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Make a Chicken Coop from a Garden Shed

Make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Make a Chicken Coop from a Garden Shed!

The day I brought home the first two chicks, I  went against all the advice I give to people thinking about getting chickens. We had a farm but had no chicken coop or really any plan to build one. But two chicks followed me home from work at a feed store and the future was changed forever. Not long after, twelve more chicks arrived to keep the first two chicks company. We now had fourteen baby chicks growing up in our house but they could not stay there forever. It was very clear that in the near future we were going to need a chicken coop on the farm. 

 

Make a chicken coop from a garden shed

We had two garden sheds in our yard. Downsizing was in order because having two sheds just meant that you saved and held onto twice as much “stuff”. We would use one of the sheds for a coop but first it needed to be emptied and then moved to the barn area. 

Getting Things Started

chicken coop timbercreekfarmer.com

The first step in converting the shed into a coop happens before the shed even arrives. Level the ground and get materials for elevating the coop off the ground several inches. You could use 6 x 6  timbers or cinder blocks. We opted to go with the treated lumber 6 x 6 timbers to raise the coop up from ground level. 

There are two main reasons to do this, one is to allow drainage and air flow under the coop and prohibit rotting. The second reason is to deter predators and pests from chewing into the coop from the ground. 

 

make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Inside the coop we spread a layer of cement and let it cure for a couple of days to dry completely. This also deterred rodents from chewing into the coop from the ground level. 

Once that prep work is complete it is time to retrofit the shed and turn it into a coop. Some things you will need to add are listed below.

What to Add To a Chicken Coop

make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Roosting bar /Roosting area– Many people use a 2 x 4 board as a roost. This should be turned so that the 4 inch side is flat for the chickens to perch on and comfortably cover their own feet with their feathers during cold weather. 

Add A Place for Eggs

make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Nesting Boxes–  There are many formulas on calculating how many nest boxes for the number of hens in the coop. I will tell you that no matter how many nest boxes you have, all the hens will wait in line for the same box. Sometimes a few will crowd into one nest area. I recommend having a few nest boxes in the coop but don’t be surprised if one nest  box becomes the popular nest. Be careful to secure the nest box somehow. Nest boxes that are lightweight can tip over, trapping a chicken underneath. 

make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Windows– Our shed did not  have any windows in it. Before we could use it for a coop we added four windows in the back and two windows in the door. This allowed  cross ventilation, and daylight to enter the coop. Since chicken wire will not keep predators out, be sure to securely fasten quarter inch hardware cloth to any windows or ventilation  holes you cut into the coop.

 

Safety Concerns

Exterior latches–  We added a couple extra latches in addition to the door handle. We have a wooded property and the racoons are literally everywhere. Racoons have a lot of dexterity in their paws and can open doors and latches. So we have a secure lock down situation for our chickens!

A fan– Hanging a box fan will keep the chickens more comfortable and help with air circulation during the hot humid summer days and nights. We hang ours from the ceiling pointing towards the back windows. It makes a big difference. Be sure to keep the fan clean because dust will build up quickly from being used in the coop, which can become a fire hazard.

make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Don’t Forget Regular Upkeep Inspections!

After building the perfect chicken coop from a garden shed, remember that upkeep is needed. Doing routine inspections, and repairs as outlined here, will help you get many years of wear out of the coop.

Necessary Coop Furnishings

Droppings board–  When this coop was first used, I didn’t know the importance of a dropping board under the roost bar. Stinky droppings accumulated under where the birds roosted at night, attracted flies and the chickens walked in the droppings! Ick!

The dropping board was very easily added and made a huge difference in keeping the coop clean and free of flies. You can read more specifically about our coop dropping boards in this post. Basically, the board is installed under the roost bar and is removed to clean the droppings off of it. If the board is attached you would use something like a garden trowel or cat litter scoop to clean up the droppings and remove them to the compost pile.

 

make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Coop Extras

Our coop is not fancy. No frilly curtains, or interior paint. While all of that is fun, your flock will not feel less important if you don’t totally pinterest up the coop. (did you know pinterest could be a verb?) I did paint the one nesting box in a very cute pattern and added lettering that stated “Farm Eggs”. The girls still pooped all over it and decided to peck the lettering off of the top. I still think it would be fun to paint the inside and add some wall art. I’ll add that to this Spring’s To Do List!

make a chicken coop from a garden shed

Before the nest box was added to the coop

 

 

 

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after the nest box was used

 I hope you enjoy this short video tour of our chicken coop!

