Yes! This issue is of high importance for us. Chicken coops are not cheap and need not only to survive the harsh winter weather conditions in the Cape, but the coops still need to look attractive after a couple of years.
Here is what we do:
Base and Chicken Run
The hen-house rests on a Base off the ground. The Base and the Chicken Run is made with solid, thick pine battens that have been CCA pressure-treated (CCA: Chromated Copper Arsenate). This procedure offers long-term protection against attack by wood-destroying fungi. It requires no maintenance.
We don’t use galvanised chicken wire as it has a short life-span. Galvanised chicken wire will eventually rust and become brittle and pose a danger to chickens and children alike.
We use a robust plastic mesh instead. Granted, it is much more expensive, but it lasts for decades and will not change its appearance. It requires no maintenance.
We make the chicken house with solid pine panels, rust-resistant screws, galvanised bolts and stainless-steel hinges. We treat the timber with an expensive marine-grade wood sealer that soaks into the wood and does not create a film. The treatment process takes between three and six days to complete. The same method is applied to ocean-going wooden yachts.
However, it does require maintenance once or twice a year, which is a quick and painless procedure.
One needs a kitchen sponge (the green and yellow ones) soaked in mineral turpentine to scrub off the upwards facing surfaces like the roof and egg-box lid. All other surfaces are not that important.
Let it dry for around six hours and then give it a maintenance coat or two with Woodoc Marine 50 and you are done. It is quick and easy and will ensure that your hen-house looks pretty and will last for many years to come. Woodoc 50 is available in any builders or bigger hardware shop.
Please don’t use sand-paper and don’t use any kind of lacquer, shellac, polyurethane, varnish and wax.