I was going to sell my kids playhouse but then saw pictures of others who had used these as a hen house. Thus began the journey of owning city chickens!
I am a woman who only wants to know how to use a power drill, and hammer. So I needed to call on my dad (my husband wanted nothing to do with this project) to use the table saw, and to make sure the measurements would be squared. I supervised, and made sure that the doors were being built facing the correct sides. I had a general idea of how big I wanted it to be.
Using 2x4's and plyboard from Home Depot Dad made the top off the house base. Note: At some places they will cut your lumber for you free of charge. Sometimes there are scraps that are the size you need, and are sold much cheaper, don't forget to look in that bin also.
Then the 4x4 legs were put in place. We made them 2 feet tall, so that there was enough room to rake underneath. You need some clamps to make sure the legs stay tight, and straight as you screw.
The next part of putting on the hardware cloth was tricky. It needed to be straight and level. Note: I should have used taller hardware cloth from the start so that I could have burried the extra wire to make this part rodent proof. ( I'll have to go back and do that now...) Make sure you use the .5 inch hardware cloth, not poultry netting or such.
Here dad is putting a 2x4 across to give it extra support. I don't know what that tool that my husband is holding, but you may need it.
There is an opening that is not wired so the chicks can get underneath the house.
This is the base now that the playhouse will set on. It's a good option to raise your house so that you can lock your hens up at night, and they will be safe. It creates a bit of a dry area underneath. Plus, I won't have to bend to reach into the hen house now. You can see the open area facing the playhouse. This is the door they can exit to go in the outside grassy pen.
On, the playhouse I used hardware cloth that I screwed into the plastic using sheet metal screws. I put a door closure on it to keep the wind from opening the door. I used hard plastic ( it's expensive) on the windows to use in winter to block wind and snow.
I don't know if this was a good idea or not. I thought to keep the wood more dry I would lay down the sticky vinyl laminate floor squares. Then I sealed the seam with waterproof cauking. NOTE: I still am working out how to keep it from getting wet around the edges inside.
Here is the chicken run. I really like that we made it 6 foot tall. I walk into this run to lock up the chickens and put their ramp out each morning, I am glad that I am not bending or hitting my head. I made sure to make the sections small so that my 3 ft or 4 ft hardware cloth would fit it vertically.
Here is the chicken run put in place and painted. Make sure you buy big enough washers to keep the hardware cloth nice and snug. Note: I think I've left enough wire to make it rodent proof, you can leave 12 inches to be safe. What you can't really see well is where the chicken ladder would go into the hen house from here. ( It wasn't built yet)
Here is the side view. NOTe: I used particle board on the big human door. If you are a good carpenter I would invest in better wood that has a nicer fit. I can see this bending and warping over the years. It was cheap, and I know it won't last. I like the little ledge that we left below the window. I think I will pile up haybales there in winter to block some of the north winds. You can't see from the picture but we bought some plastic roofing that goes from the house to the end of the human door. I thought that this may keep some of the snow off of the ground in winter. So far this spring the little plastic house stayed warm with a heat light for the baby chicks.
You can see the green roofing material we used in this pic. My mom found this kids play pen in the trash. I put some netting around it and used it for the chicks when they were 2-8 weeks old.
When they outgrew the playpen above. I made this using an old hose and wrapping some 4 ft. tall utility wire around the hose. I used some plastic ties to keep the hose secure. I stole this idea from someone else I saw on the internet. I can easily let them out thought the door underneath the hen house, and they run right into this. I close it up and tie it shut. I can easily drag it, with them in it, around the yard. ( they like me to do that, alot) I'll probably cover it when they start testing their wings more. P.s. I do put food and water in here, I just took the picture before I did that.
As of May 11, 2012 we have Rosie Barred plymouth rock- 8 weeks, Diamond, Deleware, ( could be a rooster) 8 weeks and Ms Chicken, Deleware- 8 weeks. So far they are liking their accomodations!