I poured a lot of Do it Yourself Information and detailed step by step projects into my book, 50 Do it Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens (skyhorse publishing 2018)  You can grab a copy through local bookstores, Tractor Supply stores, Other garden and farm supply stores, and through my website.

For more on building your own chicken coop take a look at these  posts –

Pallet Project – Build A Cheap Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop Expansion

How Much Space Does a Chicken Need Anyway

Coop Raising Day

Raising Chickens on a Budget




Quick Handmade Gifts for a Homemade Christmas

Handmade gifts for a homemade Christmas. Handmade gifts are a tradition. Remember last year when you promised yourself you would make homemade gifts all  year long? And here we are. Searching for all the quick handmade gifts to give to our family and friends.

Handmade gifts are a tradition. Remember last year when you promised yourself you would make homemade gifts all year long? And here we are. Searching for all the quick handmade gifts to give to our family and friends. Because, even though we love giving homemade gifts, life is busy and sometimes messy and we just don’t get them done during the rest of the year. At least not enough.

No matter if you are looking for gifts made from yarn, fabric, or food, or nature, take a look at this selection of handmade gifts from around the homesteading community. I think you will find at least a couple that will inspire you to stay home from the shopping center and create just the right gift.

Short on time? These handmade gift ideas are just for you. The majority take only a small investment of time, most under 4 hours.

handmade gifts

Handmade Gifts Made from Yarn

Yes this is my comfort zone. However, even if you only crochet or knit in straight rectangles, there are idea that you can whip up in just a few hours. The pom pom book marks are super cute! I stumbled on those by accident while looking for something else. What a cute idea for teens, teachers, Bible study classmates, and just about anyone who reads! Pom poms are not just for hats!

Quick and Easy Crochet Scarf Pattern

Crocheted Handwarmers

Pop pom book mark

Tunisian Crochet Braided Earwarmer from TLYarncrafts. This is not a free pattern. I added it because it’s what I am currently making for gifts this year. It’s versatile and trendy and I adapted it slightly to my own preference. I recommend this one!

Homemade Gifts of Food and Beverages

Many of us are looking to declutter and simplify. Adding more more more stuff to our houses is so yesterday. Food gifts, created and attractively packaged, are always in style, and appreciated!

S’Mores Gift Basket

Homemade Irish Creme Liquor

Homemade Limoncello

Preserved Smoked Garlic Bulbs for Cooking

Flavored Salts

DIY Bread Mix in a Jar

Autumn Spice Chai

Enjoy a warm fire started with these festive pine cone fire starters.

Handmade Jam
3 Delicious Jam Recipes

Apple Cranberry Jam or Apple Cranberry Jelly

Homemade Jams and Jellies

Handmade Monogram Mugs Add a pack of hot cocoa or coffee or tea and you have a lovely gift!

Kits for Do It Yourself Handmade Gifts

Kits for Health and Beauty are appreciated and help your giftee learn a new skill too. People are amazed at how easy it is to make handmade lip balm. Another idea is a kit for extracts. With the current price of vanilla beans,(and the not so yummy flavor of imitation extracts) give the ingredients! A “make your own” kit is the perfect handmade gift.

Natural Dye for Wool Yarn Kit

Do it Yourself Beard Care Kit

Unique and Natural Solid Perfume

Do it Yourself Lip Balm Kit – it’s amazing how easy it is to make lip balm from healthy ingredients!

Homemade Extracts can easily be given as a do it yourself style kit. Put all the ingredients in a pretty basket or bag and attach instructions.

Sew a Homemade Gift

Sewing is a great way to create handmade gifts for family and friends. And don’t miss the Bees Wax wraps that are also made from fabric.

How to Make Potholders from Old TShirts

Wool Mittens from Recycled Sweaters

Easy Rag Quilt

Quilt as You Go Table Runner

DIY Quilted Mug Rug

Bees Wax Wrap for Plastic Wrap Alternative

Soaps and Lotions

Everyone appreciates handmade body products. The mere fact that the gift is made from quality, natural ingredients is enough of a reason, and yet folks get so creative that the soaps can look good enough to eat! Even the plain Jane, goat milk soap is a treasure, and a healthy choice for your skin. I should warn you that making soap is addictive! Once I start, the options are unlimited and I end up making quite a few batches of soap at one time. If you are cutting it close on time, try the recipes in Jan Berry’s newest book, Easy Homemade Melt and Pour Soaps Cut down on the curing time required with cold process soaps.

Luxurious Body Butter

Hard Lotion Bars

Easy DIY Lip Scrub

Cold Process Soap Making

Handmade Soothing Balm

Oatmeal Honey Soap

Vanilla Bean Soap

DIY Sleepy Time Herbal Bath Tea Doesn’t that sound perfect?

