Turning a Rabbit Hutch into a Chicken Coop? UPDATED WITH PICTURES

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by iBoodle, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. iBoodle

    iBoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 10, 2011
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    I am currently trying to figure out how I want to turn my chickens' "coop" into a real coop.

    Right now they live in a rabbit hutch that looks almost exactly like this: http://tipdeck.com/how-to-build-a-rabbit-hutch (minus the nice looking newness of the whole thing [​IMG])

    I want it to have a run attached to the bottom, new sides (right now it's just mis-matched plywood that I hammered onto the sides), nesting boxes, and a roost.

    I want any and all tips on how to accomplish this!

    Here is what I had so far:

    -Roost: just a good sized branch?

    -Nest box: cardboard box from Costco? (We go there enough; I could replace it at least once a week!) Or a dog carrier taken apart into halves?

    -And for the sides, I saw on here that eventually plywood would breka down, so someone suggested a certain type of siding, and I can't remember the name of it! So, if you know it, please tell me. [​IMG]

    - Hardware cloth! To keep those pesky predators out.

    Let me know if what I am thinking is all wrong!
    :yiipchicken
    Becca

    EDIT: I also only have 2 chickens, so I figure that the coop they live in now has ample room for living, they just need a run!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  2. dawj

    dawj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    plywood will last a longgg time if you prime and paint it [​IMG] as a matter of fact I have a shed over 15 yrs old with plywood just primed and its still good.... note though any wood that touches the ground will rot even pressure treated ovet time. So if your plywood is off the ground and you paint it you should be fine [​IMG]
     
  3. Theapplechicks

    Theapplechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    HA! We used one exactly like this for this years chicks! You could add a run and it would be fine. It's a little small for them to roost but we did put a couple hole and took a big stick and used it. As for the nest box they just used the enclosed side of it. I didn't add a run to it, what we did is purchased a dog kennel kit and just put this "coop" inside that kennel. They go in and out as they please We have several roosts in the kennel part as well at different heights that they sit on. In this heat though they seam to enjoy laying under the "coop" in the dug up dirt.... You can make it work though for sure. We did. I'd like to get something a little nicer eventually but for now it works.

    oh and yes, paint it. Our other coop was starting to warp and it was made of good solid wood so we painted it and it's fabulous now.
     
  4. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you post pix of the actual one you have? That way we can see what you've done with it. [​IMG]

    My girls' first coop was a re-purposed small aviary (for finches). I don't have a before shot, unfortunately, but here it is after. This was for 2 hens. The coop was 5 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and it lived inside a 10x10 chainlink dog kennel (covered w/ wire top and w/ hardware cloth apron added).

    It had hardware cloth sides, which I covered with plywood. I made an access door that doubled as a ramp.

    [​IMG]

    I left a vent area at the top.

    [​IMG]

    Inside, there was a 2x4 roost and a nest box made from a cat litter bucket.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

    Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am planning on turning my rabbit hutch into a brooder this summer, once I finish the coop I am working on. I don't think it will be too hard!
     
  6. adgcountrygirl

    adgcountrygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    iBoodle,

    Our are chicks are turning 12 weeks in the next few days. They are still using a rabbit hutch as a coop. I don't close the door any more, because the pen that their coop is in was origninally an 8x12 x5.5 feet tall dog kennel. We covered the chainlink with hardwire cloth on all sides and the bottom. We have a commercial grade tarp over the top for shade and weather protection. There are cross-bars bent and wired together to make a way for the water to run off the top. It is also surrounded by trees. One side is flush with the dogs' yard. The other 3 sides are inside the dogs' yard. When I am home, I let the dogs out of their yard and close the gate. Then I open the chickens' pen and they roam the bigger yard for bugs and greens. The dogs check all the property lines and then they either lay in the front yard by the porch, or they lay along the back fence of the dog/chicken pens. I wet down both areas to keep them cool, and I dump their big water tub so the chickens can scratch in the mud and get cool too. Only 2 of our chickens roost in the coop now with it being so warm even at night. The rest go to roost on top or on the big mesquite branches that fell off of our big trees. I have one braced up in a standing/leaning position and the other is laying like a log on the ground. We won't be working on the new coop till late August or early September. As long as they have enough shelter from suprise storms, they should be fine. Ours got under their hutch coop and some got in it during the last storm.
     
  7. iBoodle

    iBoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, so I am going to buy new plywood and paint it/prime it, and I will paint the coop itself. I want it to be a nice blue. [​IMG]

    I saw somewhere on here that people used cat litter containers turned on their sides for nest boxes. I don't have a cat but I am sure I can find something similar to use.

    Pawsplus, I don't own a camera but I do have a video camera. Later today I will try to take a video of it and then I'll see if I can put it up. It still is essentially the same hutch in the picture; just not green wire, older, and no wood paneling on the door.

    Also, most of you seem to have the dog kennel for a run. That would be my first choice for my chickens! But even on craigslist they cost too much. [​IMG]

    Thanks for your tips, keep them coming!

    Becca
     
  8. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found my 10x10x6 dog run on Craigs list for just $100. It's honestly hard to put up a decent run made of ANYTHING for less than that, and obviously the more predator-proof the wire the more it costs. So $100 is really a great deal! I spent an additional $40 or so for wire to cover the top and for hardware cloth for the apron. IMO it's better to save up for a while if necessary and do it right, rather than taking risks w/ cheaper materials and then regretting it later. [​IMG]
     
  9. iBoodle

    iBoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 10, 2011
    Idaho
    I haven't found anything under $100 so far.....

    But I did talk to my dad today about a run, and he said he would fence in the "dog run" (which is just a dirt lower part of our yard) so the chickens could scratch around in there. But I still want him to build a small run so they can get out of the coop whenever, especially in the winter!
     
  10. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:We built a run that was 12'x19' using salvaged lumber, and the wire to cover it still cost $130 (we did not use hardware cloth, but we did 2"x4" wire with a smaller hex netting along the bottom 2' and as an apron). If you can find a chain link run you'd still want to cover the bottom 2' with wire with smaller holes to keep yours from sticking their heads out.

    You can also buy pressure treated plywood if any part of that is touching the ground. It will cost a bit more, but last longer!
     

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