Please help me think.....I have an idea!! Photo heavy


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 1, 2010
First, brutal honesty is what I need. You will not "ruffle my feathers" on make me cry if you say "Laura, this won't work, duh!"

I want to keep chickens. It is my next step in homesteading.
I want to start with 5-6 birds for laying only. I want them to be pretty mild mannered birds so that the rest of my family, who thinks I am nuts, can 'get used to them' and not get their legs pecked off.
I want to do layers for a year, get the hang of it, and then increase my flock to layers, and meat birds.
SO I will need a coop that can "expand"......

I can spend money on (a) the coop OR (b) the fence and supplies. Not both.
I have put out 'wanted' posts on freecycle and craigslist, and I stalk both sites multiple times a day to see if 'something has come up'.
I was out weeding my raised beds......and got an idea.


There it sits in my back yard. Has for YEARS.
It is 16 feet long and 8.5 feet wide. 7.5 feet tall. It is well built.


This is the "play house". Below it is where you could put in a 'sand' box. We didn't it's just grass.


The play house is 4 x 3 and 4 feet tall.
The sand box area below is the same, only taller.

Can I turn this into a coop??
I would have to put in a floor....
I personally would love to do concrete, but I have to cost that out.
I figure I can take all summer to collect the materials to build this (if it can be done) off of freecycle, craigslist and the like.....and do it dirt cheap if not free. Then I can spend the money on a fence!!

IF I can turn this into a coop......can you tell me how? Throw some ideas at me?
Thank you so much!!
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10 Years
Sep 5, 2009
North Alabama
That is a total YES!! It can be a nice coop. I can't tell you how, although if you go to the main page and look in the coop section, There are a couple built out of sets like yours. Here is a link to one sort of like yours. It will take you a good part of the morning, but look through all of the coop sections. You can find some great ideas with what you have to work with.

Happy Chooks

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Jul 9, 2009
Northern CA
My Coop
My Coop
I think you could use the top part as the coop and the swing section as the run, might need to add supports to fence it in. Later, you could probably close off the bottom portion into another coop and have a run going the other direction. ETA: or take out the floor and make it so you can walk in easily. Either way, I'd use the swing area as the run.

*DISCLAIMER* all this advice is in my severely limited building experience.
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Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
Jacksonville, FL - Arligton-
I think with hardware cloth like an A frame tractor with the coop the upper box (needs a roof).

you need to bury the hardware cloth 2 feet deep or make a 2 foot skirting, or both.

They will roost on the steps up to the box, could have food and water in the or under the box. Put sand and grit and oyster shell into the 'under box' for bathing, grit and calcium...

I'd get a standard door and build it into the side at the same angle as the set is built. everything else hardware cloth except the top box which should be covered with a water proof roof.

I'd then put the water edge where I could fill it from outside (PVC pipe into the wall). I'd put one of those big waterers also with a water hose built on so I could fill it without going in. (this will make your family more comfy when they help take care of the birds- also when you go out of town so a pet sitter can do it w/o risking them escaping.

- another thing you can do is hang bird block from the places the swings are were- or cabbage- to keep them busy. Or there are hanging waterers and feeders... but ppl would have to go in to use them.

Oh that's also for FL where the temps are nice ... where are you?


9 Years
Jan 26, 2010
Central Texas
We used the sandbox portion from our daughter's playscape for the coop--just check out our page. She still uses the swings and sometimes the playhouse part so those were off limits to me (for now!). Since you have access to the whole thing it will be great.
I'm not sure about the expanding part, but to have the ability to use the top portion for the roost with a normal roof (vs flat that I had to create under the playhouse). The bottom portion could be part of the the nestbox area & run and the swings area could be the run as well. It will be plenty big enough for the chickens you mentioned, but maybe someone else can chime in with ideas on expanding. Good Luck & keep us updated with pictures


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 1, 2010
Let me add.......I live in Zone 5, so I need to make sure it's warm in the winter!!


11 Years
Aug 28, 2008
Lexington, Kentucky
Good luck, your vision will come to life. Heck, I use an old rabbit hutch for a bachelor pad, so anything can work. They just hop in there at night and I lock the door. I'd try and add on some nest boxes to the side, with a lift up lid. If you leave the floor as it is, the poo may fall out, but it'd be in your sand box/dust bath. Hum, maybe a tray "under" it to catch it that slides out? Just thoughts. Give us pics as you progress. HenZ


Veggie Chick
12 Years
Mar 22, 2010
Saratoga County, NY
we just did this, thanks to help from people on this forum (search on a post from me titled 'think I can make anything out of this?'). Here's what we came up with..

From this:


to this:


It's not perfect and we're still working on it, but we have NO experience building stuff (if you could not tell LOL)..


9 Years
May 18, 2010
Semora NC - on the VA line
I say make a chicken condo! You can more than easily build it using the playhouse as the frame!!!!

Top and bottom, clap it up with plyboard the bottom of the playhouse get a tray so you'd be able to slide out the bedding and poop, you can go ahead and just build the top coop and one side (the swing area) as an A frame run (do a search and just add about 3-4 2X4's on each side of the swing main beam to create panels to make the wire/hardware cloth more sturdy...and you can even make one of the panels into a door!) or you could create a door on the end of the run! you wouldn't need cement at the bottom, i'd just leave it dirt/grass and cover the bottom with sand as a substrate easy to scopp out and clean and they can also dust bathe in it. I'll see if I can't make you an ugly rough sketch of what i'm talking about. but if you just want to save on money for right now for 5-6 layers just ply board the top, add a sturdy roof and some ventilation along the roof and fix a door for yourself to be able to reach into there and pull out the litter tray ,on the 'front' or 'back' side of the top part for now, and make you a ramp going down from a hole into the run part. it would be pretty darn easy, it wouldn't take too much work really. Your main money would be spent on a couple pieces of plyboard, 2X4's, and fencing/hardware cloth. If you do an A frame run tack a tarp over the top of the end nearest the coop, to give chickens a dry spot and shade since the playset looks to be right out in the middle of the yard.

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