How to Transform a Dog Kennel into a Chicken Coop
If you’re planning to convert an existing dog kennel in your garden, you have a few variables to consider.
A dog kennel usually contains a small to medium-sized doghouse, sometimes with a long and narrow concrete slab in front of the doghouse, and is usually surrounded by a chain link fence.
The size of an existing dog house converted into a chicken coop will most likely mean a small flock of three chickens. Will you keep the existing chain link perimeter fencing? Will you keep the concrete slab?
Concrete isn’t a permeable material, and chickens prefer the soil or ground to walk and scratch on, rather than concrete. It is best to break up and remove the concrete slab, replacing it with a more chicken-friendly layer of sandy soil.
Place the new chicken coop (former dog house) on the outside of the existing chain link fence.
Raise the chicken coop off the ground with cinder blocks or other material. Cut a precision hole in the chain link fencing and position it correctly near the new chicken coop with a flexible back door that opens and closes, and chickens have seamless access to their outside run.
Modify the dog house for chickens with new doors that are smaller, a slanted roof, nesting boxes, a roost, and a manure box.
Include a ramp for chicken entry into the outside run.
Add feed and waterers inside the coop.
Secure locks on all doors.
Every chicken coop needs an outside pen. Break up the concrete slab if you have one.
Create something new with broken-up pieces of concrete for the garden, like a new concrete wall or a garden sculpture.
Remove all concrete until you reach soil. Level the soil in the outside run. Dig down one foot below the soil level around the inside perimeter of the chain link fence.
Put that chain link fencing to good use. Bury 1/2-inch wire mesh hardware cloth at least a foot below soil level, and foot it outward.
This step helps to prevent predators and ground critters from digging and getting under the wire mesh.
Carry that 1/2-inch wire mesh hardware cloth up three feet on the perimeter of the chain link fence.
Frame the top of the chain link fence with wooden 2×4 boards. Cover and attach 1/2-inch wire mesh hardware cloth on top of the framework. Landscape in your garden style, and shade around your new chicken coop and outside pen, or secure a large piece of shade cloth over the top of your outside pen.
The inset shows how wire mesh protects your hens and their feed bucket from squirrels, gophers, rats, mice, and snakes that may try to gain access below the soil surface. Make a trench first, and then secure durable wire mesh by burying it at least 12 inches deep and toeing it outward 12 inches along the perimeter of your entire outside pen.