Dog house alteration to a coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mandelyn, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    We have this GIANT home-made dog house, with a shingled roof and everything. It could sleep 5 big dogs, or what, 10 chickens?

    It stands about 5 1/2 feet tall in the center (typical triangle building shape).

    My husband and I were talking about lifting it up with a car jack (it has to be some 800 pounds) and putting big wheels on the corners to move it.

    As well as covering the sides with natural wood siding to make it pretty, ripping the whole front off to change the door style, and altering the inside from a two room dog house to something chicken friendly.

    The wheels would allow us to move it to a corner suitable for chickens, and increase the height. I was thinking of doing a large center door I could crawl through to retrieve eggs as well as to clean it out, with a window/door hole for the chickens.

    We have 6ft wooden stockade style fencing, so I wanted to put the coop in the far corner of the yard away from neighbors, and fence off an area.

    The chicken wire would be buried into the ground, with a cinder block base, to keep predators from digging in. A roof too, to keep everything in/out. That area has a slight incline, which I thought would be good for drainage. I was thinking of a sand bottom, held in by the cinder block edging.

    Then a secondary fence, to keep the dogs from running up onto the chickens in their coop. Maybe 15 feet or so away from the border of the coop fence. Then as the chickens and dogs got used to each other, this "buffer" area could be used for supervised free range, so they could forage some green stuff and get off the sand a little bit.

    But, some questions...

    Previously my chickens would be wintered in the basement when the temperature really dropped. With the large dog house being insulated and everything, I wouldn't have to winter them indoors would I? (when it dropped below freezing)

    What sort of bedding for inside the house? Straw on the floor same as the nests, or would they fail to use the nest boxes if straw was everywhere?

    I was thinking about using a fishtank heater in a bucket for winter water, has anyone else tried this or did you just spend the extra money on a made-for heated fowl waterer?

    My neighbors have chickens, that get a lot of free-range time, and they follow the fence line on the back of our property, which is kind of like communal township owned park area. Should I expect their roosters to fly up onto our fence to investigate? They have 3 roosters, and 5 hens that I've seen.

    I'm expecting crowing competitions and hen squawking when one group or the other starts, but will theirs attempt to get to mine?

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