If you’re a backyard poultry owner who has a polytunnel set up in your backyard, you might want to learn how to convert a polytunnel into a chicken coop. To get you started, read on.
Do Chicken Coops Need Sun or Shade?
It all depends on where you live because the usual climate in your geographical location dictates whether you should place your chicken coop in the sun, shade, or dappled shade. Experts say that it’s best to put a chicken coop in a location that’s facing south. Doing so will allow them to be in the shade during those hot summer days and get more sun during the coldest winter months.
Can Chickens Freeze to Death?
Yes, they can if they don’t receive the care that they need.
Can Chickens Tolerate the Cold?
To give you an idea, cold hardy breeds such as Silkies, Barnevelder, and other large soft-feathered varieties can handle -18˚C or 0˚F as long as they protected from the wind as the elements.
Although chickens would readily choose a warmer climate than a colder one, these hardy creatures can tolerate temperature drops that reach below the freezing point. However, their natural resilience shouldn’t keep you from ensuring that your chickens are kept comfortable despite the cold.
Why Should Anyone Put Chickens in a Polytunnel?
Apolytunnelchicken coop can effectively meet the needs of your plants and your chickens. If you live in UK areas with temperate climates, you know that it would be virtually impossible to grow your favourite vegetables in your backyard.
However, if you have a polytunnel set up in your backyard, you can use this to grow your cold-hardy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard, spinach, chard, and Brussels sprouts. It can also be a great place to plant cold-tolerant herbs that include parsley, sage, and cilantro.
While you’re growing your greens, you can also provide your chickens with the shelter they need so that they can keep their body temperatures up and increase their egg production during the winter season. However, it’s important to note that placing them in your polytunnel doesn’t mean they can run freely around the entire greenhouse. Unless you’re willing to put your leafy seedlings at risk, you need to keep your chickens away from your plants with the use of wire fences and netting.
How Can You Convert an Old Small Polytunnelinto a Chicken Coop?
Most gardening enthusiasts who live in the UK areas that experience colder climates tend to try their hand at polytunnel gardening. However, if you’re one of those greens fans in the UK who decided to shift your focus on backyard poultry, you can easily convert your old polytunnel into a chicken coop. Doing so will keep your chickens warm during colder months.
The first thing you need to do is to board up the sides of your polytunnel for at least two feet. To hold in deeper bedding, you can add a four-foot fence to keep the plastic protected. You can also choose to use an old bookshelf and add some boards to the front parts of the shelves to make it hold in nesting material.
To help absorb the manure, you can add about one foot of carbon material such as leaves or wood chips. However, you have to make sure that the amount of carbon you have is enough for approximately 100 days at two sq. feet per chicken. When it comes to feeding, you can dribble your poultry’s food into the carbon material to keep the manure well-circulated each time your chickens stir and scratch the carbon.
Can You Combine a Chicken Coop and a Greenhouse?
The answer is yes. This option offers many advantages because it encourages waste efficiency, thrifty homesteading, and consistent egg production throughout the winter season. Check out the benefits of combining a chicken coop and a polytunnel here:
It promotes waste efficiency
Integrating a chicken coop into an existing polytunnel can allow you to manage waste effectively. For example, you can feed your chickens with plant scraps while feeding your plants by the compost made from a mixture of manure and chicken bedding. In other words, no waste produced as you foster a symbiotic relationship between your flora and fauna.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the financial advantage of combining two buildings to shelter for poultry and plants. For one, you won’t need to use more materials to construct or even maintain your chicken greenhouse.
Since this type of arrangement allows your plants to get more heat and CO2 from your chickens, you can expect them to produce more. Likewise, your chickens also benefit from this arrangement because they get to feed on garden scraps all year-round in the United Kingdom. Plus, the polytunnel protects them from predator attacks.
Chickens who are kept warm inside a polytunnel won’t need to expend their energy to keep themselves warm. For this reason, they’ll have enough energy to maintain their egg production throughout the entire duration of the winter season.
Thoughts on How to Convert a Polytunnel into a Chicken Coop
Learning how to convert a polytunnel into a chicken coop is excellent. However, you don’t have to say goodbye to your gardening days in the UK while you try your hand at backyard poultry – because you can do both!