When we moved to bucolic Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 6 years ago, one of the first things we did was name our property the “Almosta Farm.” It was a bit of our humor showing through there since we had five dogs (three French bulldogs and two pugs) but no other animals—only a dream.
Early last spring, we decided as a family to dive into the world of chickens. Luckily, our elderly neighbors were looking to pare down on some things, one being a 10-by-12-foot old storage shed that hadn’t been of use to them for many years.
It was structurally sound, and we had to have it moved. But we thought we could make it our Almosta Farm hen house with a bit of hard work and modifications.
We did all the repair, rebuild, construction, retrofitting, painting, etc. ourselves on weekends or evenings as weather permitted. We installed a whole new roof with a corrugated one, added a new window for increased cross-ventilation, added better top venting and built new shutters and matching doors.
We also built a wooden ramp for better access, separated the interior into two sections so there were human and chicken sides, installed an automatic door and hand wrapped 2-by-4s with sisal rope for roosting bars.
I even purchased an old hutch top at Goodwill for $35 and, with some carpentry modifications, paint and contact paper was able to create an adorable nesting box for the ladies to gift us with their beautiful eggs. I then created all the ramps out of lumber scraps that were laying around my shed and built a storage area as well on the human side to help with food prep and storage of supplies.
Read more: Is there such a thing as the “perfect” chicken coop?
Home Is Where the Hens Are
On the other side, I used some flea market finds for seating so we can hang out with the ladies and chat in their crystal chandelier-lit home. The run is a bit temporary for now, just a metal one purchased online, but we have predator-proofed the entire setup.
We’ll build a wooden one next spring and add an additional run on the other side.
I placed an order with Meyer Hatchery for a batch of spring hatchings, so we have a May deadline in our minds. Our flock had started modestly with our four Golden Girls. However, chicken math being what it is, we now have multibrooder setups. As they say: If you can count how many chickens you have, then you just don’t have enough!
I think that may end up being our new family mantra here on our little “Almosta Farm” heaven.
—Brooke, Nick & Tristan Henningsen,
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of Chickens magazine as a “Cool Coop” feature. Have a cool coop you’d like to share? Email us a short write-up (~250 to 500 words) about your chicken coop along with a few images to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line One Cool Coop, and include your name and mailing address. Check out Chickens magazine for current prizes and contest rules.