Modifying Dog House for Brooder or isolation coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NHCrazy4Chicks, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. NHCrazy4Chicks

    NHCrazy4Chicks In the Brooder

    Nov 20, 2010
    Southern NH
    Hello! I have a dog house just like the one pictured below - except mine is small - about 2' x 3'. I want to use it as a brooder or isolation coop, but of course need to modify it. My only problem is that it is quite difficult to do anything on the inside because of the small door. For modifications I was going to drill ventilation holes at the top, just use a boot box for a nesting box, and add a door to the opening. But what about a roost? Any ideas on how I can secure a roost if it's difficult to squeeze more than just a head and arm inside? My original thought was to have a roost go lengthwise but I can't reach the back wall. So maybe I'll just have to put it width wise and just as far in as my arm and drill can reach.

    Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!


  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You can't be having it so you can only just reach in through the dog door.... won't work well for sanitation or dealing with birds. I can't see what the structure (inside) of the doghouse is, but if the walls are framed only along the edges as seems likely, what if you just removed most or all of one side wall and turned it into a hinged access door? You could do that by cutting a huge hole (leaving only the edges of the side intact) or by removing the corner-bead trim and unscrewing or un-nailing the whole piece of siding... just depends how yours is constructed.

    You don't really need a roost or nestbox for an isolation coop or brooder. If you wanted to put in a roost I'd suggest making it removable, short and low.

    I'd also suggest actually CUTTING ventilation openings near the tops of the gable ends, i.e. good sized openings, not "drilling" anything (not even with a large hole-saw bit)... it is way better to have ample ventilation available and then if in some circumstances you want ot shut some of it off you can, whereas just drilling some holes is quite likely to leave you with insufficient ventilation in many circumstances. And of course cover it with *securely* attached hardwarecloth (you may need to sandwich the hardwarecloth edges between the siding and some other pieces of 1x or 2x lumber, as just short screws or staplegun staples will not be very secure)

    That'll be a handy little thing to have, though, and I'm sure you'll get some good use out of it! [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man Songster

    Nov 21, 2010
    Apple Hill
    Pat has already said it all. [​IMG]

    I think it's a worthwhile endeavor, but only if done correctly (i.e., what Pat said).
  4. boggybranch

    boggybranch In the Brooder

    Feb 8, 2010
    If there is a floor in it, I would cut it out, set four post and raise it up high enough to do what you want it to do, then wall it up. You having easier access to the inside is a must.
  5. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    We are using a modified freebie dog house for a growout coop. It's about 40 inches square and was a Mother's Day gift from my kids. Gotta love them when they think of me!
    Pat is right... drilling round holes is not enough ventilation. That was our first attempt and did not work.
    Ventilation was a big concern when we started converting it to a coop. First, I enlarged the door so I could squeeze my head/arm inside for cleaning and working. Then we got an awning window very cheaply so I put that on the end opposite the door. It does almost replace the entire end of the doghouse and was installed from the outside. The awning opens to the bottom so wind and rain really don't come in the coop. I covered the entire inside of that end with hardware cloth tacked down with boards ( from the inside- not really fun [​IMG] ) I have not closed the window at all yet. Not even sure I will close it for the winter! The chickens seem to roost facing the window.
    A roost was placed with 2x4s perpendicular to the openings about a foot off the floor.
    And yes, it was put on a frame and posts to elevate it about 24 inches above the ground. ( THAT was a fun project moving it up there!) It is easier squeezing head/shoulders into it when it is raised, so I suggest you do that first.
    I have two interchangable doors. Both slide on a top/bottom track to little more than cover the opening. They are secured with two long nails through small holes in both the door and the wall. We store the nails in similar holes in the upper track when the door is open. One door is a piece of plywood-- used in cold and rain to keep drafts down. The other door is a plywood framed piece of hardware cloth to have open ventilation for spring and summer.
    Food is on a hanging feeder on the left of the door. Water is hanging to the right of the door.

    Chickens have been in it for about 5 months now. Improvements that we need: Space-saving feeder/waterers of PVC pipes along the walls instead of round ones. I also need to make an outside nest box SOON! I am figuring on a 30 inch/2 box unit on the side where there is no door or window. There is just no room inside for a nest IMO. I will make the nestbox first then attach to outside with some sort of cleats and have the top open to retrieve eggs. Come spring it will be our marans breeding coop:)
    I don't really draw plans, just wing it:)
    Suggestions: drill and screws or a nailgun work easier in tight spaces. And hey, it's a chicken house, not the Taj Mahal. If it's crooked, they won't complain!

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