by Nancy Rundel
You know it’s going to be a good day when you hear a rooster crow outside and you think, “Wow, that rooster sounds close to the house.”
Sure enough, when you look out the window, he’s right there on the railing of your deck, robustly welcoming the day.
At this point, you react in one of two ways: “Oh, crud! I hope he didn’t poop on my deck.”
Or: “Wow, that’s just like in the movies! How cool is that?”
Just sitting and watching the chickens is a relaxing way to unwind after a crazy day teaching and coaching high schoolers.
We began our flock as a 4-H project for our youngest son. Although we live on a farm, our farmstead did not come complete with a chicken house, and we decided to build our own. Knowing that we were a little short on free time, we chose to modify a wooden garden shed that we purchased at an area lumberyard.
The first thing we added was a roof vent to ensure proper ventilation for the birds.
Next, we chose to cut a hole in the south wall and install a sliding glass window complete with a screen. During the summer the window is open for ventilation, and in the winter it’s closed to keep in the heat.
We also cut a small drop-down door in the lower southwest corner of the house for the hens to use as an entrance and exit. It was important to not make the ramp (the drop-down door) too steep for the birds to walk up and not cut it so low that water could get in if it rained heavily. (We built the shed on runners to keep it off the ground a little and so we could move it into place.)
Truly, having chickens has been a great deal of fun for our family, and creating the chicken house was a great way for our family to work on something together. Our son even won an award at the county fair for his project display documenting our process.