Swing set coop conversion?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AmericanKraut, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. AmericanKraut

    AmericanKraut Songster

    Jun 2, 2014
    Hi Everyone!

    I'll have my first flock this spring. I'm trying to come up with a coop plan before then. It sounds like the ready-made ones (outside of a light-use, small, urban yard) are pretty rickety and not secure for predators. Coops made by professional carpenters and builders are beautiful and well-made but expensive for someone like me that's new to this. That might be something to grow into.

    So I'm looking at trying to build something but I have some physical limitations, so I can try to enlist some help and have some possible likely candidates. Or maybe I can get creative and repurpose something that will take less building time and money.

    This idea might be odd, again I'm new to this. So your advice and wisdom appreciated! I've been charmed by the chicken tractor "arks" and their old world look, especially because we live in a rural historic Scandinavian town. There's a guy locally on Craigslist selling some lovely ones for $1400 Cedar Chicken Tractor:


    but these are too small for the number of hens I feel comfortable putting in them, especially over a long, cold winter. There is just a narrow strip up top as the coop connecting two nest boxes. More power to the guy making these, they're beautiful, but out of my price range especially for the size.

    Do you think I could repurpose a wood swing set to make a large version (of course it wouldn't be mobile). I could still have a run beneath (and possibly attached to the side) and maybe a separate lightweight portable run to move around the yard. But with the height of a swing set there would be lots of space for a coop if the floor was level with the stretchers at the A-frames of swing set and went upward and then the run beneath that, to look just like the arks. Cedar siding could be added to the coop section with panels that open and ventilation, and hardware cloth to the bottom. A natural stain and maybe some other woodwork trim to finish.

    Here'd be the rough frame to start:



    Otherwise I'll round up some help and make a coop from plans.
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
  3. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan Renaissance man

    Feb 18, 2013
    Music City, USA
    I think you are spot on.

    That guy makes nice coops but he is really proud of them for what they are.

    The existing swingset frame could be a good starting point for your coop. If I were you I'd start designing on paper using the actual measurements of the swings to calculate how high up the floor of the coop should be above the run and how you'll fit the ramp into the run, the food/water and nesting box(es). Beyond that, it is just a matter of buying wood and nailing it together.

    It sounds like you have a clear idea of what you want and have put some thought into this. I think you'll do well because of this measured approach. Good luck!
  4. AmericanKraut

    AmericanKraut Songster

    Jun 2, 2014
    You guys are great! Thanks so much for the encouragement to do this! I think by far it's probably the most affordable option, the least time-investment, and could still be a very curb-appeal attractive coop depending on how many details we add, even over time.

    21hens-incharge, the link to the other post is very helpful, especially the pictures.

    HandsomeRyan, drawing it out will help me get this going. I got the idea while doing dishes and looking out the window at an identical swing set in sight out there. I saw the chicken ark in my mind with the shape of it and then thought, well now there's an idea. On Craigslist is the swing set in the photo above in my post, just $50. That's a good deal for the lumber alone, and it's already bolted together. Drawing it out will give me a good bridge into building rather than puttering around dropping beams on my feet in the garage. Which is what will still happen. By the way, the floor and all for this gives me a bit of a good reason to get a Kreg jig finally right?

    I agree with that guy being really proud of his coops. I guess they must be selling at that price. But I could not only build a huge, really nice coop at that price, I could pay a professional builder and contractor to make one of a much larger size, to fit my needs a whole lot better.

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