How about this for 3 or 4 chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Charlie'sBirds, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Charlie'sBirds

    Charlie'sBirds Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, PA
    Hi everyone! [​IMG]

    I'm a suburban newbie, recently bitten by the chicken-raising bug. [​IMG] My husband and I are planning to get 3-4 hens in the springtime (probably RIRs, Red Stars, or Buff Orpingtons). We'd like fresh eggs, and we don't want to support industrial egg practices. [​IMG]

    Okay, so on to the coop...

    I'm thinking of adapting this dog house. (Yes, my husband could build something similar, MAYBE less expensively...but I'm not sure the time and hassle would be worth the savings.)

    Anyway, here it is:


    It's dimensions are: 41'' H x 44'' W x 38'' D

    Do you have any suggestions for how to adapt it properly for use as a chicken coop? Has anyone used anything like this? I'd obviously have to add a nesting box off the back, a place for roosting inside, as well as many ventilation holes. I'd have it elevated on a platform, and attach it to a covered run.

    I'm worried because it doesn't look like an entire side opens up for cleaning, and that's something I'd like. It also doesn't look like the top opens up. I'm not sure how to adapt it to keep it clean - I guess that's my biggest worry.

    I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts!!! Thanks in advance!!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  2. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    Unless the roof hinges up you'll be crawling in on hands and knees to get the eggs or clean. I guarantee at some point the hen you "HAVE" to catch will be in the far back corner surrounded by poo.

    If the roof hinges you might fit 3 not to large hens inthere if they have a large run and are usign it only to sleep in or lay eggs.

    With so little room they will be pooping a lot in a small space so you'll probably get poopied on eggs.

    The short feet under it won't keep it out of the real wet in the winter. You'll need to raise it up.

    It will NOT be predator proof, I've seen how flimsy they are so be prepared to reinforce it or have in completely enclosed in a secure run.

    I'd find somethign bigger or build a nicer one.

    Remember 1/2 your cost at least is in the run and all that it entails.
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Space-wise, with an external nesting box, it'd still be somewhat tight for 3 chickens. Keep in mind that those cute little chicks that fit in your hand grow up to be 7 pound hens. So imagine 3 cats living in that space for a visual (my cats are in the 7 lb
    I most definitely would NOT buy one if there is no cleaning could build something a little large and more convenient for the same money...on legs so that you don't have to stoop over. I've heard mixed reviews on those dog houses...some say they are far more light/flimsy than they look, and warp fairly quickly in rainy situations. Of course some people love them, but I think a lot of people who use them keep them under sheltered areas...

    You would need a door that could be closed for your pop door, and as you mentioned, ventilation and a roost... You would probably find a better deal on CL...I find a lot of BIG wooden dog houses that could be more easily might browse it.
  4. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    Personally I'm not a big fan of converting dog houses over to chicken coops. I think you're better off building or buying a structure which is intended to house chickens. It's sometimes tempting to take a shortcut when you first start out but I think you'll end up regretting it.
  5. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    An alternative, depending on your climate, is the plastic garden storage benches. The ones that the front of the box opens with two doors and the lid lifts up seem to be ideal for a few hens. They are not insulated however. But one of our neighbors uses a storage box like this, fills it with extra straw in the winter (for warmth) and does fine where we get a few nights around 0 degrees. But he also has the box in an chain link 10' x 10' dog run with a top on it for predator protection and it gives the girls enough room to roam at the same time. Since our climate is generally dry he is able to keep food and water containers outside the box coop most of the year. In the winter and rainy weather he adds a tarp over the chain link panel used as a roof to the run.

    However, the only way that this plastic storage bench idea makes sense is if you can find one really cheap as they sell for around $180. And you can build one heck of a nice small coop for the same money. Neighbor found his on Craigslist and it is just big enough for his 2 hens.

  6. Charlie'sBirds

    Charlie'sBirds Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, PA
    Thanks for all of the replies, everyone. [​IMG] I'm a little bummed to hear that a cute little dog house might not be the best starting point for a coop, though.

    I considered a plastic storage bin as was suggested, but I'm a little worried, even though I just want a few chickens. How does ventilation work with one of those? I want to have my coop elevated so that the chickens can roam underneath it (in an enclosed run) - can a storage bin be elevated?

    What about a play house coop? Any better opinions on that one?

    I would REALLY like to start with some kind of base, rather than from scratch.
  7. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    You would need to add some holes and cover them with hardware cloth for ventilation on anything. I always find my best chicken coop deals on Craigslist. Generally I have gotten things for free (especially if they would cost a fortune to take to the dump) of for way less than the materials would cost. If you have a truck or means of transporting a coop, I think this could be the best way to go.
  8. Braclin

    Braclin KY Chicken Farmer

    Jul 5, 2010
    Im against the doghouse as well its just not practical, more of a headache. Ive finally finished my outside run this week. Coming from a person who cant draw nor cut a straight line i'm pretty proud of it. As my stepdad said the chickens cant tell that its crooked,lol There are some great ideas on here for coops, and it really doesnt take alot to build them.

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