The Gift of Learning

While not exactly a handmade gift, you will be gifting the knowledge to make something valuable or learn a valuable skill. With beekeeping and soap making being very popular, these classes and more are sure to be an appreciated gift.

Soapmaking with Axe and Root Homestead

Beginning Beekeeping

Shop Small

If you really are too tight on time, don’t despair! The world is full of many talented people hoping you will find your way to their independent shop, website or Etsy store this season. Here is a short list to get you started.

5R Farm in Oregon Handcrafted, small batch soap made with natural ingredients.

Jeanie Green Hens on Etsy has handmade, handknit, and other gifts from the farm.

Wild Oak Farms on Etsy offers a natural raw goat milk and calendula soap with no added fragrance. Don’t miss the handmade soap dishes and body scrubs too.

Handmade gifts are a tradition. Remember last year when you promised yourself you would make homemade gifts all  year long? And here we are. Searching for all the quick handmade gifts to give to our family and friends.

Hopefully you feel encouraged now to go forward and conquer your gift giving list. They say that giving homemade and handmade gifts is truly giving from your hear. I agree with this. It’s can also be giving your family and friends ideas and encouragement to live a more sustainable, healthy and earth friendly lifestyle. Still not sure? Check out the following for more handmade gift ideas.

Ten More Handmade Gifts can be Found Here.

Gift Basket Giving and Gifts in a Jar are other fun ways to prepare handmade gifts from the homestead.




How to Make a Christmas Stocking

Handmade Christmas Stocking Homestead Style 

how to make a Christmas Stocking

Last year I finally made our family the Christmas stocking I always wanted them to have. Each member of the family received a new Christmas stocking that was handmade and personally styled for them. The Christmas stockings all coordinated. The Christmas stocking pattern I used was easy to follow and each one worked up quickly. With our family growing, marrying and bringing on the next generation, I was happy to have a plan in place to make future family members a Christmas stocking, too.

My  inspiration for this project originally came from Angi over at Schneiderpeeps. Last year she posted this DIY tutorial about making a new Christmas stocking for each member of her family. This year I had the opportunity to test sew with some new fabrics from the Andover Fabrics Collection. The new designs are inspired by the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the popular television show based on the books.  

Inspiration for the Christmas Stocking 

I received a sampler pack of fat quarters and  instructions to let my creativity run free! The first project that came to mind was the homestead style Christmas stocking that I made last year. I thought it would be great to see how the Little House on the Prairie fabrics looked as the accents for the Christmas stocking.

Christmas stocking

My sampler pack of fat quarters from Andover Fabrics LHOTP collection

The directions follow and please feel free to use your own creativity and ideas to adapt my Christmas stocking plan to meet your style and needs. I didn’t have a paper pattern  of my own, but I did base mine on the link from Schneiderpeeps. You can find it here. If you have a favorite stocking already, you can trace the shape of the stocking onto sturdy paper to make your own pattern.

After you make your Christmas stocking, there is fabric left to make a small soft toy, pin cushion, quilted coaster, or small hot pad. I am sure you can come up with your own ideas, too. And remember to save the scraps, just like Ma Ingalls would have done. Future quilts can  have a patch in them using the same fabric that you used to style your Christmas stocking.

Materials 

Canvas fabric. I purchased mine at the home improvement store (canvas drop cloth ) because it was economical and there is plenty to make as many stockings as I need.

Thread – I used all purpose machine sewing thread

Sewing machine  or sturdy canvas sewing needle if sewing by hand

Sharp fabric scissors

1 fat quarter of print fabric  (one fat quarter is enough for two stocking cuffs.)

 

Step 1.

Cut out the Christmas stocking and the cuff pieces. The outside pocket is optional but can be used to hold a gift card or cash. 

christmas stocking

 

Christmas stocking

Step 2. Optional

Sew the fabric pocket onto the front of one of the stocking pieces.

Christmas stocking

 

Christmas stocking

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christmas stocking

 

Step 3. 

Sew around the outside of the stocking, right sides together, leaving the top open.

Christmas stocking

 

Christmas stocking

Almost there!

Step 4  

Turn the stocking right side out.

Christmas stocking

 

 

Step 5. Making the cuff

Fold as shown in the picture. Sew the cuff seam and flip the cuff right side out.

Tuck the cuff into the top of the stocking. Match the seam to a side seam and align the tops.

Stitch the top, using a quarter inch seam.

Christmas stocking

 

Christmas stocking

 

Christmas stocking

Christmas stocking

Step 6.

Pull the cuff up and over the top of the stocking.

