Hiya - with the sad loss of our old dog last month, we are starting a new chapter with some chickens. I've been looking for plans to convert our swing set into a chicken coop. I have found plenty of visual reference but wondering if anyone has seen any detailed plans with measurements and suggested materials out there? I'm going to find an old screen door to include as entry into the large side and am planning on mouse mesh and keen on sourcing some recycled materials for the nesting box and as shade over (corrugated iron or similar). And after seeing the post here about chickens liking to swing - I thought I would leave the swing in place too. I'm not a real dab hand at timber work, so the simpler the better. Any suggestions welcome! Thanks.
I've used clotheslines to make shadehouses. Not the same as what you are looking at Wendy but perhaps there might be some inspiration in the pix.
One shades a frog pond and a lot of Broms. The other is now a storage area. Both are covered with 50 percent shadecloth.
Much as I love chooks, I have never had any in residence. I wonder at the swing set as it comes to an un-useable peak. I see chook houses made like this and wonder whether the chooks have any real space to live in.
Corrugated 'iron' will take up heat and radiate it to the chooks underneath. Suggest if you want to use it that you insulate it heavily or the chooks will be roasted-in-situ.
Someone with practical experience with chooks will give you some real advice. Fwiw, my pix might offer some clues - or not!
Dang a pic disappeared. Here 'tis:
The white stuff on the first pic above is, not as I thought, bird crap but … er forgotten the proper name but it's a combination of algae and bacteria. Someone will remember! First described by Beatrix Potter ;-)
In the top pic, the sides come down to 4ft star pickets, attached to them then continue to the ground and pegged with wire hoops.
Not sure why this'd be relevant but perhaps it might be.
Linda Woodrow a Permaculture author, has a neat solution with chooks. She uses an umbrella for their night perch when the chooks are cleaning her reo-surrounded garden beds (there is a lot of hungry wildlife around Mullum). This is her website there's weeks of reading on it but among the recipes and other posts, there's sure to be posts on chooks. Her book available at the Library, really does go into the rotation she uses with her garden beds. The chooks do most of the preparation!
A friend in Tassie used his old swing set as his first quick chicken coop. He used a second hand security grill door like I did on my coop. Cheap and strong and usually comes with hinges.
The height on the coop is more for you so don't think of it as wasted space. My coop is massive and the chickens hardly spend any time in there bar sleeping and egg laying. Every time I step into it I'm glad of the human size space. Being able to stand up in your coop is great else you'll be crawling on your hands and knees in chicken poop for any maintenance!
I'd recommend making it a chicken tractor as well by putting some wheels at one end so you can move it around and provide fresh grazing patches. It'll also be great for moving over garden beds so the chooks can till your old bed, eat the weeds and fertilise for the new plants. I'd also keep the chains for possibly hanging feeder buckets and water stations.
To minimise heat and weight you could use the UV polycarbonate corrugated roofing sheets from Bunnings. I don't have detailed plans per se but the photos below might give you a few ideas.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/ ; and google images are your best bet for other swing set coops.
It's been a while since we have had chooks, but I was told they like their perch to face the morning sun. It is good if you can somehow place a tin tray under their perches to collect the night droppings. One that you can slide outside to clean and hose off. No matter what type of nesting box, that my son gave his chickens, they all seemed to like his grass catcher.
The PEN that Cres mentioned, looks very good, and would keep the chickens safe, with hardly any timber to harbour the mites that can be a problem.
A friend told me a remedy for roosters that like to get the day started too early, move the perch up higher near the roof, so when he raises himself to crow, he hits his head on the roof and it puts him off. I don't know if that works really, but sounds good.
The religious Scots who didn't like their roosters to crow on a Sunday, put a creel of some sort over the rooster the night before with the same idea as mentioned above.
We made a coop from the essential ingredient of chicken wire ...driftwoods and a metal frame for the door.
I used cable ties and a bit of wire.
For the sleepy time 'house' I bent over some t-bar frame -- used to reinforce cement -- into an A-frame and covered it with tarp and ran it north/south.
In recompense for the lack of 'House & Garden' mode the chooks get a large pen.
Online you'll find heaps of designs for chicken pens. Google Chicken Coop Swing Set (I spy!) ... but aside from the door issue ( try a dump shop for options once you have the rest assembled) I reckon the trick is to use shade cloth -- not only to shade the chooks, but run the fabric into the soil so there is no easy dig option for dogs, foxes or rats.
I suggest thats' the most important design feature.
Foxes are everywhere...and rats are a pain.
Chicken wire and shade cloth....
From my POV I'd limit the swing set to 2 chooks...and I'd add an opening up high where you can throw the scraps and grain through. (And be sure to trim the wings...) Look upon the job, not as a carpentry build but tapestry on a frame.
The Brisbane City Council have a section that can tell you if there have been any reports of foxes in that area. We live in a northern suburb and a fox did a lot of damage to one of my neighbours chooks. It is surprising how many have entered surburbia.
Though I think your place is well protected with a 6 foot fence.