My research for a simply constructed hen house lead me to straw bale houses. They seemed simple to build, required little carpentry skills and they were cheap. Most all other options involved about $500 of lumber and materials to build AND I worried about the time it would take for me to do it by myself. I needed these chickens OUT of my house.
I can now share that the material for a hay house is cheap.
But they aren’t easy to build.
We had the hardest time figuring out how to stabilize the walls. Rebar, stakes and poly twine – all of the materials suggested by the books I was reading on how great these straw bale houses are – just weren’t working. We finally got the roof and walls up after two days of work by four people. I thought perhaps the structure just might last one year. Two of those people were paid, by me, making the labor costs close to $500. Perfect. We now have the most expensive free-range, organic eggs a person could buy.
What the folks who recommend the straw bale houses fail to let you know is the hens peck at the straw to the point of making huge holes in the walls and the bales fall over once they get wet no matter how you stabilize them. Unless of course you start to nail up boards to keep the bales up, in which case, why not just sheath the thing in wood to begin with!
This picture was taken right after we finished construction.
© 2008 Baggywrinkle Publishing