Upcycling a chest of drawers for my parents’ hens

I haven’t made a hen house before, although I understand the need for a decent structure for it to have. I’d say I went into this with a well-oiled plan, having used the design software I mentioned previously, but nope. I had a good idea of what I wanted it to look like based on what I was starting with and well let’s be honest, most basic hen houses look the same.

After some 30 years of calling the South East ‘home’, my parents have decided to move further North. Unfortunately, due to how the move has panned out and the interest shown by the buyers, my parents’ four resident hens; Patch, Blue, Dorothy and Betty (left to right) shall be continuing their occupancy of the South East. However, the fancy Eglu isn’t staying, hence the post. It so happened that there was a disused mahogany chest of drawers which my Mother charged me with turning into a hen house whilst I’m home. Challenge accepted!

First things first, the drawers came out and I removed the fronts off them. This nicely freed up some extra wood to save me (proxy of the folks) some money. furthermore, the outer frame was mahogany so was sturdy enough without cladding. The cross beam at the front wasn’t as sturdy as I’d have liked so a bit of re-enforcement was needed. Not only did this support the cross beam, but nicely separated the internal compartment to create a nesting area and a laying area. As such, I shifted this to the left to create a larger nesting space and room for the door. Approximately 1/3 for laying and 2/3 for nesting.

I wanted the internal portion of hen house to span the natural dimensions of the chest of drawers so I boarded up the front of the top portion using the wood from the drawers. It wasn’t until I did this that I realised that the cross beam needed even more support so that was my first trip to HomeBase.

Next it was a matter of adding doors for the laying and the nesting areas, each with bolts to keep out the foxes, plus a hole for the sliding entrance door.

Dad made a good point about lining the feet of the hen house to at least do some to protect against rot, so that was next whilst the roof wasn’t on.

Now for the hard bit, well at least as much as cutting word along the grain anyway! The needed a slant to it to direct water away and to avoid pooling which would otherwise lead to a leak, cold chickens and rot of the hen house. My second trip to HomeBase consisted of buying some one-by-four which to produce an angled roof. The angle spanned the depth of the hen house, finished off with some chiselling for a flush seal with the roof. Some liner for the edges too.

And then the roof. This was a compromise between allowing for a good enough overhang on each side to make sure water didn’t simply run down the sides of the hen house and what was left from the drawers earlier on. It was patch work. But with a nice sheet of tarpaulin, you’d be none the wiser.

A bit of tidying up and a ramp for the chickens to use to enter the hen house was next.

A touch of paint and voila!

Let me know what you are refurbishing and renovating! I’m always open to new ideas for future home projects and to help with any questions or queries.

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