As promised, here’s the second part of the tour. Lucky for you, this time we get to go INSIDE the coop. I can already see you squirming in your seat with excitement! (if you missed the first part of the tour, click here first)
We left off at the ramp to the bus, so that’s where we’ll start back up.
And you thought chickens were flightless birds… By the way, that’s (again) one of our turkens. I don’t know why those three turnken birds are always in our pictures. They think they’re so special with their featherless necks. Ha!
We feed the hens kitchen scraps whenever we have them. It’s a treat for them, and we save on having to haul trash to the dump. Win-win situation, if you ask me. Oh, yeah, and it reduces our feeding costs as well. Win-win-win!!
We enter the chicken coop outside of the run. The coop bus has two sections. The first part, right inside the door, is partitioned off so we can store feed, egg cartons and miscellaneous brick-a-brack like heat lamps, extra feeders, buckets, you know, chicken farmy things. It’s so nice to have a space for all this stuff, especially since we don’t have a barn. I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to step into an enclosed space — out of the howling wind and sideways snow — to feed and water the hens.
There it is, looking into the inside of the front end of the bus. Superman (aka, Hubby), left a couple of the seat bottoms and then mounted a pallet on top to be used as a shelf. I’m not sure if the shelf deters mice from jumping up there, but at least the feed bags are not on the floor. Field mice are everywhere around these parts, and I’m too stingy to share the feed with them little rascals. We purchase layer pellets from Lakeland Feeds, a real nice local Montana company. I like that they don’t put a bunch of unpronounceable junk in their feed. We also get additional feed from a rancher friend of ours, even more local!
This picture shows the remainder of the bus, where the hens hang out at night and come in to lay their awesome eggs. Hubby built several perches for them on the left, and their nesting boxes are reused food-grade buckets turned on their side. The buckets were donated by The Bagel Company, Park Avenue Bakery and Great Harvest. THANK YOU!!! There’s nothing like putting trash to good use! 😉
Here are two sweet ladies doing what they do best. The bucket on the very right hand side of the picture shows one egg, and also a golf ball. We put golf balls in their nesting boxes to entice the hens to lay there (hens will lay where other eggs are – sometimes trying to shove their fat bums into a bucket with a hen already in it). Golf balls look like eggs to hens. Silly girls. We also use golf balls to (try to) deter them from eating their own eggs. It’s a sick and disgusting practice, if you ask me. Pecking at a golf ball supposedly hurts their beaks, making them question if pecking at eggs is a good idea. Anyhoo, egg eating usually happens in the wintertime, when they’re stuck in the coop because it’s so cold outside. Hens get cabin fever too, you know, and they act a little loopy.
I love this picture, not just because it has two of my super awesome munchkins in it, but because it shows the coop without its most latest amenity, running water…! Well, sorta. The wooden wall and door is the partition between the storage area and the rest of the coop. But since the picture was taken, my rockin’ father-in-law (who, by the way, is also really handy) built a stand for a large, 100-gallon water tank to sit on. Check it out, y’all!!
Having a water tank in the coop was one of the things that appeared on my “wish list” a bit ago. I love how we can cross things off our list! We also acquired an extra length of hose, so I was able to reach the bus coop to fill the water tank by using our well. It took about 20 minutes to fill up the tank, but now I have 100 gallons of fresh, clean water for the hens, inside the bus!!! Our days of walking out there with 5-gallon buckets of water is OVER!!!
I will neither confirm nor deny that I did a happy dance when the whole setup was finished. 🙂 I just put a bucket under the spigot, turn that baby on, and listen to the wonderful sound of running water.
Overall, repurposing a bus into a coop works very, very well. It’s pretty air tight in the wintertime; it can be really cold and windy outside, but the hens stay nice and warm. If it gets too hot in the summertime, we just crack a few windows open and let the breeze in. A flat edge shovel and a broom do wonders to easily clean up straw and chicken poop off the floor. And the whole thing is up off the ground so less access to foxy predators. Plus, the bus was free (my favorite color). Thank you so much to Helena Valley Faith Center for letting us have the broken-down bus that woudl cost too much to fix up.
I really hope you have enjoyed the tour. Please take a moment to subscribe to my blog (click on the three little bars at the very top right hand side of the page). That’ll make me dance a happy jig, too, and then you’ll get an email whenever I post anything new. I know you can’t wait 🙂
What do you think of our chicken coop bus?