Christmas stocking

 

Christmas stocking

Step 7.

Attach a piece of ribbon, rope, twine or what ever you want to hang your stocking from, to the back seam of the stocking.

Christmas Stocking

 

I hope you are inspired to make your own handmade stockings and gifts this season. As our family grows, I am finding it easier to fill a Christmas stocking with small gifts, tasty treats and gift cards than to shop for many larger gifts. This adds a handmade touch to our Christmas celebration. When I see small items throughout the year that a family member might enjoy, it is easy to purchase it or make it then and store it for later.

If you are wondering where to purchase the Little House on the Prairie Collection from Andover Fabrics, they have this convenient shopping locator here.

Interested in purchasing copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s endearing series of books about growing up in a homesteading/farming family?

Click Here.

See more of what is being done with the Andover Fabrics Little House on the Prairie Collection 

Do you want to see what Angi from Schneiderpeeps did with her fat quarter collection from Andover Fabrics?  Doll Quilt and Teaching Children to Sew  

Chris, from Joybilee Farm used the fat quarters to make a patchwork pillow cover with an embroidered front panel. It is beautiful!

 

Little House on the Prairie books

 

Christmas stocking pin image

 




5 Easy Gift Wrap Ideas

Easy Alternative Ways  to Wrap Your Gifts 

Easy Gift Wrap IdeasHere we are down to the wire on the Christmas preparations. I bet most of us still need easy gift wrap ideas. If you run out of wrapping paper are you really going to want to run out to the store at this point? Have you seen any easy alternative gift wrap ideas? What if the thought of all that wrapping paper, that can’t be composted or burned, piling up in your living room is too much to bear? When wrapping gifts I love to think outside the norm and I like the packaging to add value to the gift. Let me share some of my ideas with you. I am sure you will be able to add your own ideas after you get started with these easy alternative gift wrap ideas.

My List of Gift Wrap Ideas

Books 

Wrap books in something related to the subject of the book. For example, use a pretty new dish towel as the “wrapping paper”gift wrap for cookbooks . The cooking section of the newspaper would be a another great idea. Use twine for the ribbon and tie on a couple of napkin rings for added impact. If you have children who want to help, let them cut out food pictures from magazines to glue to the newspaper wrappings. For a sports theme book, use the sports section. A novel could be wrapped in the book review section. You get the idea? Here’s a list of a few more recycled paper ideas for gift wrap.

Sewing and craft themed gifts 

Use a fat quarter of quilting fabric to wrap up a crafty theme gift. To take it up a notch, tie on a seamstress tape measure, or a package of pretty buttons. Maybe you have some older craft magazines around and could sacrifice some pages to use as wrapping paper. Or skip the wrap altogether and use a storage container or cute tote bag to hold the gift. Crafters and makers always need more storage. 

gift wrap ideas

Garden Theme Books and Gifts   

Wrap up the gift in a piece of burlap. Tie on a handmade ornament made from natural items or herbal sprigs. If you use gardening twine to tie it all up, the whole gift can end up in the garden next spring.

Clothing   

Grab a fashion magazine from the recycle bin and add some fashionable clothing pictures to the plain wrapping paper. Decorate an unneeded shoe box to use as a gift box. The box can later be used to store other items.

General Gift Wrapping 

I love to give practical gifts from our homestead and wrap them in my favorite paper. Brown paper that comes on a big roll has many uses and I find myself turning to it all year long. The paper is completely safe for recycling. I buy this one and it lasts a long time. I use it to cover the table for coloring projects with my granddaughters, too.

Easy Gift Wrap Ideas

Wrapping gifts in plain brown paper allows me the freedom to write on the paper, decorate however I want, and customize the gift wrap to suit the gift recipient. I use different types of twill ribbon, satin ribbon, rick rack, vintage lace, twine, and raffia for the ribbon. Add on a tree ornament, or something useful, and a pretty tag.

 

5 easy gift wrap ideas

I hope these ideas help you wrap up the season in style! Here are some additional articles on the same topic.

Urban Overalls – Making Boxes from Recycled Gift Boxes

A Farm Girl in the Making  Using Recycled Paper for Gift Wrap

Joybilee Farm  Using Fat Quarters for Gift Wrap

SchneiderPeeps  Making a Fabric Gift Bag

My Healthy Green Family Furoshiki




Recycled Nest Boxes – DIY Makeover

recycled nest boxes Other items can be recycled nest boxes too. Dresser draws, vegetable bins, wooden crates, and even vintage suitcases. Instead of searching just for standard farm nesting boxes, think outside the box. Here are some criteria I use to make sure an item will make a safe, sturdy nest box for my hensRecycled nest boxes can come from the flea market! If you spy a good sturdy box or shelf. with some DIY makeover magic it can become a recycled nest box! I make no secret of the fact that I am a flea market addict. The love for picking through the stalls set up with other people’s treasures gets creative thoughts flowing. I am always on the lookout for things we can use around our farm and have found many used dog crates, rabbit hutches and other animal enclosures for just a few dollars each. These have come in handy when animals need to be quarantined or transported. That’s not the time to be looking for a crate!

