Greenhouses & Chicken Coops | My Fave Outdoor Caging Solutions

Sunday, November 9, 2014
Right now my life is experiencing a great deal of flux - I am waiting to hear back from grad schools in different cities (and indeed, states!) across the country, and with that comes packing up my things and preparing to begin a house hunt in whichever city I will be calling home for the next 2-3+ years. I have my fingers crossed that I will be staying somewhere in Florida, but time will tell. With all this change, I cannot make any concrete changes in my plans to set up a proper chameleon "facility" and move on with my plans to become a rescue & rehab, but I can at least begin to plan!

You may have seen a section in my Chameleon Record Binder that deals with brainstorming future plans. I will sometimes sit over coffee and doodle plans for a large outdoor set-up where I could keep several Meller's chameleons for breeding, and a second separate set-up for rescues that need rehabilitation. My plans change every time I think about it, since there are so many ways to do something like this! Sometimes I think a colony set-up (where all my healthy adults live together in a group and interact/breed together as they see fit) would be great, and other times I feel that individual housing is the best for everyone. Lately I have been leaning towards individual cages with separating panels that can slide out, expanding two cages into one large one, for example, so that I can combine groups of one male to 1-3+ females for breeding season and then isolate them again afterwards. 

I would also like to build what I call a "lobby" in my sketchbooks, that is, an enclosed area that acts as a second barrier of security on the front side of the set-up. Therefore, I would have to go through a door which takes me into a "common area" in front of all the cages, so that if I leave an individual's cage door unlocked they still cannot escape into the wild. With 2 locked doors between the animal and the world, I hope to keep everyone safer. 

Thanks to Pinterest I have been collecting lots of inspiration for future plans, and wanted to share them in a post for anyone else that is considering outdoor housing. 

Remember that when considering outdoor housing you have to keep in mind
1. Your temperatures (is it feasible to house animals outdoors most of the year?)
2. Your local wildlife (make sure your animals are safe from predators, including rats!)
3. The possibility of theft (how can you make it harder for someone to steal your animals? Think about locks for all doors.)
4. How to provide water and even heat for cold days. 

Below are my favorite inspiration photos found across the internet, most of them greenhouses and chicken coops:

Photo Source & Building Plans Here
I really like the above greenhouse because of the wall all around the bottom foot or so, which is a great way to keep out certain animals or at least make it harder, such as rats. Obviously everything that is glass/plexy would have to be metal mesh, but I like the design. One half of the roof could be solid for shade and the other half screen, to let in rain. 

Photo source Here
This is just a beautiful greenhouse. Solid walls like this with an open roof may make the whole thing too warm here in Florida, but for someone in a cooler climate this might be perfect. Then lots of plants and this would be heaven to sit in, coffee in hand, and watch the chameleons wander around.

Photo source Here
The above coop is very similar to the first one with similar ideas but simpler. This multiplied several times (each "unit" being a smaller size, say perhaps 5-6 square feet) would be a great set-up for multiple adult Meller's individually housed. 

Photo source Here
The above idea is a dog kennel but the idea still works for chameleons. Individually housed this works well for chameleons in a climate that can get cool in winter but not so cold to merit coming inside (like here in Miami.) You could have a smaller section at the end that is enclosed with just a small opening towards the top and inside have ceramic heat emitters to keep the temps more moderate for those cooler nights. With plexy windows the chameleons would not be intimidated to go into an otherwise dark, closed space. 

Photo Source Here
Photo Source Here
The above coop is my favorite project by far, I think they managed to make something useful and tremendously lovely for their chickens which I wish I could copy for my chameleons. Similar to the dog run above, it has an enclosed area at one end which I definitely think could have it's uses for chameleons. I also love the paneling on the sides and the brass lanterns. 

Photo Source Here
And one more coop with the raised bottom wall and which could be divided into individual cages, each with it's own door. 

So these are my latest inspiration photos, which I hope can give you ideas on how to build your own outdoor caging, even if it is only for a single chameleon. Sunshine is such a benefit to them that if you have the climate to provide natural sunshine at least a few hours every week during the warmer months they will be better for it. 

Do you have any ourdoor caging to share or that has inspired your own building plans? Feel free to share, I would love to see it! 


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