First Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ewe105, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. ewe105

    ewe105 In the Brooder

    Nov 4, 2014
    Conshohocken, PA
    Hi - I am new to this site and admittedly haven't had time to search through all of the forums yet, but I have already learned a lot and I am now even more excited to get started with chickens soon.

    I just got approval from the Mrs. and now need to find / build a suitable coop (the "approval" was conditional!). Unless you count gardening / landscaping, my handyman skills are negligible. I am trying to find a way to get a coop that looks nice (and satisfies approval conditions), but won't be too expensive. I'd love to take on a DIY project, but I just don't foresee it being a success.

    Has anyone tried to adapt a kid's playhouse and use it as a coop? I was searching for Christmas ideas for my daughter, and came across this sale at WM. I only plan on having a few chickens (3-4ish, breeds TBD), so I don't need a lot of indoor space. I am located outside of Philadelphia.

    I appreciate any advice.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    That actually might work fairly well, if there is room to ventilate it well without creating a draft on the roost. You should know, though, that many or most people who start out with a small coop wish they had built bigger. Those triangles will probably need to be vents, while the open sides will need to be closed. You will want to leave most or all of the floor space free for the chickens, so the nest (one is enough) and food/water should probably go outside or under it. If you get a fair amount of snow, I would have a roofed run with protection from the windward side so they will have a relatively snow free outdoor area. Although large enough for sleeping and maybe bad storms, it's really too small for them to stay in all day and night for days on end during snow months.

    More about ventilation:
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    That playhouse will be rather flimsy I fear. And the size of 3' x 3'6" is, in reality, really way too small. If you get 3-4 standard-to-large breed gals it's going to be a very tight fit in the long run. Why? Because by the time you put 1-2 nesting boxes in there, plus the roost bar/poop tray, feeder and waterer, there will hardly be any room for the birds. I wrestled with decision-making just like you back when I built mine and I ended up buying a LifeTime Shed online from Walmart (around $700) and it's great. I can stand up inside of it to clean, etc., and it's 5' x 8'...plenty of room for my setup. I attached my run which is 9' x 16' to the one side with their pophole and they love it.

    I keep the left-side door permanently shut to act as a 'wall'.
    I have the run "plastic'd" for the winter months right now. I, too, live in snow country and this will keep the winds and blowing snows out.
    This is looking in where the 2 nest boxes are (I have 4 Black Australorp girls)

    This is the roost bar/poop tray setup.
    This is the PVC tube feeders inside the coop. Below are the ones in the run.


    I hope this gives you some ideas to think of luck to you and be sure to post pics whichever way you decide to go! [​IMG]


    Aug 24, 2013
    As a husband I too had firm demands for my first coop.

    Her: must look good in yard.

    Me: cheap, NO, REALLY CHEAP, or low cost preferred.

    First coop was built with pallets, planned, built, rebuilt, started again and then moved to backyard......put girls in, immediately knew was NOT big enough. Approx 4x5.

    Back to bro in law, source me some more good wood I say,

    Him? "Already dude?"

    Big, no, a "REALLY BIG" truck transmission that was in a crate came in, phone ringing, "your wood is here dude!"

    Coop 2: just a slight stoop for me to enter doorway, only cost was "cute" hardware and roof....the free barn tin did not fly, went with cedar fence slats for roof. Total cost for mine is $167. The look was kind of rustic, general store-like. Building like this there are NO straight lines or leveling, after all the girls I am sure do not mind.

    Neighbors? Those that know love it, in background of pic is the HOA pres, oh yea, I am vice pres, and they (neighbors) get a huge kick out of my 6 girls......and free eggs too!

    End result? Thinking of coop part 3, but in meantime built one for my quail, still waiting on those at the moment though.

    Moral of story? Your first coop will not likely be your last, it can be done on cheap, yet sturdy for protection, and get her involved in the decision making. My wife tolerates my wacky ideas, yet enjoys the girls as much as I do!

  5. ewe105

    ewe105 In the Brooder

    Nov 4, 2014
    Conshohocken, PA
    Wow. These responses are already more helpful than I anticipated. Thanks so much, and those are some impressive looking coops!
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    CL is your friend when building a chicken coop. Look in the free section for lumber, swing sets (framework for run and if it has a fort can be converted to a coop + run), shipping crates, playhouses, sheds, windows, doors, dog runs, chest, pick up bed cover, small travel trailer... You can probably find a small coop for cheap as many people ditch their chickens going into winter because they don't want the added work. Be creative. You can always get a bigger second or third coop down the road. Don't underestimate how large a coop you need. My chickens are afraid of snow and high winds and will spend days inside in the winter.

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