Need Help Designing A Combination Chicken Coop/Run/Rabbit Hutch

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Captain Cluck, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Captain Cluck

    Captain Cluck Songster

    Jun 19, 2009
    Central Florida
    We want to raise meat rabbits and layers, and possibly a few meat chickens.

    I would like to keep their living area as compact as possible, since we are on a 90' x 110' lot in a subdivision in a small country town.

    I have "city" neighbors who really do not like animals (and have non of their own), so I want to keep the entire set up looking exceptionally nice and disguised as something you would normally find in a suburban setting... like the play house coop/run, or like the Glenn Cottage Eggery.

    My problem is where to attach the hutches to the run, and still make it look like it belongs. We are allowed to keep chickens in our town, as long as they are contained, clean, quiet and no odors reach the neighbors.

    The last time we had rabbits or chickens, the hutches and coop were not pretty - just functional. This time, I want pretty.

    Two of our neighbors (the city folk) prefer flat lawns and no plantings and want the entire world to be like them. They also complain about everything. Especially chickens. But other neighbors and I have found the city to be fair and actually take our sides when our coops and runs are clean, tidy and odor free.

    So, I need a coop/run/hutch that looks like it belongs in a suburban setting, is pretty, and easy to keep clean, easy to access the interiors, feed, collect eggs, etc, easy to keep cool and dry, and suitable for hens and rabbits. If I can run the hens under the hutches, that would be a plus for space savings. And I would like the entire back side to not give any view as to what is inside, if that is possible.(I'm thinking about lattice and runner beans) I have to locate it 10' from the property lines.

    Does anyone have any ideas or plans that they would be willing to share with me? I am trying to build this right, but not spend a lot of money on it.

    I did see the hutch/coop made out of a shed that was posted, but we already have a shed for my Husband's workshop and are really not allowed any more sheds. I can argue that this coop is more like a dog house and not a shed if push comes to shove.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas anyone can come up with. Meantime, I am working on a design to see if I can come up with anything on my own.

    *sigh*I never had to hide my animals before.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  2. River Lizard

    River Lizard Songster

    May 29, 2009
    Varina, VA
    Sounds like future trouble to me with those type of neighbors. [​IMG] And I don't think any type of design is going to make them NOT have issues with your chickens.
    Good luck with your plan.
    Don't ya just love when you own property but other people control what you can do on it? Now if they can just pay the mortgage and taxes, then there'd be a reason for them stickin' their noses into your property. [​IMG]
    I will never live in a sub-division's not worth losing my freedom. [​IMG]
  3. Capt.

    I think you need to treat this as two separate projects.

    I would build my pens from a perspective of making them 100% safe & functional for you and your animals. I would put them where I wanted them and how I wanted them. The only parameters to keep in mind is if the town comes calling they can't tell you to take it down.

    THEN, I would work at "concealing" them to fit in with the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

    I don't know where you are located but I would consider using some type of fast growing evergreens as the best method of providing permanent screening. Things like lattice and vines are fine but in my opinion tend to stick out more than the area they are intended to screen.

    The back and side of my run is made with the prefab 6' stockade fence panels. I then planted Leyland Cypress bushes every 6 feet around them.

    I've never been one to tiptoe around my property trying to keep neighbors happy. I am sensitive to their concerns and do keep my place in compliance with the local rules. Many would even say that my place looks better than most. That said, if I want to have a few chickens and a couple of rabbits then thats just what I am going to do. They'll get over it.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  4. Captain Cluck

    Captain Cluck Songster

    Jun 19, 2009
    Central Florida
    Thanks for the suggestions and moral support. We wanted a farm, but could only get a tract house in a micro city. Then the neighbors moved in. Fortunately, they didn't say much when we did have rabbits and chickens before, but now they have built 'pool' decks for their above ground pools and can easily see into our yard when swimming. Where before, they had to have ladders against the privacy fence, and excuses for being on those ladders. Maybe we will build our own pool deck and this fat old lady will sit out there in my swimsuit. What a sight!- LOL

    We don't have room for cypress trees, the neighbors are south of us and trees would just completely shut out any vegetable garden from sunlight.
    Everything grows fast here in Florida, so I'm thinking of some sort of trellis I can plant along my side of the fence that will block their view. Grapes and chayote squash could work in summer, peas and beans would probably do better in winter.

    The reason I want to incorporate the hutch over the run is to reduce land space used so I have some garden space and a bit of yard left to enjoy.

    I think I will just design my micro homestead the way I want, and tell the neighbors to go soak their heads, please. (Too bad we cant keep goats!)

    The perfect answer if I am forced to give up my birds... get parrots! They are very noisy! After a week or 2 of parrot squawking, anyone would be glad to hear chooks.
  5. Quote:[​IMG]

    Peacocks are even better. They'll be begging for chickens after hearing those!
  6. ecopepper

    ecopepper In the Brooder

    May 11, 2009
    Orlando Florida
    I am having a hiding problem too...but my neighbors are cool with mine. It's just the county I hide from. But you have to have the right ramp angle for the chickens to use. I wanted to put a coop on top of our run but I put it beside on the walkway and run on the grass between 2 bushes...I have a dog house style coop but I think it is too small so I am going to either rebuild or modify YIKES!!! I didn't leave enough head room for roosting and it's not easy to get into to here I go with a jig saw!!
  7. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Here's what I did...on both sides. It houses 6 rabbits, and 35 chickens easily in a 10x10 shed


    and this is the inside part if thier hutch

    The outside is 3x 3 there abouts for each pen and the inside has 2x3 ft pens. Each pen has a doorway to the outdoor part and it is all built 48 inches off the ground so my birds still have 100 sq feet of floorspace and an outside run behind the shed
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  8. keedokes

    keedokes Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    Wow, morelcabin, that looks really nice! Great job!

    Sorry I don't have any advice for you Captain Cluck--I'm working on the logistics for the same.
  9. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Just read the 'has to be about the size of a doghouse part" :>) hehe...that's what you get for speedreading...let me think about that one a bit, see if I can come up with an idea for you. How many chickens rabbits do you want it to hold? Do you free run your birds? Rabbits, I am finding out are pretty messy to have above chickens without a tray of some least my big meaty ones are...they pee as long as I do after shopping all day! LOL! Some poor chickens are gonna get real wet in a doghouse:>) RFLOL! Okay, seriously now, let me sleep on it:>) Maybe you can half and half it somehow...
  10. cobrien

    cobrien Songster

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I have always found this design attractive:

    Another idea, although maybe too shed like, not to mention expensive unless you are handy, is a design I came up with but abandoned because I am not handy nor rich. My idea was to build a 6-sided gazebo that is half fenced in and half solid to form the house. Something like the above link in functionality, but a 6 sided gazebo shape. Problem is that all of those angles require some advanced carpentry skills. I have a design for this that I could send you (I can design but not build)! I can't figure out how to post it here.

    I'd think more about hiding it with plants, trellis, maybe a nice patio umbrella overhead. Look at wire / wood frame gazebo structures, maybe that will give you an idea.

    In the end I agree with you, do what you can to reduce impact on the neighbors, but life in the city means you have to put up with their BS and they have to put up with your chickens. If they are real jerks, you can do what I did while in college and a neighbor complained about our clothes line - hang some REAL BIG bras and panties on the clothesline and use that to hide your coop!!!

    Good luck,

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