Converting old Playhouse to coop! Will this work? Please HELP! *Pics*

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KaylaBird, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. KaylaBird

    KaylaBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    So my famility and I are building our first coop. To save money we are thinking of converting an old wood play house we have into a hen house. Pictures Below:
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    The coop will be for 4 or 5 little Hens that we plan to raise from chicks.
    We intend on cleaning it out and painting it and have a simple plan to construct a nesting box with 2 cubby's that will attach to the left hand window on the outside with a hinge top for easy egg retrieval. In the interior we'll put up some roosting poles and I was thinking of getting an astroturf mat to line the bottom so it can be easily removed and rinsed/cleaned. Beyond that I'm wondering if the rest of the windows should be boarded up or if I can just attach chicken wire and leave them open for ventilation and add a roll of canvas to snap down when its windy and cold? I live in southern California so it gets extremely hot in the summer and the winters are very mild with temperatures usually only dropping to the 40's at the coldest and maybe occasionally down to 38 or so. (today its 68!) Also, for the door way can I leave it open like that? or should I board it up and leave a little chicken sized door? We plan on constructing a run around the outside to keep out predators of which would only really be feral cats and perhaps possums (we live in a suburban neighborhood). How high should the fence be?
    Is this conversion even a good idea or should we just build one fresh?
    All advise is welcome Thanks! [​IMG]

    ***Also, just remembered that the little house is under a big California Pepper tree that drops alot of little pepper berries and leaves, that the hens will probably eat, will they be ok?***
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Sorry...your pictures aren't coming up for me. Most of the time though, conversions are much cheaper than starting from scratch. And many a coop has been made from sheds and playhouses, so I'd think that would be your easiest route. Please don't go with chicken wire (over your windows or run), as predators can easily tear through that stuff. I doubt a possum or cat would/could, but raccoons are in more places than you'd think (just because you haven't seen one doesn't mean they aren't there) and stray dogs can wreak havok on a coop. Once again, I can't see your pictures, but I would still want a people door (the opening you mention), but maybe build your own that has a lot of wire (for your hot summers...like a screen door, but with hardware cloth), and add a pop door for the chickens. Having that people door also allows for easy cleanout of your coop. You can always cover the door with clear vinyl come your "winter."
    As for your run, some breeds have no problem getting over a 6' fence. With heavier breeds, you could probably get by with 4 ft. fence. Of course your best bet is a covered run. Then you have no worries about fence hopping (your birds or potential predators). Good luck with your coop! I wish your pics were showing up for me [​IMG]
     
  3. avoight606

    avoight606 New Egg

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    Nov 19, 2010
    Saint Michael MN
    Yes that will be such a cute coop!!!! I wouldnt build fresh with this laying around, what a PERFECT coop, just put a floor on if it doesnt have one, raise it up if you want (or keep it on the ground) put a door with a latch on it, put hardware cloth over the windows a few nesting boxes and roosting bars and your good! A little chicken door going out to the run would be nice too... just make sure it closes and latches to keep those coons out! [​IMG] Post pics when your done!
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    Don't even think of wasting that building! It will make a perfect coop.

    You need to do some reading in the coop section, though. Chicken wire keeps chickens in, no one else. If you want them safe gfrom predators you will need something much sturdier.

    You might be able to leave the floor alone and put pine shavings on it.

    In the summer you will need a lot more ventilation than that building has at present, and more than you think in the winter. Chickens where you live will never be cold, I promise you. Their roost should be in a place that is out of a draft in cold weather, though in the heat they will enjoy the draft, I mean breeze.

    Don't board up any windows, cover them with well secured hardware cloth (as with screws and washers.) I would bet a lot that you have raccoons around and that they will find your chickens. Loose dogs are always a threat, too.

    Canvas would be fine for covering the windows in the rain, but you might consider making a simple wooden cover, either removable or hinged on top. A hinge arrangement would be great because you could leave the window open on one side or the other, even during the rain, and once again, you will need a way for humidity to escape.

    I would have both a people and chicken door. You want ease of access. Personally, I wouldn't bother building nest boxes accessible from the outside. They too often are a source of leaks and an entrance for coons. You need to go in and check on things anyway, and most likely you will be checking for eggs laid on the floor, esp. when they are young. You can build nest boxes or use most anything lying around that is in the general shape of a nest box. Cardboard boxes, discarded dresser drawers or kitty litter boxes, plastic bins (mine love the one with sort of a dip in the front) and 5 gallon buckets are just a few of the things people use. I've never paid for a nest box (unless I bought it for something else) and I've had chickens off and on for years. If you want to build something, look around on here for homemade feeders and even waterers. At least build a couple of small feeders that are maybe fastened to the coop wall to hold grit and oyster shell. In your climate I'd build a simple door frame, maybe out of 1x2's, then cover it with hardware cloth; that's what my people door looks like, and it is colder here than where you are, but we have hot summers. You'll need a horizontal cross piece in the middle. And remember that coons are good at opening door latches.
     
  5. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    This is what I did with a little plastic playhouse; works great for my needs:
    Before:
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    After:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Welcome to BYC. I have doors with locks on all of them and i live in southern cali. I would also use hardware cloth instead its stronger and safer. I think it will make a perfect coop.
     
  7. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Conroe, Texas
    Playhouses turned coops are always so adorable. They have a fun whimsy about them.

    Yes put hard cloth as a screen for the windows.
    Also, another good tip is the predator skirt, this is wire (we use the vinyl coated) that lays around your coop in run about a ft to 2 ft out (we did 2 ft) that is buried under some sand/dirt. This frustrates the type of digging predators from digging under and into your coop n run.

    Our main coop is also a work in progress. But as we did; you can find alot of really good advice and ideas on the coop forums. Welcome and have fun with your chicken adventure. [​IMG]
     
  8. chickee

    chickee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pepper tree berries are potentially poisonous to poultry. [​IMG] I would find a different location for the coop and run. The playhouse looks like it would be great as a house for your chickens! [​IMG] We used a tree house/playhouse for our chickens and they love it!! The upstairs room is for the adult chickens and the room directly underneath is for the growing chicks. Only problem is that my flock keeps growing so we just closed in the deck of the playhouse and turned it into another room to house my extra roosters! [​IMG] Here is a picture of it before we closed in the deck. Note the chicken wire with all the hotwire on the chicken yard to keep out the Bobcats! I have never given the raccoons a chance at getting my chickens. They are always locked up tight at night! [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. KaylaBird

    KaylaBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    So If I get hardware cloth for the windows and secure the coop from predators with latches, what should I do about the run? I bought a ton of chicken wire and some T-Poles but now it sounds like it wont be safe. I dont really have alot of money to spend, will this be ok if I locked the chickens in the coop every night? are there any other low cost options?
    I know theres always a possibility but I have never seen a raccoon around here, just possums and cats and i suppose a coop would attract rats. Also our backyard is fenced off from any stray dogs.
     
  10. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Conroe, Texas
    predator proofing is worth the extra expense. If you are strapped try looking on places like Craig's list for free listings of materials.
    Every so often you can find materials that some one just wants to get rid of that are perfect for chicken coops/runs n such.

    Yeah wire can be expensive. I noticed that when it we did our first big material run for our coop. Just keep your eyes peeled for the free stuff it is out there.
     

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