How to convert a playhouse to a chicken coop

Written by j. anne huss
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How to convert a playhouse to a chicken coop
Chickens are a rewarding backyard pet. (many chickens on the farm image by Ivonne Wierink from

Chickens are fun and easy-to-care-for nontraditional pets. They provide eggs and enjoyment to owners on farms and in cities. The sudden rise in hobby chicken raising has led to innovative chicken coop designs that range from complicated and cute to basic and plain, but a simple structure that minimises drafts and provides shelter from the elements is all that is necessary. The quickest way to set up your chicken sanctuary is to purchase or acquire a child's playhouse and convert it into a basic chicken coop.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Window screen
  • Laminate flooring
  • Spray foam insulation
  • 12 wooden boards, 2 by 6
  • 48 galvanised deck screws, 1 inch
  • 2 buckets, 5 gallon
  • Straw
  • Woodshavings
  • 1 gallon poultry feeder
  • 1 gallon poultry waterer
  • Chicken feed

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  1. 1

    Acquire a used child's playhouse or purchase a playhouse kit at a big box store. Assemble if necessary. Move the playhouse to the location where you would like your chickens to live.

  2. 2

    Screen in the windows so air can flow through in the warm months. This also prevents insects from invading your hen house.

  3. 3

    Line the floor with scrap laminate flooring for easy clean up.

  4. 4

    Spray foam insulation in any cracks to create a more weatherproof structure. This will help keep the hens warm during the cold months.

  5. 5

    Create a perch for your hens by framing a rectangle from 2 by 6s. Make the rectangle frame the same length as the playhouse, a height of 4 feet and a width of 12 inches. Use 1-inch galvanised deck screws.

  6. 6

    Attach the frame to the back wall with 1-inch galvanised deck screws. Attach the sides of the frame to the side walls with 1-inch galvanised deck screws. Test to make sure it is sturdy enough to hold the number of hens to be housed in your coop.

  7. 7

    Create nest boxes by placing two 5-gallon buckets on their sides and filling them with straw. Place them away from the perch to avoid soiling from above.

  8. 8

    Line the floor with wood shavings or straw as litter and bedding.

  9. 9

    Purchase a 1-gallon poultry feeder and a 1-gallon poultry waterer and fill them. Place them on the floor toward the front of the coop for easy refilling.

Tips and warnings

  • Calculate the number of hens your playhouse can support. Each hen requires 2 to 3 square feet of living space.
  • Create and attach a chicken run to your new coop if you prefer to keep the hens contained during the day.
  • Be sure to put your hens in the coop at night to protect them from predators.
  • Shut the coop up tight to prevent break-ins by foxes and raccoons.

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