It’s common to purchase your first chicken coop from the internet. It arrives in a box and you must assemble it. Here’s some tips to help extend the life of an inexpensive chicken coop.
Extend the life of an inexpensive Chicken Coop
Chicken coops purchased online aren’t always built from the most durable materials. They are built to fit into the smallest shipping box possible and are also made from lightweight materials, to save money on shipping costs. This doesn’t mean that they can’t work for your chicken flock. Some simple modifications and upgrades can make them last for many seasons.
My inexpensive chicken coop experience
Just like many of you, I bought my first chicken coop online. I bought the “Innovation Pet Chicken Homestead Coop, 222-87” from Tractor Supply Company’s website. You may have purchased your chicken coop from Amazon, or another online retailer, but these tips should help, regardless of where you got yours.
The Innovation Pet Chicken Homestead Coop (222-87) was pretty popular in early to mid 2020. Its a simple starter coop, and is great for a couple chickens, if you allow them out to free range. The “yard” area under the coop is pretty small, so I connected mine to a larger, fenced in 16×16 foot chicken run. This worked great for my 5 chicken flock.
Essential Chicken Coop modifications
It’s never to late to do these modifications, so you can get more lifetime out of your coop!
The very first thing I did was to assemble the coop, then with help lifted the coop into a frame of built of 2×4 lumber. I drilled holes through the bottom of the coops frame and used those holes to secure the coop to the 2×4’s with exterior wood screws.
The 2×4 frame added some stability and also allowed me to move the coop, if needed. This modification was one of the most important and has served the coop well for 2 years now, even after moving the coop across our property.
I also added handles, on both ends, to make the coop easier to move.
Replace the roof
The Innovation Pet Chicken Homestead Coop came with a roof made of 4 individual panels of MDF (recycled pieces of wood pressed together), covered with strips of asphalt roofing. The seams between these 4 sections are covered with cheap wood trim. It looks nice enough, at first, but it is not waterproof for very long.
A single piece of 4×8 plywood is perfect to replace the MDF. I had Home Depot cut the 4×8 sheet in half, so I had 2 2×8 sheets of plywood for my roof, which was perfect for the Innovation Pet Chicken Homestead Coop, 222-87.
You’ll also need:
- a couple bundles of shingles (probably cheaper to buy at a local store)
- a roll of roofing paper (probably cheaper to buy at a local store)
- staple gun to secure the roofing paper to the plywood
- Roofing nails (I used a pneumatic staple gun – Arrow PT50, so I could also staple down the shingles with 1/2″ staples)
If you’ve never shingled a roof, make sure to watch some YouTube videos to ensure you know how to do it, to avoid leaks.
Waterproof the cheap wood
The “paint” and stain on these inexpensive coops is not top quality. I highly recommend painting or staining the wood as soon as you can.
I had some leftover deck stain, so that’s what I used to treat mine. It may not be beautiful, but it’s handing the weather.
Caulk joints and other places water may sit
After the wood stain dried, I used a caulk gun and silicone caulk to seal anyplace water may sit, places where wood joins and where the walls meet the “trim”.
These simple modifications should extend the life of an inexpensive chicken coop. Feel free to comment with tips or tricks that really helped your coop stand the test of time!