Newbie seeking advice: "hacking" Ikea tv stand into coop for two


In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2016
Hi all,

We are looking to acquire two young chickens from a local farmer. I plan to "hack" an old Ikea tv cabinet into a coop for two chickens. I read several books about coops, but there are still a few things I'm unsure about. In particular:

*do the nesting boxes have to be high (eg a second story inside) or can they be on the ground floor?
*how high up do the roosting rods have to be up off the floor?
*and (relatedly) how high is the distance that a chicken will go without a ladder, and what distance requires a ladder? If the roost is 6" off the ground will the chickens just jump up there?

the interior of the cabinet is 23.5" high by 22.5" deep by 35" wide. I will replace the Ikea cardboard back panel with one of the two former interior shelves, with a window and a door cut into the back to provide access to the run. (there will also be a 1" gap at the top that I will enclose in wire for more ventilation. The whole thing will get a layer of exterior paint and I'm looking into some simple slanted roof options, maybe corregated metal.

After a number of sketches, I'm down to two interior design possibilities. I'd love advice from more seasoned chicken folks.

One plans to elevate the 12" cubed nesting box so there is 11" clearance underneath for more ground space. This would require adding a porch to get to an attached 2nd story roost, and an interior chicken ladder to get up there. From what I've read chickens like being high. But all this will be a bit more complicated to construct.

The alternative (below) proposes to put the 12" nesting box right on the floor in front of the openable tv cabinet doors (to make for easy harvesting of eggs, on the bottom of the image) and to attach a removable roost set up right next to it (also in front of the doors for easy removal/cleaning). It would always be possible to elevate these in the future, or alternatively to add in a second story interior porch hand out area onto of and extending beyond the nesting box.

Any flaws jump out at you? one of them decidedly better than the other?
This one is wood except the back panel, which I'm replacing. It isnt MDF.

Do you have any feedback on the particular questions I asked?
Update on day 1 construction progress: I made a nesting box and a roosting bar out of one of the shelves, with extra wood left over. Using the second solid wood shelf to put in the back wall (which in ikea style had been cardboard). That back wall will contain the door/ramp and some wire-covered ventillation at the top (because the shelf width is 2.5 inches short of the height).

Still would love some feedback from more experienced folks. Door in the middle of the back wall? off to one side? Anything you see that I'm missing and should be worried about?

I'm still not sure whether/how to cover the nesting box. I have read that chickens like to feel cozy, which suggests it should be covered. but i've also read that they may roost on the highest point, and any ceiling i put on that nesting box is at best going to be level with the roosting bar. I thought a bit about getting some plastic leaves from Hobby Lobby and recreating a sort of natural "treecover" feeling that might feel cozy to a laying hen but might not look stable enough to encourage anyone to try to roost on it.?

The sketches didn't help much, but the last photo makes it a bit more clear. The TV stand seems unconventional, but might work. At least as good as some of the dinky commercial coops. Curious to see what happens when it gets wet. Most interior furniture is not put together with exterior glues. It may blow itself apart or may hold up just fine. Time will tell.

What is your climate, as in where do you live, approximately?

I was thinking you might be able to screw some legs to the corners and elevate this contraption up off the ground, to make a small outdoor run beneath it. How you might implement that would depend on how severe your winter weather is.
Here's the finished product. We lifted the cabinet to make some shades space below. Fence is dug in 6". Top of run opens up to allow easier cleaning, though mostly I just hang over rather than get in. I'm waiting on some uv protected window darkening clings that will close off the glass to make it cozy.



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