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Little Tikes Playhouse coop in the Winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bluema, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. bluema

    bluema Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need help from those who have converted their Little Tikes playhouses into chicken coops. I've researched as much as I could, but I'm not seeing straight answers anywhere. I live in TN and although winters are relatively mild, the temps do dip to negative degrees.

    I am loving the look of this Little Tikes Storybook Cottage playhouse and I'm hoping to buy and convert one into a chicken coop. The playhouse is quite pricey at over $400 (can't find used one locally), so I want to make sure before I purchase one.

    1. If I patch the seams (other than top vent), will the plastic walls be adequate to keep chickens warm during winter?
    2. Are these playhouses double walled where I could insulate further with spray foam?
    3. Could a wall be cut to make a hole for chickens(entrance) without compromising the structure?
    4. How do these plastic playhouses compare to wooden coops for insulation?

    Besides the look of the playhouse, I'm interested in the plastic playhouse because it may deter mite infestation and it may last longer than wooden coop.

    Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  2. CHIKENROOKIE

    CHIKENROOKIE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Olathe
    [​IMG]


    Was going to do playhouse too, but decided against it. Mine is re-used pallets, and cost me $103.
     
  3. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi! [​IMG]Mine worked great until chicken math caused me to have 15 rather than 6. Chickens have a body temp of roughly 104 deg. and feathers to insulate them. You didn't mention how many chickens. IMO, no need to insulate anything if you have more than a few. Chickens are fine in the cold, the really cold. Heat, humidity and stale air are the concerns. You'd need to install some roosts. I bought a used starter lil tykes coop for $50. That said, if you're going to spend $400. there are likely better choices to give you more bang for your buck.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Cute, but usually way too small.....and hard to attach things(roosts, nests, ventilation, predator proof mesh, etc) to the plastic.
     
  5. bluema

    bluema Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I've gone through some youtube videos of Little Tikes playhouses, and went ahead and ordered one just last night.

    This particular Step 2 cottage is larger than most at 5.35' x 4.58' x 4.2', and because of thick double walls (double wall poly construction), inside dimension gets down to 4.58' x 3.58' x 3.5' which is a bit larger than what I currently have for my 8 girls. I didn't want too big of a coop so that they can keep cozy and the height of the playhouse and the existing top openings seem ideal for ventilation. I've read reviews that these playhouses last over 15 years out in the elements with kids climbing on top, so they sounded durable enough. I just hope that the walls aren't as cheap and full of holes like a few reviewers complained since I'll be adding roosts and poop boards inside. I'll find a way to reinforce the weight one way or another. My run is still in great shape so I'll attach the cottage to it.

    http://www.toysrus.com/buy/playhouses/step2-naturally-playful-storybook-cottage-795900-3499780

    At this point I'm SO excited while waiting for the order to arrive. I've spent so much time building my current girls' coop & run, but the wooden coop started disintegrating in places near ceiling already after only a few years. I constantly have to battle mites that like the wooden coop as well, and don't want to powder my girls more than I need to. I looked into the Formex Snap Lock coop but it seems overpriced and way too small. I've thought of building another coop with better materials and more decorative touch but the raw cost was getting up there and I'm dreading the time and effort to start from scratch.

    I showed the pic of the cottage playhouse to my husband and he said "It's ugly" - sigh.... but I'll paint the molds and accessories and decided to attach real thatch (these are so pricey!!!) on top for decorative purpose.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  6. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's just over 12 square feet ... I hope your eight birds are tiny ... Like Robins!
     
  7. bluema

    bluema Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    lol, they stay in the coop only at night, or when they lay eggs. Rest of the time they're out in their run, and they're doing very well even in their current smaller coop and they're standard/large birds.
    I'm not worried about the size. Even if I were to build a coop from scratch, it would not have been bigger than 4x4' at the outer dimension. I don't need anything bigger than that, and even if I wanted to go bigger, material cost would've been too high to consider at even slightly larger dimension due to available lumber/panel sizing.
     
  8. bluema

    bluema Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Hi Mutt Farm!

    That's great to hear that your playhouse served well until you went with larger flock.
    I'm maxed out with 8 birds. I really don't want more because they're my pet and I can't even keep up with their egg production since my husband and I don't eat too many eggs. My neighbors enjoy our free organic eggs more than we do. I know that chickens are pretty hardy, but I still want them as comfortable as possible. I noticed mine would all hang out in the coop on very cold/windy days (only few days here in TN), so I even added a panel heater to their current coop which they love. I spy on them with my security cameras [​IMG]

    I've looked around and for $400-$600 there aren't too many options, and I don't like most of the designs where chickens have to walk through roost area to reach nest boxes with their poopy feet.
    I wanted to consider plastic coop this time around because I noticed wet wood becomes moldy that's hazardous, and it can rain nonstop during spring here in TN.

    I'm sure I'll find out soon enough, but were the plastic walls ok to work with when you added your roosts?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    What is your climate?
    Adding your location can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

    Do you get heavy snow accumulation.....lots if rain?
     
  10. bluema

    bluema Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I'm in TN. More specifically Eastern TN right at the foothills of the Smokies, zone 6B. Snows infrequently and accumulates just a few times a year. Definitely LOTS of rain.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015

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