Play Set Chicken Coop

Read how a creative chicken owner re-purposed an out-of-use children’s play set into the perfect paradise for his backyard flock.

| October/November 2019

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Raising chickens is a great practice, one that can improve your garden, grant you fresh eggs, and provide you with years of entertainment, just to name a few benefits. One thing any chicken owner needs to consider, though, is how they’ll house their birds. Luckily, coops can be constructed in cost-effective ways, and you can often repurpose an existing structure. With a few modifications, we turned an old children's play set into the ideal “chick inn” for our birds.

We purchased our chicks in April, and by Memorial Day weekend, they were large enough to live outdoors. To accommodate our new flock, we used 50 panels of privacy fence to enclose the roofed portion of an out-of-use play set — the kind you might find in the backyard of just about every home. By autumn, we’d added sheets of foam insulation within each wall and beneath the floor. We wanted our coop to be well insulated, because although chickens are cold-hardy, they’re still susceptible to frostbite in their combs, wattles, and feet.

As the days got shorter, we ran an outdoor extension cord to the coop to provide an outlet for a heated water setup and an indoor light. (Chickens lay best with 14 to 16 hours of light per day.) We used a full-spectrum LED daylight bulb, because they last a long time and draw few watts, and we put the light on a timer so we wouldn't have to manually turn it on and off every day. We didn’t want to dedicate the space to a chicken-specific heated watering system, so we use a heated dog bowl instead.



We wrapped 4-foot-wide chicken wire around the outdoor area, attached it to the wooden bars already in place on the play set, and tacked it down along the bottom to keep out predators. This way, the chickens have an outdoor area in which to enjoy a breeze throughout the day. We’re planning to expand the outdoor area for the chickens so it continues out over the crossbeam. We’ll add a retractable canvas over the top to provide extra shade, and, since the play area includes a plastic ship wheel and telescope, we plan to paint the Jolly Roger on the canopy “sail.” We’ve considered removing the rubber swings from the chains and replacing them with flat boards, which would give the chickens an additional place to roost, plus a bit of entertainment, if we can convince the chickens to sit on them.

hacks






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