Newbie Seeking Coop Suggestions; EDIT: Show Me Your Doghouse Coops!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LanaBat, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. LanaBat

    LanaBat Out Of The Brooder

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    Hiya! I've been researching coops for quite a while. I even went back many, many pages in this thread category's history. I really wish I or someone I knew was handy enough to make some of the gorgeous coops people here have constructed by hand, but alas, my talents are restricted to writing and painting. It would cost as much to buy all the tools and supplies I need as it would to buy a prefab one, round about.

    So... I'm looking for opinions! I am trying to find one that'll fit at least 3 hens comfortably (they will have a run), not be too terribly obvious or cause too much of an eye sore (we are in town, but have only one close neighbor), but be fairly predator resistant (raccoons, foxes, possums, oh my!) and insulated for the winter. I'm in Northwest Indiana, if that helps give an indication for what kind of weather I need it to handle.

    I was originally going to buy from Comfy Pets on eBay, due to the good price and look, but after a lot of researching I'm not sure about them anymore. I keep running into reports of flimsiness and overall crappy quality.

    Does anyone have any Ware products? I was interested in these:
    http://www.petco.com/product/112388/WARE-Premium--Chick-N-Cabin-Chicken-Coop.aspx
    http://www.petco.com/product/112387/WARE-Premium--Chick-N-House-Chicken-Coop.aspx

    I also really like this, but it's a little outside of my budget at the moment:
    http://www.amazon.com/Handcrafted-C...1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1281408579&sr=8-1

    I've got a brooder all set up, and everything else I could possibly need... I just need a coop and chicks! Does anyone have any other ideas that I could possibly look into? My eyes are weary from all the researching, googling, and ebaying I've done! Sigh!

    Thanks for any advice!

    ****EDIT****

    Thanks for all the suggestions and opinions! I'm still looking at prefab coops... but I think I really want to explore making small coops out of doghouses until I can afford one of these fancy prefabs (the Eglu Cube is my dream chicken house!). I have picked up one off Freecycle and I think I might be able to do something with it, given some ideas!

    I picked up a plastic one in great shape, just dirty. I keep hearing people have made coops from doghouses. I really want to see some pictures and see what was altered and HOW you altered it (tools, supplies, etc). Dimensions are great, too, and what kind/how many chickens you keep in comfortable without any behavioral problems is a plus to know!

    Don't be shy! Show me some pictures! [​IMG]

    I'll get some pictures of the doghouse I picked up soon!
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  2. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    most prefab coops aren't worth it AT ALL. most are made of poor grade materials and don't hold up a year in the open elements...

    Best thing you can do is buy a small wood storage shed, fix you a pop door, window, cross vents at top, and roosts yourself and add milk crates for nest boxes on a shelf. [​IMG] that or go to a local carpenter and show them a design of a prefab you like and ask them to do a close re-construction with REAL materials not composites and cheapo stuff. I swear you'd regret putting 300-600$ into a prefab coop from some of these places around and only have to buy your chickens a new home next year because its falling apart. [​IMG]
     
  3. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Quote:What she said! I've got 2 hutches from Ware and they were crap within a year. Even after I painted them. Check craigslist to see if you can find one. Folks here will give you an idea if it's worth the price or not. Or find a handyman on craigslist to build you one. Lots of plans out there.
     
  4. LanaBat

    LanaBat Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmmm... [​IMG] Well, that's disappointing, but I really would rather have it last and be good for my future girls. I'm just trying to find the best route for me since I am limited on tools and skill and do not have a truck or have any close family or friends with a truck (so I'd HAVE to have it delivered-- no way my little Beetle is gonna get it anywhere). I've seen some promising stuff on craigslist, but they want pick-ups.

    Do you think I could find a decent handyman on Craigslist (a site I LOVE, but am always wary of when going into territory I am unfamiliar with, like commissioning someone) to build me a decent coop that can be DELIVERED? Otherwise, I feel like I'm pretty much stuck with a prefab.

    I thought about going the doghouse route and trying my best to put one together. I also saw someone do something pretty with a cheap bathroom vanity.

    Thanks for the suggestions, guys!
     
  5. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    A large doghouse on stilts will work! Just make a ladder for them.

    And you can put the dog house in the dog kennel run and make sure you have some kind of roof cover on top of the run.
     
