Coop Expansion Ideas: Tessa’s Coop Tour

Tessa shares how she and her husband custom-tailored a pre-built backyard shed into a chicken coop. Tessa previously used a pre-built chicken coop from a local farm store, but her growing flock needed more space. The shed she converted is approximately 20 by 20 feet and can house about 60 chickens as designed.

Tessa added shelves with a low edge on the front to serve as manure trays. The roosting bars run the length of the shed along one side wall and are fastened about ten inches above the manure trays. Tessa uses First Saturday Lime and pine pellets in the manure trays for easy cleanup. She finds that using a cat litter scoop makes cleaning simple.

The nesting boxes are located beneath the manure trays. Tessa also built a special space below the nesting boxes, separated from the main coop area with hardware cloth doors. This space allows Tessa to isolate birds that may need special care, such as brooding hens with chicks, smaller birds, and some that may need medical care for injuries. This separate space inside the coop also helps introduce new, young birds to the flock.

Tessa’s coop design also has a separate room inside the coop for a feed and supply area. The chickens cannot get to this feed room because there is a wall with a door from the feed room into the main coop area. Having a separate area to store feed and supplies is quite convenient.

The run is a fenced yard that surrounds the coop and has no overhead netting. She also has a covered run attached to the coop inside the fenced yard. Since Tessa lives in Michigan, the winters are long and snowy. Having a covered run gives her flock a space that is mostly free from snow, so they can still get outside even in bad weather. The covered run is completely predator proof so Tessa can keep different ages of birds housed in her smaller “starter coop” while they mature to be integrated into the main flock when ready. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how Tessa has expanded her chicken-keeping experience and how she converted a garden shed to meet her flock’s needs.

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