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Today I will show you how my girlfriend and I converted an old dog house into a chicken coop. First, a little backstory: My girlfriend has been talking about getting two or three chickens for quite some time, but we have never followed through with it. We've walked Home Depot and a few other big stores, but all of their chicken coops were $200 or more. After some discussion and reading up on the basics of coops, we realized there was a perfect opportunity rotting away in our backyard; a fairly large wooden dog house left by previous tenants from years past. This was our first real "wood working" project, so pointers are welcome for future endeavors.
Our goal was simple:
1) Low cost.
2) Plenty of room for 2-3 chickens.
3) Elevated coop.
Materials & Tools:
- An old dog house (The inspiration)!
- A piece of plywood (Or something similar to create a door for the coop).
- Hinges and a lock (For the coop door).
- 2x4s (Used to create the frame to elevate the coop, we used three with some leftover).
- 4x4 (Used for the legs on the frame, we only needed one).
- Wood Screws (Used to put the frame together).
- Driver (For those wood screws).
- Jig Saw (Used to cut the door).
- Table Saw (Used to cut the 2x4s and 4x4).
- Tape Measure (Makes everything right).
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Step 1: Cleaning Out the House
To begin we had to hose out a billion spiders and five pounds of pine needles. The roof simply pulls off which is very convenient for inside access. The actual structure itself was very solid and was not as trashed as I had originally thought. Whatever creature lived in it before had nice laminate floors too.
Step 2: Creating the Coop Door
To create the door we took a thin piece of plywood and held it against the opening. While she held, I traced from the inside. The outline was then cut out with the jig saw. To attach the door to the house, we installed the hinges on the house using the supplied screws. We then aligned the door and attached the hinges to the door. To finish off, we installed the barrel lock onto the house and door. Seem easy? It was.
Step 3: Creating the Platform
We wanted to go with the traditional raised coop. To do this we decided to build a frame with legs. After some searching on frame designs, we went with the simplest one we could find. This is where the measuring tape comes out. We took bottom dimensions of the coop and cut our 2x4s to a close match (about 1/2 in bigger). The frame was then assembled using the driver and wood screws.
The last step was to create the legs. We did not want it too tall, that way we could still get access from the top if we needed to. We measured out our legs and used the table saw to chop them up. We then attached the legs to the frame with wood screws.
Note: None of our measurements and lengths were set in stone. We just picked a number and went with it for simplicity's sake.
Step 4: Putting the Coop on the Frame
Assembly is pretty straight forward. We muscled the newly refurbished coop onto the frame. We then put the roof on the coop and there you have it! It's extremely solid. We still would like to pursue a few other upgrades (an official chicken ramp, converting it to a metal roof and insulation). However, in terms of budget we spent less than $20 in materials on this!
I hope you can take something useful away from this Instructable. Repurposing items is an awesome reward in and of itself! Feel free to post any questions, thanks!