Converting wood play house to coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Young MacDonald, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Young MacDonald

    Young MacDonald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2009
    St. Louis, MO
    Hi, I don't have any chickens yet, but I'm working on getting prepared. Tonight, my husband and I just purchased a 6 x 8 wood play house. It's just over 6 feet tall with a slanted shingled roof.

    It has windows on three sides -- this is where my first question comes in.

    The windows are simply empty spaces cut out. I'm thinking that for summer, it would be fine just to put chicken wire in them, but what should I do about preparing the windows for winter? Or for when it rains, for that matter? If the size (I haven't measured yet) is standard, we could buy windows, but if not, should I use plexiglass, plastic, what do you suggest?

    Thanks in advance for your input.
     
  2. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Hi and Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    We have a prefab playhouse coop for our main Bantam flock.

    It's windows were wide open like the ones you describe so I covered them with aluminum screen then hardware cloth(for the summmer). I didn't use chicken wire in them as the only thing it's good for is keeping chicken in but it doesn't keep predators out.

    [​IMG]

    In the winter, which is usually mild in TN, I use heavy duty plastic to cover the windows and ventilation area.

    [​IMG]

    Eventually, I'd like to change the plastic over to plexiglass.

    Hope this is some help!


    Dawn
     
  3. Young MacDonald

    Young MacDonald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2009
    St. Louis, MO
    Thank you so much, Dawn. Your pictures are great. It sounds like screen and hardware cloth are the way to go. It's so hard to be patient .... I just want to buy the chicks now (and this is the season so they are all over craigslist), but they need to have a safe place to live so I have to wait until we get set up.

    Did you have any issues with your playhouse not being warm enough?
     
  4. pattyjean73

    pattyjean73 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2009
    NW Arkansas
    Sounds like we're in the same boat Young. I just acquired a 6x8 wooden playhouse that i'm converting into a coop as well. Mine has two windows which not only aren't standard but aren't even square! Playhouse was built by a group of high school students for a drama class. Nothing is square or plumb on that thing! I've got alot of work cut out ahead of me.

    I too am having a hard time waiting on my chicks. I've seen some awesome eggs for sale that I'd LOVE to buy and seen alot of great deals on craigslist. I can't even start converting my coop yet. As we are in the process of moving so my time is spent packing and cleaning up.

    Good luck with your coop and chicken endeavors.

    Oh... windows... my intentions are to cover the outside of the windows with 1/2x1 inch 14 gauge wire and put trim up over/around that. Then on the inside of the window I'll have pexiglass cut to size and use screws to attach the inner trim and weather stripping to help seal up drafts. That way it can easily be removed during summer and put back during the winter. To assist in keeping rain from entering through the windows I think I'll ad and awning or some sort to shield the window opening.

    My biggest question for my coop so far is what to do about the floor. They have thin plywood in there now which will be replaced with something thicker and sturdier, but there are gaps between the 1x4 studs that I have to figure out how to fill. I may end up using lumber for a floor instead of plywood. Then fill the cracks between the boards with silicone and lay vinyl over the floor.
     
  5. Young MacDonald

    Young MacDonald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2009
    St. Louis, MO
    Patty,

    The awning idea is very smart. I was thinking about having plywood for the floor. Maybe I should rethink it? I was hoping that if I do the deep litter method over plywood, it would be warm enough in the winter. Vinyl ovet the floor would certainly make it easy to clean. I'll look into that.

    Fortunately, the play house we got was well built. We took it down in pieces so, hopefully when we reassemble it, everything will fit together again well. I may have to add some extra ventilation at the top. The windows are large, but if they are closed in the winter, it sounds like I'll need extra ventilation. Are you going to add a chicken door?

    I see you are in KC. I'm in STL. The winters aren't too bad, but sometimes we get very cold spells and I'm concerned about heat in the coop. What variety hens are you thinking? I was thinkg Rhode Island Reds, but now I'm starting to get concerned about frostbite.
     
  6. pattyjean73

    pattyjean73 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2009
    NW Arkansas
    My first coop with be orpingtons. I'm hoping for some really nice blue and splash with some buffs thrown in too. They tend to take to the cold weather we get well from my understanding.

    Yes, I'll have a pop door as well.

    The roof of my playhouse is removable, just lifts right off. So for added ventilation I'm thinking about adding 6 inches of height to the roof and screen it in with the 1/2x1 14 guage wire as well. By doing that, I'm hoping to be able to square the roof up some. Then I'll make some solid covering to put on during winter.

    Like you said, we don't get too much severe cold weather here so for additional heat in the winter I will put some heat lamps above the roosts and only turn them on during those bad days.

    I really liked the RIR... they were originally what I planned on getting until I done research and found the orpingtons. I've just fallen head over heels for them! But none of the hatcheries I've come across has the blue varieties.

    Later I want to add a second coop. I want light brahma's for that one... standard breed of course. *winks* And I may still throw in a couple of RIRs.
     
  7. Young MacDonald

    Young MacDonald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2009
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm so glad I decided to post. The idea about raising the roof six inches to add ventlation is a fantastic idea. Our roof just pops on top too. Thanks, Patty
     
  8. mommathea

    mommathea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in kc and just finished my first coop. Back in march we visited a hatchery near Colombia. They don't have insulation, and just use plastic sheeting to cover most of the windows, and left the ventalation area below the eavs free.

    We decided not to insulate. Probably have to play it by ear in the winter.
     
  9. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Quote:I'm so glad that the pix were of help to you! [​IMG]

    I know what you mean about being patient. I'm not too good at it myself!

    I was worried that the house may not be warm enough until we caught the birds sleeping on the outdoor roost in the run (fully enclosed with a tarp over most of it) when our temps dipped down to single digits. It's draft-free and dry and we don't add supplemental heat and the birds do just fine.

    We also use the deep litter method in our coops. With the playhouse, we added a linoleum remnant to the floor, to make cleaning easier. With using the DLM, we don't have to worry about the linoleum being to slick/slippery for the birds because of the depth of the litter.

    Hope this is some help!


    Dawn
     

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