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Author Topic: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?  (Read 2697 times)

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VirginVegGrower

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Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« on: February 14, 2011, 10:17 »
Hello everyone - I know zip about keeping hens, but love the idea of converting my daughter's old playhouse to a hen house! She's thrilled with the idea too and at 12 years her playhouse ideal is behind her. We have three floors to this playhouse and the steps I thought I could convert to a ramp. We have sleepers set in an oblong around the house with bark chips set inside that area. My questions are would they be OK in something like this? Are barkchips on hard standing OK - what would I need to base it on - grass/dirt? It would be a static home rather than movable. If I created a dust bath area for them would that suffice? What is considered a fox proof fence?

Any help/advice much appreciated.
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VirginVegGrower

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2011, 11:37 »


This is the playhouse in question!

andreadon

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2011, 15:33 »
great idea!

bark chips on hard standing would work fine - that'll be fox-proof underneath (and easier to clean)

you can buy mesh panels with 1/2" x 1/2" mesh to put round it - well, to the front would be okay. if it's got 3 floors, you could take the bottom front off and have that area as a weather-proof run (makign the necessary adjustments to the top floors)

VirginVegGrower

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2011, 22:39 »
great idea!

bark chips on hard standing would work fine - that'll be fox-proof underneath (and easier to clean)

you can buy mesh panels with 1/2" x 1/2" mesh to put round it - well, to the front would be okay. if it's got 3 floors, you could take the bottom front off and have that area as a weather-proof run (makign the necessary adjustments to the top floors)

From one Andrea to another - I love your ideas. Have looked at weld mesh - is that what you are thinking of? Or chicken wire?

Thanks in advance.

hillfooter

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2011, 23:50 »
It might sound a fun idea but I strongly suspect you are going to ruin what looks like a nice playhouse and end up with a very poor hen house.  Sorry to sound negative but why not sell the playhouse, which looks in reasonable condition, save yourself a lot of work and buy a purpose built hen house.  Poultry houses have a lot of design features born out of years of experience and if you don't know about chx needs you are going to make a lot of mistakes trying to convert what in all likelihood is an inappropriate building. Beginners always think a hen house is just a shed with chx which is far from true.

A few problems spring to mind just looking at it.  It's much too big for starters unless you want to keep around 50 hens.  A 1 metre square house will easily house around 12 hybrids.  Chx only need a house for roosting in at night and laying in if that's where the nestboxes are, though they can be separate if you wish.  A hen house needs to be snug and dark, weather proof and secure which means fox proof boarded, raised off the ground for warmth and to discourage rodents, lots of access for cleaning.  It needs to have baffled ventilation not draughty windows which let in light and wind.  It needs to be completely weatherproof with tongue and groove boarding or high grade sheet material.  Roof felt is a big no no as it harbours red mite, corrigated bitumen impregnated board such as Onduline is best.  Nestboxes ideally should be external.  

If you want to see what a simple to make but good design looks like see diggits post on a coop he is building from sheet material.  This has lots of practical design features which will help discourage red mite and be easy to maintain and be chicken friendly.  However I suggest the starting point is to learn about chicken keeping and methods of husbandry first before you think about housing.  Actually the base material is fine but run area you will need is at least 2sq m per bird and actually a well designed run is every bit as important as the house.  Chicken wire is not fox proof as it untwists if chewed or stressed too much, 19swg weld mesh is.  
Best of luck whatever you do.
HF
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 23:56 by hillfooter »
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min200

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2011, 10:07 »
I think you could make a cracking hen house with it but with the right modifications.  How about removing the first floor so you can stand up in it and convert the top floor for storage etc?  That way you could build a small coop in the corner for laying (out of the removed first floor) and have the ground floor as a run with the right mods for light and air circulation!

There are many ways of keeping chooks and for everyone you ask you will get a different answer!

Good luck with it!

VirginVegGrower

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 10:30 »
I think you could make a cracking hen house with it but with the right modifications.  How about removing the first floor so you can stand up in it and convert the top floor for storage etc?  That way you could build a small coop in the corner for laying (out of the removed first floor) and have the ground floor as a run with the right mods for light and air circulation!

There are many ways of keeping chooks and for everyone you ask you will get a different answer!

Good luck with it!
Sounds interesting - just don't want to sell it as you never get your money back. It also looks rather good in the garden and I figured the hens would have lots of room to be happy in.
Thank you!


hillfooter

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 12:11 »
I think you could make a cracking hen house with it but with the right modifications.  How about removing the first floor so you can stand up in it and convert the top floor for storage etc?  That way you could build a small coop in the corner for laying (out of the removed first floor) and have the ground floor as a run with the right mods for light and air circulation!

There are many ways of keeping chooks and for everyone you ask you will get a different answer!

Good luck with it!

"There are many ways of keeping chooks and for everyone you ask you will get a different answer!"

That's true however they aren't necessarily all right and there will be one way which is optimum for your birds and you in your situation.   I wasn't advocating either.  However what is being suggested here is to keep the birds in an indoor run simply because the house has more room than necessary.  This is putting the cart before the horse.  It might be best for them if the run is outside and they have the freedom to free range.

You are advocating constraining the method of keeping them simply determined by the play house and I can't agree that's right.  The starting point is what's best for the birds and second what's best for you and your lifestyle and thirdly what total facilities you can offer.  A run is every bit as important as a house which is first and foremost a secure roost and secondly a convenient nesting location.  Considerations of storage simply because there's room is at best a minor consideration particularly as this isn't an allotment situation. 

Hen houses are dusty places which can harbour parasites if not easy to clean, so not ideal for storage.  Personally I wouldn't be tempted to keep feed in the chx house as feed needs a dry location and should be in secure bins to discourage rodents and there's always some spillage.  It needs to be in a rodent proof location in which you can use control methods like traps and poison.
HF

orchardlady

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Re: Child's playhouse to chicken coop?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 12:16 »
I think I must agree with Hillfooter here. It is way too big for a small flock. They will be cold in the winter in that big void. Chickens like to squash up close together to keep warm. The roof will harbour red mite and you will simply fight a losing battle against them. I don't want to put you off keeping hens but red mite is the one thing that would make me give up keeping chickens and I've been keeping them for a long time now. If you sold the playhouse, you may well be right in thinking you won't get your money back but try to view it as having given your daughter some very happy play years and the money will go to a new more suitable hen house. If you are not handy with a hammer and saw may I suggest you look at Forsham cottage arks. They are expensive but excellent, both in design and construction and you won't be disappointed.

http://www.forshamcottagearks.com/


If you absolutely insist on using the play house go with the other suggestion by min200 of constructing a simple house within a house. If you do try to go for something that can be taken apart very easily for cleaning and parasite treatment or purchase a Forsham Ark that will fit in. By giving your ark this added weather protection you will extend it's life and give your birds a cosy dark place to be at night.

I'm afraid I cannot advise you on fox proofing runs as all my hens free range.

What ever you decide have fun and enjoy your project.

OL



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