved the problem with a golf ball retriever with a telescopic expandable stick.
Craib notes she was concerned how the small flock of three Wyandotte and two Ameraucana hens would handle their first Vermont winter.
“It doesn’t have power so we had no heated water dishes. So every morning I gave them fresh water in rubber feeding bowls. I just popped out the ice in the bowl and refilled it,” she says. The hardy chickens were fine even through minus zero temperatures.
The only predator issue turned out to be a bear this spring. Fortunately it just knocked over the galvanized trash can with feed and left paw prints on the coop door. The feed is now stored in the garage.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Elizabeth Craib, Hartland, Vt. (eccraib@gmail.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #4