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Converting a garden shed into a chicken coop

Using a garden shed as a chicken coop is possible. It is a bit of extra work but if you already have a garden shed, there is a sizeable amount of money that you could save and you also get many advantages.

Cost of average large chicken coops:DIY Job:
$490/£450 approximately for large chicken coops (capacity for 10+ chickens)Timber poles for roosting bars are approximately $12/£10
Timber sheets required for nesting boxes and backdoor are approximately $25/£20
Unless you’re DIY savvy a carpenter will set you back around $60/£50
Total = $490/£450Total = $97/£80
If you’ve already got a garden shed, by renovating it, you’ll be saving approximately £340

Advantages of having a garden shed as coop

Apart from saving money, there are also many other advantages of having a garden shed as your chicken coop.

First of all, it’s about a thousand times easier to clean than a standard coop as you are actually able to stand in the shed. All you need to do is sweep out all the old sawdust and waste into a bag and dump in new bedding.

As well as this, it makes it much easier to reach the eggs as you don’t have to bend down or crouch. You can simply walk in, grab the eggs and walk out, simple.

There is also an advantage for the chickens when you have a garden shed, they often like to roost up high, perched on some bars. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible in most store-bought coops but with a garden shed, this is a modification that you can easily put in which we will get to later on in the article.

There are the four basic modifications you need to make in order to turn a garden shed into a coop:

Perching/Roosting Bars
Nesting/Laying Boxes

Chickens love to sleep in high places, they love sleeping on bars and its also the best space-efficient option when considering areas for roosting. Our medium-sized garden shed was able to hold up to 12 chickens at once by using roosting bars. However, you mustn’t overcram too many hens into a single area as they need space to be able to move and get out easily.

You can find the timber for roosting bars in most DIY shops

Roosting bars couldn’t be easier to install, all you need to do is connect the bar to each side of your shed using a screw, positioning does vary as we all have different sheds, but make sure the install leaves the bar really tightly secured, you don’t want it falling down when your chickens are roosting!

Another thing you have to consider is the thickness of the bar, we recommend anywhere between 2 to 3 inches in diameter. This allows the chickens to have a good firm foothold on the bars and stay secure, you can find bars as such in DIY carpentry shops.

Adding nesting boxes

Nesting boxes are one of the easiest jobs, and as the name suggests you need to make a box that the chicken will be able to nest in. It doesn’t really matter about the size and shape of the boxes, as long as the chickens can fit easily and get in and out without a problem it’s fine.

As far as quantity goes, we recommend to stay on the low side, we found that 12 chickens only needed 3 nesting boxes. We’d highly recommend that you don’t make a box for each individual chicken because it just won’t get used. Chickens will wait in turn to use the nesting boxes if they have to, and the likeliness of all of your chickens needing to lay at once is near impossible. In general, it’s probably good to have 3 or 4 in your garden shed.

Installing a backdoor

This is probably the largest part of using a garden shed as a chicken coop and the most complex which might put some people off. However, it really isn’t that tough and if it seems a little too ambitious to take on yourself then instead you can always hire a carpenter.

What you need to do in this conversion is put a small backdoor exit for the chickens in the back of the garden shed to turn it into a proper coop as shown above. It is tricky which is why we got ours done by a professional, but the job really wasn’t all that expensive and it turned out really neat. It’s a solid investment and is still ten times cheaper than buying an actual coop, defiantly worth having a professional at hand

This modification allows the chickens to easily be able to move in and out of the coop, you do have to open and close this latch in the morning and evening but it takes literally 5 seconds to do. You’ll also have to remember to close the backdoor at dusk when the chickens go inside. On the first night with you, they may not want to go in the coop, but once they’ve been inside a few times, they’ll go inside when it starts getting dark and you just have to close the latch on the backdoor.


You will also need bedding in order for you to turn your garden shed into a coop, chicken bedding can be found in most farming shops and its dirt cheap and easy to get your hands on. All you need to do is thoroughly coat the floor of the shed with an inch or two thick layer of bedding and add some into the nesting boxes to keep everything nice and comfortable for the hens.

You can either use wood shavings or straw and hay as bedding, we personally use wood shavings but either does the trick.

To conclude, making your garden shed into coop isn’t that hard, it does require some effort but it is fairly simple to and it saves a ton of money and gives a lot of benefits which you don’t get from a standard chicken coop, in our opinion it the best way to go about keeping chickens.

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