Since I published my post a few months ago showing the exterior of my restored 1920’s chicken coop, I’ve received several comments requesting a look at the interior of my coop.

The interior is a bit less charming than the whitewashed exterior, but is functional, clean, and spacious. About half of the upgrades I have done to bring this old chicken coop back into functional use for modern chicken-keeping have involved upgrades to the interior.

 

This easy DIY chicken feeder costs about $10 to make and holds 40lbs of feed. - Hawk-Hill.com
A panorama of the interior of my chicken coop. Click to enlarge.

 

Learning from Old Coop Design:

It was only in the mid & late twentieth century that home chicken keeping fell out of popularity. Because it was so common, and building coops something most people were familiar with, previous generations had some great ideas about coop design that was functional, practical, and cost-saving. Most of these features are no longer common, which makes me think we have a lot to learn by studying these old coops via theory and via using them and learning through experience. I’ve outlined many of these elements on my post about the exterior tour of my 100 year old chicken coop, but here’s one more:

Double Entry Doors: As you can see in the photo above, my coop has two entry doors- one on each side of the building under the highest end of the roof. The panorama is taken while standing at one of the open doors. Double doors allow easier cleanout and maximize air flow in the summer: positioned across from each other, they allow the breeze to flow through the coop improving air quality for my hens.

Bank-Barn Style Construction: Traditionally, a bank barn is a barn that’s built into a hill, so a small portion of the barn is underground, and insulated accordingly. While my coop is not a traditional bank barn style- since no part is underground- it shares a similar feature of being built into the contours of a sloped yard. The level foundation ends 2ft off the ground by the end of the run, allowing rain to drain through the soil of the chicken run rapidly.

Elevated Floor: Gravity-Assisted Clean Up: I saved the best for last, guys. As you can see in the photo below, the contours of my sloped yard meant that a foundation flush with the ground on the west side created a 18-24″ rise from ground to coop-floor on the east side. Rather than see this as a problem, the creative original builder added a door and used this as a place to “dock” a wheelbarrow during cleanout.

Cleaning out my coop is so easy. All I need to do to clean out bedding is park a wheelbarrow under this west door and use a turf rake to push soiled bedding into the waiting wheelbarrow. The turf rake is like a push-broom with stiff plastic tines that clean the floor really well without getting stuck on bumps and ridges like a shovel would. No scooping. No lifting. For this, I could kiss the person who designed my old coop!

This chicken coop is build into a sloped yard, with a second entry door elevated- this allows for easy cleanup via a wheelbarrow parked with rim under the door
This chicken coop is build into a sloped yard, with a secondary door elevated- this allows for easy cleanup via a wheelbarrow parked rim under the door

 

 

interior of an old fashioned 1920's chicken coop
A poured cement floor makes the coop easy to clean and never muddy.
Lining Chicken Nesting Boxes with Astro-Turf for Easy Cleaning- Hawk-Hill.com
These nesting boxes were constructed from used shipping crates salvaged from the dump. Nesting boxes are lined with astroturf for easy cleaning.

 

interior of an old fashioned 1920's chicken coop
Scrap plywood provides insulation and strength to the exterior siding. My DIY 2-week chicken feeder is visible in the foreground.

Before & After: Adding Reach-Through Nesting-Boxes to my 100 Year Old Chicken Coop:

BEFORE: When I purchased the property, using scrap plywood to insulate walls was the first order of business, but I was itching for nesting boxes.

HHblog_9.15.coop_3560_lg

AFTER: My father picked up partitioned wood shipping crates at a salvage yard, so I was able to create these for nesting boxes for under $20. I removed the bottoms from the crates, turned them onto their side and stacked two crates, then mounted them on the wall and cut holes in the exterior wall behind them.

Cutting the exterior wall to add reach through nesting boxes to my chicken coop

Lining Chicken Nesting Boxes with Astro-Turf for Easy Cleaning- Hawk-Hill.com

The final step was to use my kreg-jig to make a pair of cute doors to secure privacy and predator protection for my hens.Cutting the exterior wall to add reach through nesting boxes to my chicken coop

chicken and chick roosting in a sloped-roof chicken coop

 

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