Playhouse Chicken Coop

When we moved to our new house we had to start from scratch building a chicken coop.  I ordered a cheapy prefab coop online to house the 3 hens we brought from the old house.  The coop and run was small, but it did the trick until I had the time (and money) to create something bigger and better.  If I had all the money in the world, I would hire someone to build a super fabulous dream coop – but that’s not my reality.  As you may have guessed, I’m more of a DIY/Repurpose kind of gal.  The end result? A chicken coop made from a kids playhouse.  What do you think?

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FYI – The coop was put on top of two pallets that were covered with stapled down linoleum.

Step by Step How To:

1. Clean & Paint

Find an old playhouse (you can usually trash pick one or find a freedie on craigslist). Take it apart and clean the heck out of it.  Then let it dry completely.  (The house I got had mice nests inside….ew.)

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Once you have decided on the colors, lay plastic pieces on a blanket and start spray painting.  Krylon and Rustoleon both sell spray paint for plastics.  Read the spray bottle and make sure it’s made for outside and plastics.  You really only need to spray the outside of the playhouse, the inside doesn’t matter.  Make sure you read the label and allow for the correct amount of drying time in between.

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2. Weather & Predator Proofing

Once the paint is dry, it’s time to start making sure all the parts are weather tight and predator proof.  Starting with the door, I used heavy duty plastic (sold at walmart in the fabirc section) and chicken wire to cover the holes in the door.  The plastic allows the light to still come in, but protects the hens from the rain, wind, etc.  The chicken wire keeps out any predators that might try to scratch their way through the plastic.  I caulked the edges for extra sealing, but I don’t think it’s necessary.  I used screws designed to hold the chicken wire in place (like this).

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Attach plastic and chicken wire over the windows.  Again, you want light to come in.

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Since there were 4 windows in the coop, I covered 2 of them with plastic and chicken wire and the other two I covered with repurposed lids of old plastic bins.  My kids helped to decorate those windows with permanant markers which was then coated with a clear coat of spray paint.  The white color still lets some light in.

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Now for the tricky back window.  In my coop, there was a gaping whole in the back of the playhouse.  I formatted a hinged door to cover the hole.  This allows access from the back to clean it out.  At first I thought it would be a good “egg collection” door, but you will see I didn’t end up putting the nesting boxes there. I put another piece of heavy plastic to help prevent drafts under the “flap door”.

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Now you can put the pieces together to finish the inside and finishing touches.

3. Fixing Up The Entryway

First, add some kind of predator proof latch to the door.  I also added a hook and eye latch to prop the door open and also keep the door from flapping in the breeze.  I also found that when it rained, the rain blew in the front door, so I added an overhang using an old plastic bin lid.

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4. Preparing The Inside

You’ll need to add some kind of roosting bar and nesting boxes.  The playhouse I used had a little shelf on the inside.  I thought it would be a great place for the nesting boxes.  I added supports on the sides of the shelf and put a little ladder together. Then I added some more plastic bins (can you tell I have a bunch laying around?) Here is what it looked like the first time.

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I quickly found out that the girls would roost on the nesting boxes at night and (ahem) poop inside the nesting boxes.  Yuck.

So I reconfigured the nesting boxes and put them on the floor under the shelf and attached some peices of wood to the shelf for roosting.  Since the hens didn’t seem to use the ladder, I took out the ladder to make more room.  This is what it looks like now and it has worked much better.

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Now all you have to do is add wood chips, water and food and you’re good to go!  Total cost was about $100 – which was mostly paint.  The fencing was another $100.  Considering most new coops cost over $500 NOT including a fence, I think my $200 project is pretty awesome!

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Things I will probably still do to make it even better:

– Secure the playhouse to the pallets with “L” brackets.

– Secure the pieces on the inside with “L” brackets and then seal the seams with caulk.

– Add a vent out the top that can be opened and closed. (Right now the natural breeze through the seams provides air flow, but I worry the draft will be too cold this winter.)

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on how I could make the coop even better! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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11 thoughts on “Playhouse Chicken Coop

  1. TonyaAyars November 14, 2013 at 9:42 am Reply

    looks great. Maybe some day we will have chickens.

  2. Marie May 9, 2014 at 12:27 am Reply

    So you’ve had this since at least November, how’s it holding up, any new tips? I just built one like it (thanks for sharing your post!!) and would love to hear updates! Thanks! 🙂

    • Mama Nice May 9, 2014 at 6:55 am Reply

      The Playhouse Coop is still holding up and doing well, thanks for asking! This PA winter was rough, but we made it through. Our new property is very windy and I did need to secure the top with screws to keep it from blowing off. I also secured the coop to the pallets with “L” brackets, just in case. I would also recommend lining the inside bottom or caulking it. Moisture seeps in along the bottom, but since I use a deep little method it doesn’t ever get to the chickens. We did lose two chickens this winter, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the coop. Wry Neck and Internal Egg Laying were to blame. We have 5 hens still enjoying their playhouse coop! I’d love to see a pic of the coop you made! 🙂 Mama Nice

      • Marie May 9, 2014 at 8:50 am

        That’s great news! I’ve had a few people comment about my coop and their concern of predators getting in the coop through the chicken wire windows or creeping up under the house. I didn’t see this as a concern but glad to hear you didn’t mention any worry of predators. Not sure how to share my coop photos here, are you on FB?

  3. Mama Nice May 9, 2014 at 10:28 pm Reply

    I have not had any predators try to get IN the coop. We do have fox in the area, but they have never gone after my chickens. The only predator we had to worry about this year was a hawk that tried to swoop down and pick up a chicken. However, the hawk did not succeed! Please visit us on FB https://www.facebook.com/NiceFamilyHomestead to post pics. thanks!

  4. kathy hayes May 4, 2016 at 3:28 am Reply

    I love the idea of recycling things and reprouposing them.

    • Mama Nice May 4, 2016 at 5:53 pm Reply

      Thank you! We try to re-purpose things whenever we can. If you have any fav re-purpose sites, please list them.

  5. previsionart May 5, 2016 at 7:53 pm Reply

    Hi,

    This is great! My husband bought an old playhouse for ducks. I plan to paint it. Can I ask what brand of paint and the quantity of cans it took to paint yours?

    JS

    • Mama Nice May 5, 2016 at 8:04 pm Reply

      I used the Krylon Fusion for Plastic. I did NOT use a primer and the paint faded and started to rub off in about 2 years. I would say it took about 10 cans of spray paint. PLEASE make sure you vent the top of the playhouse. We did not vent it properly at first and the moisture built up quickly. Good luck on your project and I’d love to see pics when it’s complete!

  6. Lori Worcester July 13, 2016 at 5:14 pm Reply

    How many chickens do you think it would hold? I have a friend looking to get rid of one of these and I’m considering getting about ten chickens in the spring. Do you think it would be too crowded? Thanks!

    • Mama Nice July 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm Reply

      I would not put more than 4 chickens in the playhouse.

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