DIY Pallet Wood Hen House Chicken Coop Part 2 - Dismantling and Foundations.

Be it ever so humble - There's no place like home!

It may be small and compact but a couple of these pallet wood hen houses will be all we'll need in the way of temporary living and sleeping accommodation, when we finally get that couple of hectares in the back of beyond (Brittany or Italy). Like most of what we have done here over the past twelve years, this too will be both a learning experience and an experiment in greener living. I noticed a recent post on a friend's facebook in which a councillor, who is blocking a small, sustainable homesteading development in the UK, ironically described her reasons as: "Nobody would subject themselves to that way of life. You might as well be in prison". Read the whole illuminating story here: 
All we can think of is how much more freedom, intellectual, spiritual and physical energy we have gained by changing our own lives. A small laboratory with no windows or perpetually putting Sue's life in risk out driving between eight schools on treacherously fast roads, really was  incarceration for both of us.

Leaving the dear old home

But whose home? The old hen house actually started life as the quail run. Later Sue raised quails under bantams, who got the chicks so good at foraging they outgrew living in runs and could thrive and do great work in the greenhouses.

It's also weathered some incredible storms and conditions and still kept everyone cosy.

So this last breakfast must be taken with mixed feelings by all concerned!


When taking anything apart, we're always aware that even after years of use there may be items of metal fixings, woodwork or waterproofing that can still serve in another capacity. So it can be quite a lengthy process.

These doors, which formed part of the roof, were themselves recuperated from a joinery firm, a good supplier of recycled materials. In the end we had too many and didn't need them for the main house renovation but now they have been released from service they will be put to good use elsewhere.

Actually, the doors are reused sooner than expected. Recuperating as many screws and wood as possible makes for a slow dismantling rather than a speedy demolition. The job is going to carry over to the next day, so the doors serve as a temporary roof to get the chickens back inside. They will not be spending the night here but it gives them an assembly point for us to ferry them across to the outbuildings.

Next morning, it's an early start and on with the job. Another beautiful Summer's day in the offing.

The Foundations

The foundations on the old house will be recycled for the new but fewer than half of the concrete blocks will be used due to the design., I'm ever trying to use less and less of non-ecological material. If I hadn't already had these blocks, I would have used a foundation of broken stone, retained by a pallet wood perimeter, as used in the dry toilet construction.

The soil under the blocks provides a layer of excellent compost, which we ferry down to the greenhouses. Via the recycled pallet wood wheelbarrow, of course!

As usual, I get a lot of help from the hens sorting through the soil before I load it into the wheelbarrow. They are fantastic at scooping up all the woodlice. This is Apricot, one of the new twelve Cochin chicks hatched in April. If you want to see them in action: Our Homestead/Smallholding

After pegging out the footprint of the Hen House, we can now start laying the foundation blocks, ensuring they remain level as the job progresses. Once this is done, the rest should be a piece of cake!

...and talking of cake, why not sit back now and enjoy the video and see what will be coming in the next post, which can be found here

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All the best, Andy

© Andy Colley 2014

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