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Converting Playhouse-Help!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mnm, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. mnm

    mnm Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, this is a pretty confusing problem.
    First, i had thought of converting the play-house magic thing in my backyard into a coop, and making a movable run out of portable fencing so they could have a new area in the yard every few days. But then i would have to watch them the whole time they were outside, since there are ALLOT of predators in my neighborhood. [​IMG] And i was worried they wouldn't get as much time outside as they would like. So...should i build a chicken tractor and keep them in there 24/7, should i build a chicken tractor and keep them in there during the day and not at night, or what? I don't really want to build a permanent run right next to the coop cause it's harder on that patch of lawn, plus with the positioning, it would be pretty hard.... so what should i do? are there other options i don't know about? [​IMG]
    mnm [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Hi, IMO, I would give up the patch of lawn and go with safety. It's worth the trade off. Many people on here have advice for a safe run and coop including a baby monitor, LOL. A patch of lawn is a small sacrifice. And you can let them free range whenever you have some time to be outside. An hour before dark is ideal cause they will be looking for their home as it gets dark
     
  3. mnm

    mnm Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Is a chicken tractor not as safe? The think with the patch would be hard for me because it's RIGHT next to the woods. The play house is pretty much invincible, because its got a proper roof, is raised off the ground by a cinder block, and the walls are each an inch thick. But the run....mmmmm i don't know if i could make it that safe....
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Is a chicken tractor not as safe? The think with the patch would be hard for me because it's RIGHT next to the woods. The play house is pretty much invincible, because its got a proper roof, is raised off the ground by a cinder block, and the walls are each an inch thick. But the run....mmmmm i don't know if i could make it that safe....

    Sure you could. MUCH moreso than a tractor!!! A tractor will always be quite a lot more vulnerable to a determined predator than a well-built run. Tractors are by definition easier to dig under and easier to overturn.

    Use strong fencing on strong posts for your run. With a strong roof (either solid or the same wire mesh you use for the sides). Bury heavy-gauge wire mesh at least 1' deep along the fence, preferably angled outwards, or dig cement blocks or big concrete pavers up on edge to equally well prevent digging in. Make sure the mesh size on the lower 2-3' of the run is no larger than 1" to prevent reach-in by raccoons if you have them, and to help discourage weasels.

    Don't stress about getting the ground all trashed inside a permanent run-- you will have to move the tractor a WHOLE LOT to avoid the same happening in there (it happens really fast!) and even if you do move it a whole lot you will end up with poo distributed all over your lawn where the tractor's been, which is not entirely a picnic either [​IMG] You can put sand or etc in the run if you want it to look nicer than bare dirt.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd go with safety above all - you can always bring them plant material. This way you may sacrifice a little lawn, but you won;t be worried sick about them, which is no fun...
     
  6. mnm

    mnm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2008
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    Hmmmm
    I guess i should go with the straight run.... but there are two problems
    1 How do i predator-proof it? we have foxes, coyotes, dogs, cats, fisher cats, and HAWKS HAWKS HAWKS!!! [​IMG]

    2 The play-house is built funny, its got this little porch verrendah thing, that's pretty open. So unless the run surrounds the house, they'll jump out of it, not to mention something will jump in! It's hard to explain, take a look at the picture . It shows a side view of the playhouse.

    http:[email protected]/2436915189/

    this is the front view:

    http:[email protected]/2437735420/

    AND there's a flower bed (you can just barly see it, to the left?) to one side, right next to the stairs. should i put fencing around that (inside the run) or just leave it be? I don't really think anyone cares about that particular bed. it's in the back far corner of the property so no one sees it anyway....
    mnm [​IMG]
     
  7. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    The window could easily be covered with 1/2" hardware cloth, to keep pred's out and the chickens in, that's what we use over windows and ventilation areas.

    I'd use the door as a human door. Can you cut them a pop hole/chicken sized door on the wall opposite of the big door?

    Like this (our Playhouse Coop)...

    [​IMG]

    Hope this is some help!

    Dawn
     
  8. mnm

    mnm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2008
    Massachusetts
    The windows already have netting, forgot to take a pic of that!!
    Yea, if i cut a little door for the chickens, i guess i might just do it in the first door....hmmm
    The biggest problem i think i have right now is how to predator proof the run. I also have the problem that there is no electricity, and like i said, it's on the other end of the back yard, so i can't exactly run an extension cord all the way out there. We live in new england, so the winters will be tough on them...
    mnm [​IMG]
     
  9. Texas Fluffy Feet

    Texas Fluffy Feet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You mentioned making it a tractor, so I am assuming you could move the playhouse. Could you locate it closer to an outlet so you could have electricity and then make a permanent run for it?

    I too had a playhouse and considered turning it into a tractor so I could "save" my yard. However a very smart person on this board pointed out that simply moving the tractor would make ruts in the yard and cause damage. I ended up going with a permanant run and don't regret it a bit. HTH
     
  10. mnm

    mnm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2008
    Massachusetts
    yeah, i could move the playhoue, it's off the ground and all that. But It's pretty expensive to move a 7*6 building, right? I just don't know how they'll fare in the winter, how to keep there water not frozen and stuff [​IMG]
    mnm [​IMG]
     

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