Playhouse Coop Conversion -- Your Advice Desired!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by diva esq, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. diva esq

    diva esq New Egg

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    Mar 2, 2013
    Dear Friends:

    We are considering converting the backyard playhouse (we call it the "barn") into a chicken coop. This is a fairly large structure (64" x 104" interior) and sturdy. I am thinking of converting 36" of it into the coop (36 x 64 = 16 square feet) and adding the run on the back of 36x110 = 27.5 square feet. I am posting pictures of several views of the barn. [​IMG]

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    I was planning to build across the barn with hardware cloth and a door on the interior, cut a hole to the run on the back, and a hole to nest boxes on the front. I thought I would also build a six foot high run enclosed by hardware cloth with another door off the back of the barn so I can easily get inside the run.

    San Francisco is surprisingly full of dangerous predators. Hawks, raccoons and skunks are just the start with coyotes living in nearby Golden Gate Park. I have two 8 yr olds and they will NOT be happy if any of our birds fall prey. So this sucker needs to be seriously safe. I have been reading here on the forums for several weeks and have some thoughts about how to do that, but with questions below.

    One final note is that I would appreciate all suggestions for how to save time in keeping chickens. I am willing to spend a little more money to save time.

    Having said all that, here are my questions:

    1. Looking at the floor of this structure, do you think it is sufficient to keep out predators or does more need to be done?
    2. I was planning to put a nest box on the exterior right beneath the window. Does that make sense?
    3. For the roost what is the best strategy for ease and speed of cleaning?
    4. Do I need both food and water both inside and outside?
    5. San Francisco limit is 4 chickens. Can I fit 4 chickens comfortably in this space, especially with a somewhat smaller run? Is 2 nest boxes sufficient for 4 chickens?
    6. When building the run, will it be sufficient to sink hardware cloth around the outside of the run? How deep will I need to sink it? Or should I do something else to make the run safe?

    Thanks everyone for helping this newbie, I really appreciate it!
     
  2. Creaking pines kids

    Creaking pines kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! 4 chickens will fit comfortably in this coop.

    2 nest boxes is definitely enough. My hens tend to want to all lay in 1 nest box.

    You do not need food and water inside and out. I have the food and water inside the coop.

    It is very easy to clean a poop board. It is a board underneath the roost that catches their poop at night.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  3. cknkids

    cknkids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't forget to add ventlation at the top of the coop.
     
  4. diva esq

    diva esq New Egg

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    Mar 2, 2013
    Thanks for your comments! What do you think is a safe way to create ventilation that will not allow the predators into the coop? Regarding the poop board, do you think it's possible to make one that I can pull out from the coop and clean on the exterior without having to go inside to get it? I'm trying to figure out if I can install something that slides out, maybe.
     
  5. Rachy

    Rachy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck with your project, it has the makings of a wonderful coop!!! [​IMG]
     
  6. cknkids

    cknkids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For ventilation you can cut holes higher up. There are some good threads in the learning center on it. Don't forget to cover any ventilation with 1/2" or 1/4" hardware cloth.
    Having a pull out poop board is a great idea. I'm sure you can get creative, wither it pulls outside or into the part of the barn that isn't being used by your hens.
     
  7. Mama Hen Chris

    Mama Hen Chris Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We used vent covers. Add hardwre cloth to prevent anything coming through.

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