When we built our house twenty years ago, one of the first outbuildings we designed/constructed was our ‘pet condo’. Our condo houses our two farm dogs, our egg-laying chickens during winter (when they’re not out on free-range) and our two bunnies.
Visitors to my shop (I have a cottage business, Sheepy Hollow Herbs, LLC) often wander…stroll the gardens and visit my barnyard menagerie. They often ask if they can ‘move in’ (lol), and find the utility of the pet condo very interesting, and make a mental note to construct something similar one day to meet their animal housing needs.
The shed itself is 2 X 4 frame construction built on a platform or deck. The shed dimension overall is 8-feet X 16-feet. We used cedar panels on the exterior and installed 2 windows, shingled roof. The lattice on either end is decorative, but we’ve drilled several holes though the building for ventilation – it’s difficult to see – and covered them on the inside with hardware cloth (to keep unwanted visitors out). We painted the shed barn red with white trim – it could use a freshening! tee hee Yes, that’s pavers inside the dog run and in front of the shed. My hubby has a THING about concrete…
The condo or shed consists of a dog pen on the west side – see the pic above – their in-out access hole is covered with a rubber flap. The dog’s space inside occupies the back half of the shed (approx 4′ X 4′). Most of the day, Bo is out wandering or guarding the sheep & goats. Riley, my German Shepherd, guards me and the farm and usually is by my side at all times. Actually, she requires no fencing to keep her home-bound!
The opposite side of the shed houses our egg laying chickens. Inside the shed is another compartment with 9-nesting boxes total, 3 rows across, 3 high, with feeder & water bucket. Outside, the chickens have a small scratching pen. We re-seed it every Spring, and within a few weeks, they’ve scratched it bare again!
We also house 2 bunnies in the shed (my lionhead has his own stand-alone hutch). Two, side-by-side simple wire rabbit cages (from any TSC Supply), nesting box, with custum built pull-out litter catch-pans underneath. We’ve cut an access hole through the wall of the ‘condo’ to an outdoor cage/hutch which hangs on the exterior wall. It’s simple 2 X 4 frame construction built onto the exterior, a shingled shed-type roof with a hinged drop down door on both pens, hardware cloth/wire floor. No catch-pan needed here.
We also have a built-in multi-compartment feed storage bin for chicken/rabbit/dog and wild bird seed. Everything you need in one spot. The building itself is insulated and only on the coldest Winter nights, we hang a heat lamp inside and actually keeps the water from freezing. It’s simple, attractive and utilitarian! (if I do say so myself.)
Hope this provides you with some ideas for your own ‘pet condo’!
really interesting article, good and easy to read. Thanks!
how big is the “pet condo” i have 2 8×10 garden sheds i am using for chickens, 9 in one coop and 9 in the other.. i was wanting to find a way to do something like this, but we have serious predators around here (black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves and the normal coyotes, foxes.. so i don’t think i can have any food outside… as much as id like to have everything in one spot.. but id like a place for our cats to go in the winter, without leaving a door open for them to go in and out from. would you have any ideas?
Hi Alissa! The shed/pet condo is 8-feet X 16-feet and has served us well (OMG, almost 30-years now!). I like the convenience of having everything (critters and feed) in one location/readily accessible. We have one last surviving Lionhead bunny (after several generations of rabbits). When he passes on, we will remove the rabbit hutch portion since my kids are long grown. Ideally, I would like to open-up the shed and house the chickens exclusively. My chickens free range and are locked-up at night. But, it would be nice to alternate scratching pens when necessary. Also, the doggie door/access hole faces the West. During winter, the wind is primarily from the NW (and blow directly into the shed!). We attach a piece of corrugated steel/barn siding to the shed, over the door to deflect the wind. Our German Shepherd chews any heavy rubber/flapper type mat hung across the door. So, carefully consider door access/placement for your cats! My barn cats free-have access to the barn. We leave little ‘holes’ in the stacked hay bales for their safekeeping. We do NOT leave any food down for the barn cats either! This attracts opossum and other unwanted vermin into the barn. They have a specific feeding time 2X per day after which we lock-up their food. They’re supposed to eat mice, voles, etc. I don’t know if this helps? You need to do what works best for you and your ‘pets’. Good luck.