BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance › Converting tiny store bought coop to much larger chicken run/coop
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Converting tiny store bought coop to much larger chicken run/coop

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 


Daughter bought a tiny coop - was told it would hold from three to four chickens.


They must have meant Chicks!!  Only three grown chickens could fit on roost, the fourth laid in the poop!!


We incorporated the small coop into a larger A-frame chicken run, with fantastic results!  The hens still have a safe place to run and hide if they feel the need, but are usually outside most of the day and night on the roosts in the larger coop.


It was easy to make, started with the A-frame of a swing set.  (found it rotten, so began again from scratch)


Now if we wish to add a few more chicks at any time, we can just close the small coop off from the larger one, add a couple of laying boxes and they are separated from the hens!!




Edited by pacorona - 3/30/16 at 2:03pm
post #2 of 15

That's a great idea. I am toying with the idea of making an A-frame as an addition to my coop as well. Could you describe a little more detailed how you actually did it and post a picture where you can see the whole A-frame?



post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 















Front of A-framed coop (Tarp temporary because of storm!

We remove it come spring - need the ventilation.)




Side of A-Frame coop - partially covered with siding to protect

small coop and present perch from weather.



From Rear of Coop.  Temp tarp looks awful, but did the trick 

for the storms!!  Hubby forbade them from living in kitchen until

storm passed!!  LOL

post #4 of 15

Looks awesome! Thank you!


So you basically stapled hardware cloth to a wooden frame? What about the bottom part?

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

The bottom is the most important part - I should have addressed that!


If you have a good sandy clay or solid flooring (cement, wood, etc) as I did, I decided not to place any wire screening as a floor.  The chickens love scratching inside of their pen which would be impossible with wire.  Besides, I think wire could hurt their feet.


That being said, we learned the hard way about the safety of the flooring - our first four chicks were taken by Racoons who just dug under the 6" x 6" posts we set the tiny coop on in the beginning.  We then sat that little coop on cement.  But it was a very small coop and fit under our Truck carport with the truck - no problem!  Then as they grew and we knew we wanted a larger coop, we decided to move it behind our garage - out of sight and far away from smell when we entertained outside.


What a pleasant surprise to learn (from others online) that sand was one of the best floorings - the chickens LOVE their cage bottom, the rain washes the poop thru' the sand and it requires just adding a bag of sand from time to time and a bit of raking now and again.


Now - how to keep the critters out!!  Again, online, I learned to bring the screen (we used 1/4" hardware cloth as chicken wire contains the birds, but other creatures can break thru' it) all the way to the ground and extended it out one foot all the way around!!  We then put more sand and some stepping stones on that apron of wire.  The little critters don't understand that they must start a foot out to dig in, therefore they are digging onto the wire!  Brilliant!!  We've had them there for about 6 months now, and since we live on the West Pearl River, have our share of creatures!!  There have been no breeches in the security of the coop.


Now my Ladies do free range during the daytime (hawks are a concern, but I cannot cover the whole backyard!) but at night will run to their coop if we haven't put them away first.  They are happy, contented, friendly hens, all of them loving to be petted and held!!  (well, three of them enjoy it, one puts up with it!).  We get four eggs a day -EVERY DAY - a blue one, two brown ones and a white one.  


If your coop is set up properly, you will find it a cinch keeping it clean.  Once a week or every 10 days, I fill one of two 7 pound feeders, one with layer pellets and another with larger pellets.  I fill a small feeder with oyster shells and have THREE galvenized watering buckets (the BEST method after numerous trials with other waterers) and one out in the yard as well.

I go in and rake up any poop that I can and throw it in the composter (also newly added to use that poop), and I am out of there in about 20 minutes!!


So, for 20 minutes once a week or longer, my Ladies give us four beautiful eggs a day.  I really thought it would be more difficult, but it has been a breeze!!


The A-frame has a wonderfully large footprint for the Ladies, but doesn't seem so big and looming as a square coop.  I know it takes the same space on the ground, but it just looks smaller and less intrusive.