I also am addicted to farmhouse kitchen tools and decor. I particularly love things from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. So, that is where my mind was when I spotted this little beauty. Ugly? Why yes, I agree. At this point I think it was rather hideous. A light purple paint covered this storage bin/shelf. I imagine it was used to hold a little girl’s toys or stuffed animals. It probably looked quite cute in her room, too. But now it sat here, in a field, at a tractor show and looked forlorn. So I took it home. I had an idea of what I could use it for.

recycled nest boxes

Old Book Shelf Transforms to New Recycled Nest Boxes

First, it needed a good cleaning. It was obvious that this shelf had been sitting in a dusty garage for some time. I let the shelf dry in the sun for a bit while I grabbed the paint.

 

I knew I wanted it to complement the rustic look of our Chicken coop. Soft colors and earth tones were in my mind. I am drawn to soft yellows and cream colors and as soon as I walked into the hardware store I saw these spray paints by Rust Oleum 280699 American Accents Ultra Cover 2X Spray Paint, Gloss Sun Yellow, 12-Ounce“>Rustoleum, the American Accents collection. I am glad that I chose this paint because it really did only need one coat of paint.

Recycled Nest Boxes

Recycled Nest Boxes

Recycled Nest Boxes

The Cream colored paint went on first. After it dried, it was time for the fun stuff. Have you heard of Frog Tape? It is painters tape but with a better grip for painting. It comes off clean and no paint seeping lines.

recycled nest boxes

How to Use Chevron Frog Tape

I chose the chevron shape of Frog Tape because I want my chickens to have a current decor style!

After the Chevron Frog Tape was put on the bookshelf, I sprayed the shelf top and sides with the yellow paint, leaving the inside of the chicken nest boxes openings the cream color.

After fifteen minutes, the paint was dry enough to remove the tape and see the chevrons! Perfect!

Recycled Nest Boxes

Recycled Nest Boxes

The bookshelf sat for a full 24 hours to allow the paint to completely dry and for the paint fumes to dissipate.

DSC_5914

Recycled Nest Boxes

For the final touch I added some scrap book letters to the top board, so the hens would know what this fine piece of furniture was to be used for.

Recycled Nest Boxes

A crowd begins to come in to see what is happening.

DSC_5937

Recycled Nest Boxes

I’ll let you know how they like the new nest boxes once I find an egg in there! It being molting season, eggs are scarce right now. Hope this gives the hens a little incentive to get back to the job.

** I placed a cinder block in front of the shelf to keep it from tipping over. I thought about screwing it into the wall but I wanted to be able to remove it easily for cleaning, so I chose to place the block in front to stabilize the shelf.**

Other Types of Recycled Nest Boxes

Other items can be recycled nest boxes too. Dresser draws, vegetable bins, wooden crates, and even vintage suitcases. Instead of searching just for standard farm nesting boxes, think outside the box. Here are some criteria I use to make sure an item will make a safe, sturdy nest box for my hens.

1.Is it heavy weight enough to not tip if the hen stands on the side.

2. Can it be cleaned easily

3. Are there any toxic paints or small parts that could be a hazard.

4. Does it smell musty and gross? I sure don’t need any additional bad smells added to the coop!

recycled nest boxes

Buying an old wooden crate can be a good deal and the crate can be given a quick coating of spray paint to repel mites from living in the old wood. Wire baskets may be a good choice if they can be secured to the wall or somehow prevented from tipping. 

recycled nest boxes

Wicker basket is wired to the back wall to ensure it doesn’t tip over

Use your imagination and think of safety. Then,your next trip to the flea market might find you bringing home a recycled nest box.

Pin this info for later!

Recycled nest boxes Other items can be recycled nest boxes too. Dresser draws, vegetable bins, wooden crates, and even vintage suitcases. Instead of searching just for standard farm nesting boxes, think outside the box. Here are some criteria I use to make sure an item will make a safe, sturdy nest box for my hens

Want to see even more photos of great recycled nest boxes?
Farmhouse 38

We’d love to see your hen house nesting boxes too. Please share with us in the comments.

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