Dog house to Chicken Tractor Conversion


8 Years
Aug 26, 2011
Austin, TX
I just picked up a cheap, used dog house very similar to the one pictured below on Craigslist to make a chicken tractor. (Settled on a chicken tractor because we are renting our place and wanted to be able to take it with us if/when we move in the future.)

The roof is made of composite shingles and removable, I might add a hinge to it for easier access and the floor is in 3 sections and is removable too. My plan is to put it up on stilts, reinforce the floor and put in vinyl flooring for ease of cleaning, add a nesting box to the side with exterior access to that, a large hinged door for cleaning on the other side and a little flap door on hinges in front of the existing dog entrance for the hens, which could be closed at night. Roost, poop board, food/water, etc. I'll add more ventilation in it as it's just got the one door. I'd add a little ramp coming down from the doggie entrance to the floor of the run. The run I'll probably try to make 6-7 feet high and maybe 7-8 feet long (excluding the bit under the coop), cover it all in hardware cloth. I have a piece of corrugated metal that's leftover behind our shed that I can use to put over the run. I'll put in a people door on the end or on the side, not sure which yet. I'm planning to hang my waterer/feeder under the coop perhaps. I have no idea how I'll attach wheels in order to move this around.

I plan to have 3-4 hens. I have no chickens yet. I am completely new to this whole deal. I've been researching like crazy though and would love to avoid potential problems as I go along in this process. So...all that said, any suggestions? Tips, warnings, etc?

Love your idea:clap It sounds as if you have done all the research. I kinda inherited my rooster and hens from my daughter. They had to move because of hubbies job and are renting and could not move the chickens yet. They are in a chicken tractor within a dog run now. But I think I am hooked so they may not get them back!
I am thinking of enlarging it as I have 3 eggs under a brooder hen now and expect hatching maybe this weekend.
Hope to get at least one of them to hatch. That will be my start I guess.
Will probably get an old swing set from my grandkids..(they are not using it, have 2 anyway:D) and contructing a coop from it and make a run with a door on the end as you were talking
about. Can't wait to see your finished product.

If you are willing to make it smaller, and can move it everyday, then I would simplify things by not raising it - you can access the inside through the roof, so put a "lock" closure of some kind on the roof and on the roof of a nest box out the back and put the existing feet on 2 x 4 x 8,cut to fit the front and back also, use 2 x 3 to build up, put hardware cloth it, and put the tin on top- add handles in the front and you can probably move it without wheels. I have made 6 x 8's that I can move myself, and I am not as young as I used to be- for three or so hens, if you move it everyday, that would save you materials.
Does that make sense? I am not good at describing things!
I have one of those for my rabbit (free off CL) My husband made a wire run and we just plopped the house into it. I plan on putting the house back in the run for the rabbit or the chickens (whoever wants to use it).

I think your idea sounds good, when we made the rabbit run the only thing we would have changed was adding a few boards for the house to sit on to make it easier to move. We moved her run about once a month. Depending on the size of girls you want it could work awesome, but I had my barred rock hen on mine and it was way too small.

Here is what our rabbit run looks like.

you could build two small runs, one with a door and one with an opening that fit together like a puzzle. That way they could pull apart for easy removal.
Loved your video and your daughter is super cute. My favorite part of the video is when you say, "It seems to be keeping the rabbit" Like that rabbit was really trying to get out or something! Super funny. But really great looking run!
Thanks everyone for the kind words and suggestions. I hope to get to work on it this weekend. We're also putting up a greenhouse right now, so one project at a time in this triple digit heat. I'll try to post pics as I go along. Also, has anyone used the 5 gallon buckets as nesting boxes, and if so, what did you think of them? Were they big enough for a larger chicken or just bantams?

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