# converting animal cage to coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by maryellenks, Apr 8, 2011.

1. ### maryellenksOut Of The Brooder

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okay, so this is what I have to work with:

It's approximately 4 feet on each side and six feet tall, hardware cloth on all six sides, heavily reinforced with steel supports, wooden doors.

I have a couple of ideas/questions about converting this to a coop. It would only be used at night, the cage is inside a yard the is closed by a chain link fence at either end, my house at one side, and a six to eight foot retaining wall on the other; the chickens would have free range of this during the day. It's big, so outdoor space is not a problem.

I am confused by chicken math. I am getting bantams. The cage, as is, with four feet per side, that equals 16 square feet of horizontal space. Various chicken math calculations seem to indicate that I could have as many as eight chickens in it, but it just seems way too small for that, especially as I am getting (probably) silkies, or some other bantams that don't do much, if any, flying. so all that vertical space would be wasted, wouldn't it?

The other option I have, is flipping it onto its side, so that it would be six feet long by four feet wide and four feet tall. That would gave much more horizontal space but less vertical space. But it would give me more floor space for nesting boxes, if I wanted to put them on the floor (I am going to use covered cat litter boxes, since I have a lot of them around anyway.) But is that tall enough?

With both these options I would need a ramp, I am thinking that if I put it on its side I will elevate it so I don't have to literally crawl to get inside it. (I can get in it, btw, I get in and out of it regularly through that door.)

The weather here rarely gets cold, but I can build shutters that would go on it temporarily in case of bad weather, and/or I can put shade cloth on part of it if needed.

So, what should I do with it? Or would it be easier/cheaper to scrap the whole plan and build a coop from scratch? (note: this cage cannot be easily disassembled, it's heavily bolted to the supports.)

2. ### patandchickensFlock Mistress

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Apr 20, 2007
Quote:That's a cool structure there, if you wanted to do several breeding pens you could have a really *nice* two- or three-stacked-cage setup! If you think there is ANY chance you might want to breed in the future, you might give some thought to not altering it any way that could not be changed back.

I guess if it were me I would put it on its side so's to have the 50% more floorspace... but there is no essential reason you COULDN'T leave it the way it is if you want. Perhaps block one level off for storage?

I agree with you that 2 sq ft per chicken seems insufficient; but, it's all a personal choice, everyone has their own priorities and ideas. Do what seems right to you!

Good luck, have fun,

Pat

3. ### maryellenksOut Of The Brooder

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Mar 15, 2011
But would the four feet be enough 'head space' for something like a silkie bantam?

Another thought I just had is, I could keep it upright, put a shelf directly across from the door, to put the nest boxes on (for easy access for me) - cut a little chicken door in the bottom below the regular door, and do a ramp from the ground to the nest boxes, giving more 'open' floor space. and then the roosts could be in the corners on the other side? would the chickens walk up that much of a ramp to get to the next boxes? I am not clear on if they should be elevated or if it's okay to have them on the ground.

The cage is totally predator-proof, so having them on the ground would not be a problem in terms of that. (The cage was designed to keep predators in, so it should also be pretty good at keep them out.)

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