Please advise on this coop


In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
Ankeny, IA
OK, I am learning more and more everyday about what I should have done, but this is what I have so far. We got a 10x10 dog run and two plastic dog houses for free and thought that we could use the dog houses for the chickens for the summer while we plan a winter worthy house. We covered the top with a tarp for some storm protection and shade.

I raised one of the dog houses up on a garage shelf and weighted it down with leftover landscaping brick. The kids built the ladder from scrap wood and the perch is just another piece of scrap wood.

The water is under another garage shelf that the girls love to perch on. So far the water isn't getting too gross. And the food is in another dog house on the ground, although sometimes they sleep in there.

This is a pic of the notorious chicken hot tub... What happens in the tub, stays in the tub!

And Iris relaxing

OK, So there are some problems. We had our first thunderstorm today and I spend the entire storm in the chicken run trying to keep water off of the tarp. I'm also having trouble trying to figure out what to do with the grass. Do I weed eat in there? Won't that scare the girls to death? Also, I don't have perches in the dog houses as the girls have mainly slept in a big huddle in the corner, do I need to put them in? My girls are about 8 weeks so I'm not worried about nesting boxes just yet.
How can I improve this run?
Don't worry about the grass. First the chickens will eat it, then their poop will make sure grass doesn't grow in there for a loooooooong time. Yes, they need perches, as they will want to perch at night when they get older. The biggest problem I see is the wide openings in the chain link, in areas that a chicken might sit against the fence. They pretty much sleep/perch where they want, like on the top of your dust bath, and if there's any chance they perch near a large opening, a raccoon could reach through and really hurt them. I've seen it happen a lot, even to a good friend of mine who thought her openings were small enough. You might also consider sinking some wire down into the ground, to keep anything from burrowing under.

I had one hen that slept on top of the coop. In 10 degree weather, when the others huddled up in shelter. She had more than enough sleeping choices, and she chose the top, in the open weather. So they can sleep in odd places. You just need to make sure it's all safe for them.
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Ok, my first few suggestions... move the water. I suggest you put it anywhere that isn't under where they perch. It doesn't need to be covered. Secondly, you will need some perches. Chickens like to sleep off the ground. You won't have to worry about the grass too long because it won't be there very long. Your chickens will eat it and scratch it up in no time. Think about protection. Animals will be able to dig under that quickly. How many hens do you have??
I have six girls, all for eggs and no plans to get more. I did put chicken wire at each corner and across the front side because of the gaps where the edges meet and at the door. We are in a newish devolopment and I have never seen any animals except the occasional cat. My DH said we did not need to bury the chicken wire?? I have seen the girls sticking their heads out and eating grass but as they always go in to the dog house at night I wasn't really worried. Are they only sleeping in there because they are still young? Did I put them outside too early?
They look more than old enough to be out there. Whereabouts do you live? I live a mile from the downtown Reno casinos, and we have to worry about raccoons. The further we get to the outskirts of the city, the more predators there are. I've noticed that just about every area has raccoons. You just don't see them because they're like evil demons that only come out at night, and watch you to be sure you don't catch them.
I'm in Iowa, In a suburb just north of Des Moines. So, I'm sure there are racoons in the city. I guess I thought my biggest problem was going to be the temp. extreems as we go from 100 in the summer to below 0 in the winter.
I'm in Iowa, In a suburb just north of Des Moines. So, I'm sure there are racoons in the city. I guess I thought my biggest problem was going to be the temp. extreems as we go from 100 in the summer to below 0 in the winter.

You have plenty of time to build something insulated for the winter. But you'll need to build it by fall. As far as the summer, you have tons of great ventilation there. So as long as you have shade and a good breeze, they should be fine.
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