Repurposing a wooden playhouse/fort as a coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hiker125, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. hiker125

    hiker125 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a playhouse/fort made of pressure treated lumber that is in good shape structurally.

    The playhouse has a sandbox underneath and sits 40" above the ground. I am thinking that the coop would need to be lower than that. Is there an ideal height that a coop should sit off the ground?

    There are "doorways" in the front (to go down the slide) and in the back (to climb up into the "fort". so these would need to be enclosed and have a "people"door and a "chicken" door.


    Also the "walls" come up 1/2 way and consist of widely spaced boards. The roof is made of similar boards that are spaced about 1" apart. Not sure why, we just followed the plans that came with the kit. I am thinking of sheathing the whole thing with exterior engineered wood panels I saw at the Homedepot. Any other ideas?

    Should I insulate the walls? the roof? Usually we get one good snow per winter and several dustings and occasionally a period with sub-zero temps and our summers are really muggy and hot so I would want to have good ventilation/cross breeze.

    I am semi-handy but don't want to spend more money fixing this up than what I would spend on a ready made coop.

    Are there any other things that I should consider?
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't answer most of your questions, but I think 40" should be just fine as long as they have a ladder/ramp.
     
  3. hiker125

    hiker125 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I am very illegal here, so I was thinking that if I lowered the coop, my neighbors couldn't see what I was doing. [​IMG]


    According to our HOA, we aren't allowed to have any "sheds", which may be why the open design of the playhouse/fort was approved. Anyway, if I do leave it at 40" off the ground, should I just have a long ramp so it isn't too steep?

    Can you have a ramp that zig-zags? Can chickens handle that?


    This just also occurred to me- does dog poo pose any threats to chickens? What about the other way around? I scoop my yard very regularly (2-3X week), but there is always a chance that I overlook some. I plan to let the chickens in the yard when the dogs are inside and I am gardening so they wouldn't be around the dogs unprotected.

    So very much to think about......
     
  4. mboreham1

    mboreham1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it gets cold (under 30) in the winter you will want to provide a sheltered area, whether that be some exterior board or some left over shingles on the roof, either will work. You might want to look around in your neighborhood, i got 3 packets of left over shingle from a neighbor who just re did his roof, it was plenty for me to create a small covered area. Mainly they need protection from heavy winds, remember chickens are covered in feathers, what is cold to us is perfectly managable to them. They will roost next to each other if they get too cold, you can also add a heat lamp for a couple of the most frigid days.

    40" is fine, make a little ramp if you want, chickens have wings, as long as they are not 1 day old chicks, they will fly up easily to that height. Are you thinking of creating a run or letting them free range all over your yard? I started the free range all over the yard, i then got fed up of them eating everything that looked tasty and washing my hound because he thought chicken poop aftershave was the best thing ever, i disagree! So i bought some pre made picket fence pannels from Home Depot and fenced off a run for them.

    If the widely spaced boards allow the birds to fit through you might want to get some chicken wire and line the inside of the playhouse.

    You will get a lot of advice here about predator proofing, it can be expensive and obviously depends on what you have in your area, the worst we get is a skunk or possum, the dog keeps them away from my chickens. If you have coyotes or snakes you may want heavier duty wire to protect the chickens.

    You mentioned muggy, not much you can do for that, i live in N Cali, it gets to 100 here quite regularly, make sure there is plenty of water and some shade they will be fine.

    i have a coop that is wire mesh on 3 sides, 1/3 is boarded up so they have wind protection, i put a tarp over the mesh when it rains and snows and i have very healthy happy ladies.

    Chickens are not humans, they exist in the wild, living in trees, exposed to the elements, anything more luxurious than that will make them pampered ladies!
     
  5. BantamoftheOpera

    BantamoftheOpera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I beleive pressure treated wood isn't safe to use around animals.
     
  6. Mervin

    Mervin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Sure eating pressure treated wood is probably not a good for an animal. I've only known of one animal to try, a horse. People talk about run-off and this and that, but wouldn't there be a lot of dead sparrows and starlings under people's decks and in park if that were truly the case? If it were really that dangerous, they'd be making playgrounds out of Black Locust and not PT lumber.
     
  7. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Hi hiker125, 40" isn't far at all. My nest box area is about 40" and I have a 6 1/2' ladder (zig) for them to get to that area. The roosting area is nearly 8' (zag) up so I have a second ramp that takes them from the nest box area to the roost. That one is 8' long. You can sorta see it on my BYC page.
     
  8. hiker125

    hiker125 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It does get under 30 regularly during the day and night is much lower than that, so I was thinking that whole structure should be enclosed and insulated. Is that over-kill? I want layers, so I want those girls comfy! Our summer this year was awful, we had like 60+ days with heat index over 100 (that's heat plus humidity) so I want to be able to get some good circulation going.

    I am going to have a 50 sq ft outdoor run for them. I don't have ANY wildlife in my backyard, due to my dogs, but I plan on enclosing the run all the way around, including the bottom with hardware cloth so my basset hounds aren't tempted to engage their hunting instinct.


    Gallo thanks for the ideas on your page. I am so glad that I found you all (or y'all, depending on where you are!) [​IMG]


    BYC'ers are so helpful, creative and practical- my kind of peeps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  9. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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  10. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pressure treated wood isn't a problem for chickens because they don't chew wood the way parrots do. I would not recommend that you use chicken wire to secure any open areas of the coop because it won't secure it from predators; use welded wire (sometimes referred to as hardware cloth) instead. As far as ventilation goes, it's important, and the link given to you by a previous commenter to Patandchickens' page should give you everything you need to know on that subject. You will want to be closing off the gaps down at roost level and below with something solid to block wind in the winter, no doubt.
     

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