Friday, May 19, 2017

Convert a playhouse into a cute chicken coop!

All of my chicken coops are quite different from each other and today I want to talk about my Silkie coop. We converted a plastic playhouse into a chicken coop. It's so stinking cute, that every time I post a picture somebody says "wait, that's really your coop? I thought it was from Pinterest!" lol Truth is, I can't take much credit for it...it was made that cute. I just added the chickens!

When I was looking to get a coop for my silkies, I had some very definite ideas about what I wanted. I knew it had to be tall enough to walk in. I knew it had to be super cute and I knew I didn't want to do wood again. We already did a wild west themed coop for our first coop so I didn't want a rustic look. Besides, wood coops are very difficult to keep clean. In any coop, poop and dirt end up pretty much everywhere. Walls ceilings...nowhere is off limits. Because of this, I like to power wash my coops yearly. The wood is just a giant pain in the butt to dry out each time you do that. 
                                                                               
Playhouse chicken coop

I was looking for a plastic coop and I had looked at several different sheds and storage units when I came up on a kids playhouse on Craigslist. When we went to look at it, I just fell in love with it. I could absolutely see my silkie chickens living here! It was a Victorian style playhouse with two bay windows, a set of double doors and two single doors. It had cute little porches on the front and back and window boxes for flowers.

The playhouse disassembled fairly easily. Two men took it apart and loaded it onto the trailer. We brought it back here to reassemble it but first we decided we needed to make a base for it. It's a standard wood platform sized exactly to the coop. It's nothing fancy, but it is sturdy.

The area we were putting in on wasn't real flat so we did prop it up on concrete cornerstones so we could level it. We filled it in with pea gravel and placed the playhouse on top of the platform.

Now that the coop was in place we added locks on each door. We simply screwed the latches right into the plastic. These were nothing fancy, just latches from Lowes. We flip the locks closed every night and add small grappling hooks through the lock hole. I don't really want to mess with keys each day, and this is enough extra security that small raccoon hands can't get them open!

locks | playhouse | chickens coop
We did not need to add ventilation to the playhouse. Where the walls meet the ceilings it's not quite flush at many different spaces. We left those for ventilation and didn't have to drill any holes or make any adjustments. None of the spaces were big enough for anything to get in. 

The only thing I could see getting in through those holes is a snake, but I've yet to see a snake be able to climb straight up the plastic. It is about 5 feet off the ground where these holes are. We haven't had any problem with the holes whatsoever although they could be stuffed with material if you needed to close. The holes are under the roof so water does not get in when it's raining.

We decided to run electric to the coop. My husband drilled a hole in the outside of the coop and ran the wires through there up the wall inside the coop. There is an outlet with a switch and the switch goes to a light bar on the ceiling. We chose to use LED lights. There's also a dimmer switch for the lights which is really convenient. 

(please excuse the dirt. Some of these pictures are from today and I haven't power washed yet this summer!)
run electric into chickens coop

It's nice to have the light in there as well as the outlet in case I want to use a heated water bowl in the winter. There is a wooden beam running the entire length of the playhouse. That was already in there for support all we did was mount the LED light bar to it.

The coop has two bay windows but it only has one window seat storage box and it consists of two pieces of plastic. One is the front and the other is the bench seat. You can put this in either one of the two bay windows. I put it in the back window. With the side window being empty space, we cut some boards to fit and place them in the slots in the wall as roosts. I believe at one point there were things you could buy to adjust the playhouse or expand it, and that's why there's all those notches in the walls. Those are the notches that we use to fit the roosting bars into. It works out perfectly.


In order to add nesting boxes I chose to use storage containers with an open front. These containers are designed to be stacked in your closet so you can reach in and get whatever you want. I put these on the floor since silkies do not fly very well. This way they don't have to struggle to get up to a high nest box.

Whenever I have a lot of birds in this coop I add extra empty cat litter containers that I've converted into Free nest boxes. I even paint them so they're kind of cute and match a little bit.

I also use that ceiling brace to hang a feeder so it's not sitting on the ground. I have the waterer sitting by the feeder on a paving stone. I use the space under the window seat as storage for extra feed and cleaning supplies.

This coop is really great because I can power wash it every year and it comes very clean. It only takes a few hours to dry out. 

The plastic this chicken coop is made out of holds up to the cold and it holds up to the heat. I have it situated under the trees right at the edge of the woods. This helps in to not overheat in the summer. I imagine if it was in full sun all day the windows would create a greenhouse effect. It only gets dappled sunlight where it is now.

I have had absolutely no problem with predators getting into the coop when the doors are shut and locked. I've had no rain leakage or snow getting inside. As long as it's shut and locked it stays watertight. It also doesn't matter how bad the winds are blowing the chickens are perfectly safe inside this converted playhouse.

When we got the coop it was estimated to be about 10 years old. That was about six years ago. So that should tell you how long you can expect something like this to last outside. There is very little wear on it. There's a few tiny stretch stress fractures here and there but there's not actual break down to it whatsoever. It's holding up really well

I think this is just the most adorable coop I have here on the farm! It's not terribly big, so it's a really good fit for the silkies. It was a fun project converting this playhouse into a chicken coop. 

~L
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