Idea for Tiny Discreet Coop-Thoughts?? updated


9 Years
Jun 17, 2010
Right now I have 8, 3 week old chicks (likely 5 cockarels and 3 pullets) in a dog kennel, 3' L x 2'3" H x 2'W. Soon when I'm certain about the cockarel's I'll just have the 3 ladies. The kennel is great b/c I can slide out the bottom tray to clean it easily. There is plastic sheeting on top of the plastic bottom and I just cover it with pine shavings. The kennel has cardboard around much of it and chicken wire reinforcing the open parts. I've just sat the whole thing on a wagon so I can drive it off the back porch easily, take off the kennel, pull out the bottom tray and let the birds scratch around. Even though the heavy wire of the kennel bottom is there, it entertains them and they do get their feet in the grass. I've also got 2 roosts in their and they love that.

My question is this--what do you think, when I have just the 3 girls, if I put thin plastic/vinyl of some sort in place of the cardboard, put a plastic dishpan with shavings as a nest box on the completely enclosed side of the kennel and then just get a run to put outside where I can let the girls out each day for a while? I'll have to pull the wagon out to the grass and figure how to have the run so it's not a total pain to get the girls inside it...

The cubic ft for the kennel is just enough for 3 adult birds if you say they each need 4 cubic feet. It's not as much as I'd like them to have, but this has to be able to easily be on my screened in back porch where the outlets are and where it won't be noticed. I can also pull it into my large shed if need be.

Any thoughts or suggestions? BTW, we're in a very residential neighborhood and we have a privacy I'm thinking my main predator concerns are my own dog, neighborhood cats, hawks and snakes. Do you think I should be worried about anything else? I've never seen any fox or raccoons around here.


Here is a picture before I strapped this whole thing on top of a wagon...

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In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 22, 2010
Walworth county, WI
I have eight. I would say 4x 8 coop for eight. You know you are gonna get 5 more little ladies. I started with 5 and got 3 farm raise pullets. But yeah 4 x 8 coop. If you were to make a run like I am right now. I am making a 4 x 12 run, but I free range on the weekends. But I made mine 3 foot high and put double swinging doors on for open ventilation. But I have a parts lawn mower sitting next to it with a empty gas can, So it look like a push mower shed. I even made a rack for my landscaping tools. Then the run is tucked into the bushes and I am thinking of growing some kind of vine over it to conseal what is there. LOL good luck!
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Happy Day Farm

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 14, 2010
There is someone local in my area that builds chicken tractors. They don't work for us. We have too many chickens but they are really great. Maybe you could search chicken tractors and see if that would work for you? Try Craigs List and you may possibly find someone local that builds them.


9 Years
Apr 18, 2010
Camden County NJ
Unfortunately the dog kennel will not work for 3 hens. They need 4sq ft/ bird so that is 12 sq feet of floor space (not total area, floor space). A 3x2 kennel is only 6ft of floor space. They also need 12" of roosting room/bird. Once you have the pan in there they won't have enough roosting space. You'll def. have to look into a coop or tractor.


Muddy Acre Farms
10 Years
Sep 20, 2009
Pride, La.
Are you basically talking about leaving them in that little crate most of the time except when you have them out in a run?? If so that is WAY to small to keep 3 adult chickens in all the time!! That is only 9 sq feet.


ETA: and I figured it out at 3x3 and not 3x2!! So there is barely enough to keep 1 bird in there!!
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10 Years
Jun 21, 2009
You can make your coop discreet by planting all around it.

Where you live - do you have fences? Do you have kids?

If you have fences then your neighbors may not get a clear view of your yard and you can actually build a nice coop with pallets and paint it up nicely. You can use a coop that gets moved around your yard. IF you have kids you can build a big coop that looks as if it was part of kid play gym. Add some whimsical colors and the neighbors may not know. Or you can build sort of a big rectangle with a planting box on the top and underneath you can have your coop and on the sides use decorative boards so nosey neighbors can't see in but the chickees get good airflow and can see out. I would make something big and beautiful that doesn't read chicken coop when you see it but more like green house or tool shed. Keep em guessing!

My neighbors in South San Jose (NEAR IBM) when I was growing up all had chickens, great coops and no one was the wiser. I house sat for many of them


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
2x3 would be a barely-minimally-adequate house for 3 chickens IF they had an ample run that they had access to all the time.

But if they are going to stay in that 2x3 space all the time except for brief periods when you happen to let them out, then that is really not much of any better than industrial battery-farm conditions and I sure wouldn't keep chickens like that *myself*.

Surely you can find a way to make more suitable accommodations for them, if you are going to keep chickens???

If you are limited in space, one common solution is to put the coop (indoor part) over top of part of the run -- for instance a 4x4 coop over top of a 4x8 run would be decently good accommodations for 3-4 chickens.

Good luck, have fun,



11 Years
Jul 23, 2008
Chapel Hill, NC
I've got the same kennel and am using it as a broody box for one chicken. It's big enough for her to sit on eggs, but not big enough for her to live in. I can't imagine that you'd be happy keeping full grown chickens in such a tiny space. They're likely to end up behaving aggressively towards one another. It won't be pretty.

If you're not able to build or buy a "stealth" coop that's at least 3'x4', I'd recommend you give some serious thought to rehoming your birds until you've got a better coop for them. Having chickens can be lots of fun under the right circumstances. But it's likely to be stressful and frustrating if you're trying to keep them in such a confined space.

Good luck.


9 Years
Jun 17, 2010
Thanks, everyone! I've been doing lots of research and am going with a chicken tractor for the 3 hens we're keeping. They are 5 wks old now and I've got a run attached to the kennel at this point and it's working out well, plus they free range most of the day since we're outside all the time. They prefer roaming all over the yard even with the run!

Thanks again ☺

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