Little Tikes playhouse converted into coop - big enough for 4 hens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by shandea, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. shandea

    shandea Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2007
    Looking for some advice on my coop. I have this playhouse that my son has outgrown... see link here for one very similar:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Little-Tikes-Co...oryZ2574QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Anyway, I was wondering if this would be big enough for 4 hens, or should I keep it to 3?

    And when you talk about square footage per bird, does that include the run? We are planning to make this house be a tractor by putting some wheels on it, and will attach a fenced run to the front door.

    We were thinking the run would be maybe 4' x 2'. Anyone have any ideas about whether this will be big enough? We have a privacy fence that is 6' tall, so we will be letting them out for a couple hours each day. Will they be able to fly this high?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. shandea

    shandea Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2007
    Sorry... duh! Didn't include the dimensions.

    49" long
    41" wide
    52" tall
     
  3. blue90292

    blue90292 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    i have an 8 foot tall pen. until i had put a netting over it, some of the girls were able to fly out of the pen.
     
  4. Llysse

    Llysse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Whether they can fly out also depends on the breed of bird. Very heavy breeds are usually less flighty and can't fly as high, and bantams are usually better fliers. Silkies can't really fly at all.

    As to how much square footage, it depends on where you are, too. If you live way up north where the birds will have to spend a lot of time indoors during the cold seasons, you'd need more space per bird than if they have a big run. A run of 4 x 2 is not very large and would probably turn icky pretty quick. Some people have small runs, but to keep them from getting muddy and mucky and poopy and stinky, they move the run and the coop every day or every few days. That way the birds always have fresh ground and don't tear up the yard too badly. It's also healthier for the birds when they have a run that small (not to mention that it keeps predators from digging in and birds from digging out). Birds with feathered legs like Brahmas, silkies and Faverolles don't do as well in wet, muddy conditions as birds with clean legs. If your area is very dry, it may be easier to keep a small run from getting too mucky, but it will still get scratched and pooped up.
    I don't know how easy it would be to move that playhouse around; just keep in mind that the more space they have, the less mess they'll make in any one spot. Your eggs will taste better, though, if your birds have more access to fresh range, which is another benefit of the mobile coops.
     
  5. shandea

    shandea Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2007
    Very helpful... I appreciate it! As for the coop being mobile, we are planning to put wheels on one side and move it around as needed. Also, we can make the run bigger if we need to... that's not set in stone... maybe 6 x 3? We live in the South (NC), so it's not cold, and not that rainy.

    Is it a pain to clip a bird's wings? I guess I'll find that in my book (Storey). I had to order it cause they didn't have it in stock.

    I am getting wyandottes. They are bigger... right? So maybe they wouldn't be so flighty?
     
  6. LICHICK

    LICHICK Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 7, 2007
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    I would put fencing on the inside of the window so predators couldnt get in. Also a good locking system on the door. I would make the run bigger & higher so if something landed on the top it, they couldnt rip the chicken thru. A hawk once ripped our ferret out of his cage which was 2 feet tall. I would also put some plywood on the run roof for shade. Stories will show in diagram where to cut the wing feathers. If you handle your birds on a regular basis it shouldnt be too hard. I would keep the bird in my lap. Just stay calm yourself. I only did one wing when I had larger breeds.
     
  7. Llysse

    Llysse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, Wyandottes are considered a heavy breed, not usually as flighty (and they're VERY pretty!). If you're in NC, your hens will probably be able to go out most of the year... and if you plan on moving the coop around, they'll have plenty of clean space and yard to enjoy. Sounds to me like you've got a good plan.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. jefra

    jefra Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2007
    Utah Valley
    if you do this, i'd love to see photographs!
     
  9. shandea

    shandea Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2007
    I actually changed my mind and someone locally is building a chicken tractor for us. My child didn't like the idea of us taking over his playhouse... it's now become his favorite again. [​IMG]

    I'm really excited about our coop... we'll pick it up in two weeks or so.

    But the playhouse WOULD have been a good idea, I think. If anyone is interested in going this route, I picked mine up on craigslist for $10.
     
  10. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    If your summers get very hot, the birds will cook in that plastic. Make sure you provide plenty of ventilation.
     

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