  6. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southern Illinois
    Even on the prefab coops, I doubt you will find one with insulation. You will have to add that yourself, sorry. The last coop kit I got, I had to add ventilation and predator proof my window screens and this was designed for chickens. To me, that should have been part of the deal.
    As far as delivery being a problem, I have had small sheds moved before by a flatbed towing company when I couldn't find a truck to borrow. With the economy the way that it is, I know some companies around here that had some repo sheds that they were selling for half off the original price. A gentleman I work with just got a really nice yard shed this summer for only $250, and it was delivered.
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    If you were going to spend the money required for that A-Frame from Amazon, I'd suggest spending the same amount and getting this one instead: http://www.petco.com/product/112390/WARE-Premium--Chick-N-Lodge-Chicken-Coop.aspx?CoreCat=FamilyCrossSell

    I
    totally understand about not having the time, skills, or inclination to build something yourself. I built my first coop, an A-Frame, and whilst I was very proud of it, I still bought a construction kit coop off eBay for my small flock. It is similar to the Ware products - one of the Cumfy Pets coops, actually. It was worth it to ME, and while the hardware and wood were less than medium duty strength, that coop worked well enough in the area where I live. It survived a wet winter (wet for California, that is) and bakingly hot heat. I've since built a new coop, and purchased a coop constructed by a local builder, but my circumstances have changed, too.

    Good luck with whatever you decide! Basically, you can build something shoddy, or buy something less than REALLY STURDY, but if you put up a good, sedure run around it, your flock will still be safe. Chickens don't care. They just want a safe place to sleep, shelter from weather, plus food, water, some treats and a dust bath opportunity every day.

    Or you can build a Taj Mahal. Or pay for one to be built. Or transmorgrify a Little Tike's plastic playhouse into a coop. Or a dog house. Whatever works for you and satisfies the above necessities.
     
  8. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought a Ware Chickn Barn. can't say it was a total mistake because I learned alot and after A LOT of modifying and paint I hope it wll last many years.

    I used a few ideas from it to build another coop from scratch.

    This is the ware product with 3 coats of primer. Still needing two coats of colored paint. The wood was such poor quality I knew it was dissolve in months on the ground so I put it up on a platform.


    [​IMG]

    Painted

    [​IMG]

    Next coop built from scratch along the lines of the Ware coop, but with qulatiy materials.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Lady Henevere

    Lady Henevere Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome, LanaBat!

    I LOVE my Eglu Cube. Here's my review of it with some pics. I keep five chickens in it and they are happy and healthy. Other users have been very satisfied with theirs as well, as far as I know. It's heavy-duty, well insulated, well-ventilated, and I am convinced that there is not another coop anywhere that is easier to clean. It doesn't leak, it doesn't rot, and it's very mite-resistant. I've had mine for over a year now and I can't recommend it highly enough. The only thing that's not perfect about it is the attached run -- it's too small for my five hens. I have them in a larger fenced yard so they have more space. It would probably be sufficient if you were going to tractor it around, though. Eglu makes some different versions too -- Google the company and you'll find their site with different options.

    Good luck with your chickens!
     
  10. LanaBat

    LanaBat Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Hobart, IN
    Thank you guys SO MUCH for all your wonderful insights and suggestions. It has definitely helped me in my decision making process. I'm such an indecisive person and want to do what's best for my future girls!!

    To Columbiacritter, I LOVE what you did with your ware coop. It's so very cute!

    I really think I am going to steer clear of the shoddy wooden ones... A problem I have where my house is situated is that my land is often very soggy. We have a back yard and a side yard, but the side yard downgrades into the woody patch and becomes a small marsh. About 20-25 yards, our backyard also downgrades sharply into a creek connected with the marsh. We also have a CRAPLOAD of carpenter ants around here (something I've never seen before until I moved up here from Texas-- I was only accustom to those blasted invading fire ants! I'm hoping maybe the hens will make a feast out of them?!) I'm thinking of going with an Eglu Cube (thank you, Lady Henevere!-- LOVE that name, haha!) to be safe, because I've gotten a few people who have praised them so well. I thought to stay clear 'cause they were so expensive and small, but now...

    If I decide to invest in an Eglu, what are the cons I should consider and how can I make it better?
     

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