Using a doghouse as coop? Inexpensive coop ideas?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SmittenChickens, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. SmittenChickens

    SmittenChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2012
    I've got all the materials for my run. Yay! :) Now I'm thinking about the coop.

    Does anyone use a doghouse? I found this on and it's very cute:

    Would that work? It has vinyl over the door, would chickens know how to walk through that? I like that it's plastic, it would be easily disinfected and cleaned. :)

    Or if anyone has some good ideas for inexpensive coops that are easy-clean, that would be great.
  2. thebanthams

    thebanthams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2010
    Safford, Arizona
    Depends on how many chickens you have... You can use the dog house for coop but it will be too small, they wont walk into the vinyl door. For your best investment you better built a bigger one.
  3. SmittenChickens

    SmittenChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2012
    Sorry, should've included that! I'm getting 2 or 3 bantams. :)
  4. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    I have that dog house and it is not nearly as sturdy as it appears. A strong predator or a good wind could easily destroy it.
  5. Brookhavens

    Brookhavens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2012
    I would also worry about ventilation in a plastic coop. It would probably be okay for a couple of chickens but any more than that and you will definitely need something bigger. If you are trying to save some money look at using pallets for the coop depending on where you live. They are a pain in the neck to remove boards but when the cost is free it can be easily overlooked.
  6. SmittenChickens

    SmittenChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2012
  7. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I'm not sure what the climate is like where you are, but I've often eyed the used kitchen cabinets at the ReStore (Habitat for Humanity's thrift store). A large bottom cabinet is usually around $35. You could take out the drawer and put hardware cloth over the opening for ventilation (perhaps saving the drawer front and putting it on hinges so that you could close the window in cold weather. It already has doors that could be modified to use as a pop door or egg door. Would probably have to do something about the roof, building a slanted one to shed water. Then the question would be whether you'd need additional protection from harsh winters.
  8. jvp0719

    jvp0719 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2012
    Dutchess County, NY
    Have you thought about asking for a Coop or Rabbit House on Freecycle? I got a great Chicken Coup free just by asking. Someone was moving and gave it to me. I love Freecycle.
  9. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    It definitely needs to be very sturdy and enough space is really important. Predators can be a big problem depending on where you live. I think you could possibly start with a dog house but I wouldn't pick a plastic one because you can not modify it easily and a lot of them really aren't that strong. Also, you always want to consider ventilation.

    I live in the city so I was not only limited in budget but also in yard space and in what materials I could bring home in my very small car. Below is what I ended up with. I made it out of those premade fence boards they sell at home depot that are pretty cheap and an old wooden bookcase I already had. The most expensive thing I bought was the hardwire cloth but that stuff is totally worth it. It ended up costing me a total of about $250 including a small fence that you can not see in the picture. It took me one weekend to build and paint.

    The top is roosting and nesting and the bottom is a small sort of run. I let them free range most days but can shut then in when the weather is bad. I have 6 chickens (4 regular sized and 2 bantum)

    Another thing I would recommend is to build for more chickens than you have. I have not met anyone yet you didn't go out and get a few more after they started (This is coop 2 because that is what I did also and the first one was too small). Cheaper in the long run to have a little more than you need and to not have to make repairs.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  10. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    I have this one. I bought it for my very first chickens. I added a 2-in dowel inside for them to perch on. I also set it up on a frame so it would be off the ground and offer an area for them to find shade under. I put a cupboard door on it. I also put in a small block on the two front corners where the lid comes down so they've have ventilation.

    After a year, I now use it for a grow out/broody coop only. I have nothing in it year round. You really would only have enough room for 2 standard/3bantam birds. Its just under 10 sq feet inside. The hinges are also weak. It is nice to open and clean out though. I have replaced the hinges with a better after market set. ALSO, cleaning is a breeze since the floor is remove able in 3 sections. SO, if you have a predator proof run, that is roofed as well, you could take out the center floor section, and build a ramp down from that and the birds would be able to go in and out at will. There is NO ROOM for a nest box however... That is why I only use it for growing out.

    For this 100 you are going to spend on it, you can spend that same amount, and build a box that is 4x4x4. You'd need 3 sheets of ply, 10-2x4s, screws, and hinges... It's a simple box. Only you'd have one piece of the ply cut at 3 feet and 5 feet sections. The other too pieces of ply cut in 4 feet sections. You will then have to angle cut two of the 4x4 sections so that one side is 4 feet and the other side is 3 feet. This will give you your slanted roof. You could even hinge it if you wanted. Add some ventilation, heat vents are great for this. Oh, and cut in a door on the front that is large enough for you to be able to clean out. All in all, you'd spend 100 bucks, do it yourself, have a stronger and more durable coop. You could find some of the things you'd need at a habitat for humanity resource store... Use an 18 gallon tote flipped over, with a hole in the side for the girls to use as a nest box, or two, one on top of the other, or side by side. Then, you could have 4-6 birds comfy enough even if they had to stay inside because of snow..

    You will not be happy with the dog house as a full time coop. You really won't. Its OK for chicks and mama hens to raise some chicks, but not for laying hens. It also works nice for meat birds to sleep in at night... I have used it for that too.

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