I hope I have answered your questions.   Most of the lumber we used was weather treated and 8' long, so the coop is basically square at the bottom.


Good Luck!!

post #6 of 15

Thank you so much for your detailed post!!! I bought a "Hen Haven" which apparently isn't big enough for my three girls when they are fully grown. They are 6.5 weeks now. 


I am just renting my place so I am trying to be the least destructive on the backyard. My landlord was so nice to allow me to have chickens so I don't want him to regret his decision. 


I have read that you can put down heavy garden tiles around the coop and that will hopefully keep out the diggers as well. I have only put down a couple so far because I am still deciding the the "perfect spot".


Thanks again fro all your input!


post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Let me assure you that the raccoon will easily dislodge any garden tiles and proceed to dig under into your coop.  If you cannot bring the mesh down a foot past the ground, I would definitely put a screen or mesh flooring attached to the bottom of the cage/run.  We had a HUGE 6" x6" wood base to our first small coop - it took them less than 2 weeks to figure that they could dig under it and it was VERY heavy!  Just remember that raccoon are very good diggers and chicken one of their favorite foods!!  If you cannot do a metal screen extension, I would definitely do a flooring nailed to the base!!  

Let me know how your make out with your coop!!
post #8 of 15
The pavers would likely be a better deterrent if the coop was sitting right on them. Just sitting next to it like that they can be moved, a wire apron is another alternative
post #9 of 15

I converted a store bough coop to a larger one. I actually bought 2 coops and attached them together and put them in a shed. This give me approximately a 4x14 foot space for the coop. Since it is covered by a shed I think the coops will hold up better. I then bought a solar powered and activated door and put a "hallway" out to this. This is attached to a larger 8x16 run. For me and for how cheap I got the premade coops for it was a better deal for me to do it this way. I didn't want chickens to run out of the shed when I opened the door so I'm using the premade coops to keep them enclosed in the shed. 

post #10 of 15

I am still trying to decide whether I should get a run, basically a wooden frame with hardware cloth, make it big enough and just put it over my coop. Then adjust the run part that is attached to the coop that I have now (see picture), take of the top and front. That way I would use the coop that I already bought and still give the girls enough run space. Or if I should just give up on this coop and buy a new one that has a big enough run. 


I found someone on craigslist that makes custom coops/runs that look decent:


I would want one similar to the one pictures but bigger. 6 feet high so I can walk in and then custom sized to the spot where I will put it. I am still trying got decide on that either. 


I have two possible areas: One next to the house:


So it would be a narrower but longer run. The area is about 10x4.5 feet.


The downside of this area is that it is kind of tucked away next to the house on the opposite side of where my bedroom is. I don't think i would hear an attack during the night but my two dogs would likely hear it and start to bark. There is a house next to the fence but their house is further back than mine which means their backyard starts further back and this is just bordering the front yard which no one ever uses. This area is half shaded due to the fence and half in the sun as you can see in the picture. Not sure if there would be enough air flowing through since it is surrounded by a wall and fence so it might get pretty stuffy and hot in the summer.


Option two is under a tree in the opposite side of my backyard:



The area is about 7x6 feet. The downside with this area is that it is fairly close to my neighbors. They BBQ in the summer in their backyard and I would hate if they are bothered by smell of flies. It also borders directly to the backside of my yard, there is not another house there, more like a downside slope that leads to a road, a mini canyon you could call it. So possible raccoons and what not will most likely enter from that side.


The pro is that I have a direct view on this area out of my bedroom window so I feel that if there is an attack at night I would most likely hear it. Also, this area is shaded and therefore shouldn't get too hot in the summer. 


I have already bought motion sensored lights that are supposed to be super bright so it will be lit up like a stadium if anything tries to sneak close at night. I am also thinking about buying some of those night guard lights that suppose to scare of predators:


Whew, so many decisions to make but I fell I am making progress :) Yesterday I cleaned up the area under the tree to make sure there aren't any roots sticking up. It was a little jungle back there before.


So any input is appreciated and more than welcome :)

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance › Converting tiny store bought coop to much larger chicken run/coop