Converting an outdoor dog kennel...

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Tina D

9 Years
Sep 2, 2010
Dutchess County, NY
Hi everyone!

Today, hubby and I picked up a nice 6' X 9' dog kennel, which we found on craigslist. It is 6' tall, which is nice. I'll be able to walk in to clean up. Anyway, the reason we got it, is that I have noticed that the hawks seem to have discovered my 2 hens. I have seen more and more lately, and they make me and the ladies nervous.

So, I'm wondering what I can do with my kennel, to make it extra safe for chickens? The kennel will be used as a daytime playpen for the girls, not for sleeping at night. If I'm outside, they can do as they please. But if I'm not out there, unfortunately, they'll need to be in the playpen. The hawks are just way too interested. We already plan to close off the top with hardware cloth. We also plan to wrap hardware cloth around the bottom walls of the kennel, so that when the girls nap up against it, nobody will be able to grab at them (hopefully). I was thinking of maybe laying hardware cloth flat on the ground, around the perimeter, for diggers?

The thing is, I'd like it secure, but not as restricted as their coop/run combo. Since they sleep in the coop/run combo, it even has hardware cloth along the ground. But, because of this the girls can't dustbathe in there like they want to, since the cloth is in the way of their scratching. I want them to be able to dig in the dirt and enjoy themselves, so I don't want to cover the ground with anything. I'm mostly home during the day, so I check on the girls frequently.

So, any other ideas for my playpen?
Craigslist dog kennel = score!

I agree about the netting over the top to stop hawks. Another option is shadecloth. It costs a it more than netting, but it will help keep the girls cool as well as provide protection from avian predators.

If this kennel-run is just a day-use thing, you shouldn't have to worry too much about a predator digging under it. Is it mobile or stationary? If it's stationary, go ahead with the apron. You could also put concrete pavers around the perimeter. The cinder-block cap pavers are 16" x 8" x 2" thick and cost about $1.50 each.

Your girls will appreciate having open ground to tear up with their "talons". Mine have dug these huge (for a chicken) craters in their dirt run that they love to lie in. This was done, of course, after every living blade of grass was expertly removed by their ever-pecking beaks!
You may want to use 1/2" rabbit wire around the coop to keep mouse/rat out as well.
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I turned my kennel into a coop and built a hen house with pallets, and milk crates as nesting boxes, I put an apron around the bottom and wire over the top along with a trap, this winter i am going to put tin around the base of the kennel. Only problem that I've had so far is the wind picked it up the other night and sat it down in the trees behind the house. All he chickens were still there inside the perimeter of the fence

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