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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:30 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 4:15 pm
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Location: Melbourne
Hi there chicken gurus!

I have been planning the addition of chickens to our garden for about 12 months now, and it's time to stop procrastinating and get cracking!

I have been considering purchasing a coop, and have a timber one in particular in mind which will cost about $400 and measures about 1.8 long and 1.2 wide and high, which I can get at a local nursery.

However, we have this cubby house in our back yard and the kids have never really taken to it the way we thought they would so I am now wondering if we should convert it? and if you think this is a good idea, I would love some tips, as the last time I picked up a hammer was in wood work about 15 years ago!

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Image

This cubby measures about 1.8 x 1.8 internally, plus the the little 'verandah'. It hasn't got a door or floor, and has two side windows.

It's not extremely solid, but it's stable on a level surface.

I was thinking of turning one of the windows into a collection box, and running a shelf along the corresponding internal side for them to nest on, and running a ramp up to it. Somewhere else inside I would put a natural wood branch for a perch. I would probably put a welded mesh on the base and then pavers on top of that to give a smoother surface for them (and for ease of cleaning, and straw on top of that.

I suspect I would need to put a corrugated roof on top (it's just canvas), a door, enclose the other window (shade cloth and mesh?)

The idea I had for the two relatively open gables was to put slats of timber with gaps in between for ventilation, and welded mesh over that for enhanced protection?

I have looked at the Better Homes and Gardens tips for How to build a chicken coop and think that it's more complicated than I need. BH&G How to build a chicken coop

This is a picture of where I would probably locate it, at the top flatter bit with an enclosed run down the slight slope as there's not much for them to destroy there!
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If it matters to the discussion, I am currently contemplating wyandotte bantams.

Obviously if the cost of materials and equipment is going to come close to purchasing a new coop, then I would prefer to know that now... but don't really know the value of the materials I need... nor where to start, really!

I would really really appreciate any advice you have to get me started and keep me motivated to do this myself!!

TIA :)

(PS - yay, I worked out the BYP photo system!)

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2 pretty backyard bantams - Connie the Frizzle and Aggie the Silver Pencilled Wyandotte. R.I.P. Francine the Australorp


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:45 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:17 pm
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Location: Bayside suburbs Melb.
Well done on loading up your photo's, first time is always a bit tricky. Looks like a great cubby to transform, you'll just need to get the cubby to 'lock up', so your girls will be fox safe at night. I like you train of thought and all of your ideas are heading in the right direction. why don't you use ebay or maybe you even have a recycling tip near you, some second hand bits and pieces might be all you need to get this to exactly what you want. I recently transformed a pine climbing frame into my chook house, now it is just what I wanted, mostly made of recycled materials.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:04 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Robertson, NSW
We recycled a cubby into our 'pole home style' chook house and it's great - the wood insulates so well. We simply closed over the 'windows' and replaced the wall that had the door with a hinged wall so we can open it and rake it out easily. We built a wire and treated pine fox proof enclosure around ours so the chooks and ducks can come and go out of the cubby as they please. Best of luck!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:30 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 4:15 pm
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Location: Melbourne
thanks for the encouragement :)

will look into recycled material sources... my biggest worry at the moment is actually the roofing - can you get corrugated sheets custom cut - I have no idea how I would cut mass sheets to size otherwise!

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2 pretty backyard bantams - Connie the Frizzle and Aggie the Silver Pencilled Wyandotte. R.I.P. Francine the Australorp


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:37 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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What is wrong with the roof that is on it?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:48 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 4:15 pm
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Location: Melbourne
rum pig wrote:
What is wrong with the roof that is on it?


It's fabric - a bit like canvas, which I suspected was too flimsy and not secure enough?
Would it be ok for the time being? I think I'd be nervous!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:40 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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I don't think it will cost that much to renovate. Second hand shops often have things like hinges, sometimes even cupboard doors. Corregated iron, you'll need to either buy a pair of tin snips (if you find recycled tin) or just go to a building supply shop and they should be able to cut it for you for a fee. Normally you'd use tek screws for roofing iron but I'm sure roof nails are good enough for the job unless you know someone that actually has a tek gun (then you can use tek screws and secure on the arched part of the tin rather than the trough).

You have a great cubby for conversion, I'd just give it a coat of exterior paint inside and out or some seal, so pests can't live in the wood and so that it lasts longer. Good luck!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:53 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Location: Humpty Doo NT
LucyW wrote:
rum pig wrote:
What is wrong with the roof that is on it?


It's fabric - a bit like canvas, which I suspected was too flimsy and not secure enough?
Would it be ok for the time being? I think I'd be nervous!

Tin sheet would be better but it looks still it good condition from your photos. As long as it keeps the rain and drafts out it should be OK. If you are not confidant attaching tin sheet you could get away with a tarp over the existing roof.
I live in the tropics so I do not know if that is enough to keep out the cold. if not you may need to lay some ply under the tin or if you go the tarp way you could put a layer of hay in between the tarp and the roof.
What area do you live (with out saying to much) there maybe someone here that can give you a hand.

Also do not to hung up on a perfect fit with the tin as it can over hang the roof.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:57 pm 
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Golden Cockatoo
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I would definitely add a tin roof. The canvas will not be predator proof and probably not very rain proof either.

if you buy your sheeting at a second hand yard they usually have a selection of different sizes to choose from.

NellyG

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:12 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Location: Melbourne
we're in a temperate part of outer suburban Melbourne.

I don't think the current roof is water/rain or predator proof.

Will look at second hand tin sheeting... thanks.

I do have a relative who is a tradie and very handy so would be able to help, but to avoid him deciding that all my plans should go out the window and we should do it his way, which would take 5 times as long, I need to set distinct jobs for him and have most of the rest of the manageable part of the project done and materials sorted before I get him here!

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2 pretty backyard bantams - Connie the Frizzle and Aggie the Silver Pencilled Wyandotte. R.I.P. Francine the Australorp


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 4:15 pm
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Location: Melbourne
I've had a quick look searching through the forum and wonder if there are particular paints or seals that are or are not suitable for using on coops for chickens? I don't want to intoxicate them!

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2 pretty backyard bantams - Connie the Frizzle and Aggie the Silver Pencilled Wyandotte. R.I.P. Francine the Australorp


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:47 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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Personally I would just use standard exterior house paint, gloss or semigloss. Let it cure though before sticking them in there so you don't gas them out with paint fumes. Ater curing it shouldn't be any different to people sitting out on a verandah.

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