Converting an old wooden playhouse into a chicken coop on the cheap

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chickenmama5677, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

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    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    So my first experience with chickens wasn't the best... I was given 6 baby chicks that I was told were leghorn hens, turned out to be cornish cross roosters... all 6 of them. All but one of them has died. I'm not sure if they died of natural causes or if the one standing killed the others... I'm guessing it was the latter.

    Last week someone dumped 5 hens in an old playhouse in our backyard... I'm not sure on their breed but it looks like 2 rhode island reds, 1 barred rock, 1 leghorn, and some white and black speckled hen whose dark feathers look green in the sun... I instantly fell in love with them when I found them. Only 3 of these hens are laying, not sure if the others are too young, too old, or too stressed... I've had them about a week.

    We don't use the playhouse so I thought it would make a cute chicken coop, but I'm not quite sure how to convert it. I want to add external laying boxes to increase the floor space (it's a 5x10 building with a low, steeply pitched roof) but I'm not sure how to do that (my woodworking skills are non exsistant) and I plan to atach the 10x10 dog pen, that my cornish cross rooster is currently living in, to the house. Also, I'm not quite sure what to do with my rooster. I'm afraid to put him and the girls together because he is 3x bigger than they are. I fear he would hurt them. I'll take any suggestions and advice I can get, thanks :)
     
  2. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

    19
    0
    14
    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

    19
    0
    14
    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

    19
    0
    14
    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

    19
    0
    14
    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    It's all very haphazard and just thrown together... definitely not Pinterest ready, lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  6. Daox13

    Daox13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2014
    Richmond va
    My Coop
    the very first thing I recommend is a solid door and gap coverage to ensure their safety at night as chickens are next to useless when it comes to protecting themselves at night. I would cut some upper ventilation at the top, there are many ways to do this, cut a strip of the siding off about 4" down on the side and cover with 1/2" hardware cloth do this to two or even three sides.. I would definitely add more roost inside and I would building them out from the wall a little more so that they can all use it, I see your back window is covered but with chicken wire. Chicken wire was originally designed to keep chickens out of gardens and not to hold up to predators ( I know its misleading as I had no clue at first too)... I would replace that with 1/2" hardware cloth.

    You can build external nesting boxes if you want, but a quick fix is just putting internal ones in there for now, just make sure your roosts are higher up than your boxes because that prevents roosting in them which can cause a huge mess. you can then revisit the external boxes later when you have more time.

    What is the floor made out of? you may want to line it with something to prevent rotting as you would be surprised how quick that can happen with cheaper wood like most playsets are made from.

    If you really wanted to you could make a hole on the side and add a sliding coop door and a ramp that leads out to the run you have next to the coop. With the amount of chickens you will have that run will be almost too small too, I would think about expanding it to at least double that size, but I would focus on coop security first.

    Its a good start though! sorry to hear you had some bad luck with your chicks. do you still have the chick? if so what age is it? if you still have it make sure you wait until they are equal size before introducing as the other hens may pick on it until it just doesn't survive.

    one last thing... those tubs out front, are those feed tubs? if so you should look into a metal can with a locking lid. those plastic tubs get brittle very quickly in full light and even without that a rat or mouse or hungry anything will have no problem breaking into that. That is the last thing you want and then once you fix that issue they will start looking for others because they now think of this place as a grocery store... its best to set the tone from the beginning and not to give them an easy target at all.

    Good luck [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  7. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

    19
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    14
    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    I got the cornish cross chicks 24 weeks ago... they were about 4 weeks old when I got them... the last remaining roo is fully grown... he is huge! 3x bigger than all the hens that someone dumped in my playhouse last week.

    The chicken wire on the back window is just temporary, it has shutters attached to the outside that I close and latch at night. There is a solid door on the house, it opens to the inside so it can't really be seen in that picture. I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to build a full screen door to use during the day instead of the old babygate that we found in the playhouse and use the solid door at night (like we've been doing). But I'm not sure they will be getting enough ventilation.

    I like the idea of a sliding door with ramp leading into the pen (I found a few tutorial videos online). For ventilation, I was thinking of cutting 3 horizontal strips above the door and then across from it, above the window and covering it with 1/2" hardware cloth. But at the moment we are using recycled materials that we have found around the house and don't have any hardware cloth on hand... but I'm going to pick some up as soon as I can.

    The floor is made of plywood, I'm not sure how thick it is, but this is an older handmade playhouse, very sturdy. I don't know anything about woodworking or building things so I'm not sure how to explain this, so I hope you understand what I'm talking about... when they built the playhouse it looks like they built the frame of it and covered the outside of the frame with some kind of wood sheeting (not plywood and not particle board or MDF... I don't know what this stuff it called) then on the inside they nailed the same wood sheeting up... I don't know if there is insulation inside the walls though, but I doubt it. I want to atach the run to the house, but I can't imagine how to do it... also, I can't break the bank on this so if there is a way to do it as low cost or free as possible, I'm all about it.

    Yes, those are food tubs out front, I didn't realize the mice and rats could chew through the plastic (little monsters)... those tubs are just what we had on hand... I'll have to see what I can find at the feed store as soon as we can go.

    Thank you so much for your suggestions, they are much appreciated... I need all I can get. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  8. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

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    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    [​IMG]

    The inside view from the back of the house.
     
  9. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

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    14
    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    [​IMG]

    Outside back of the house
     
  10. Chickenmama5677

    Chickenmama5677 Just Hatched

    19
    0
    14
    Jun 21, 2016
    Northwestern Louisiana
    [​IMG]

    My cornish cross roo, Mr. Roo. That is a large Petmate doghouse right behind him, he is huge! Would it be safe to let him and the girls be together or would he crush them?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016

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