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Advice for a new coop / run - converting an existing (OLD) shed/barn

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi there everyone.  New to BYC and loving all the great information, comments, knowledge, etc.  We had a small flock of chickens about 4-5 years ago but lost them to predators.  We have now moved onto a new property and are looking to start over and learn from past mistakes.  In the back corner of the lot is an old shed/barn, roughly 12x16 or so.  The back half of this structure is attached to a 4' woven wire fenced-in area that was previously used for a couple of goats.  We would like to use half of the shed for a coop (the other half for storage) and build a run (roughly 8x10) attached to the back half.  Essentially this will be a run within a fenced-in area so hopefully very secure.  The run is an extra attempt at security.  

 

The pics below show the front and back of the shed.  The run would be under the the right half of the roofed-in area.  I'm thinking of building a 2x4 frame that would essentially go up to the overhang, using mostly hardware cloth.  I'd go down at least 12" into the ground with the hardware cloth.   I'd include a full size screen door for easy entry for us.  The interior pics show studs that could (easily) be walled in to separate the two halves of the space.  I would add some gable vents at the top end of each side to improve ventilation.  

 

Most of my initial questions are about the run, and building/carpentry-related.  

 

1.  Can I lay the bottom plate 2x4 right on the ground if I use PT?  Or is it better to lay it on a bed of sand/brick (I wouldn't cover the whole area this way, just the spot directly under the 2x4s) to prolong the life of the wood?

2.  My longest "wall" would be 10.5 feet - I assume I'd want to split this distance with one vertical "stud" in the middle so that the hardware cloth would span 5.25 feet at the most - reasonable?

3.  Not sure how to get my vertical 2x4 flush against the side of the shed given the wood siding.  My only idea at present is to attach some interior studs and cut out just enough of the siding so that I can attach the exterior 2x4 directly to the interior one.

 

In terms of the interior, you can see that there are some 'boxes' that may well have been nesting boxes at some point in the past (the house was built in 1922 - not sure bout the outbuildings).  I may re-use these but they're a bit higher than I'd like - I'm planning to use dowels higher up but low enough to keep out the draft from the gable vents...  also planning to try a poop tray with sweet PDZ and sand based on all the great stuff I've read so far.

 

Anyway, that's enough for now.  Thanks to anyone who has read this far!  Look forward to learning from y'all and sharing my experiences as well.

 

-Jason

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 9

Little gaps between siding angles and vertical stud shouldn't be an issue.

Bottom plate could be above ground by 6" or so, then run mesh down to ground then out ~18" for an anti-dig apron.

 

Mesh on corners of this anti-dig apron graphic are out of scale, but don't forget to do the corners.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply!  It  was crickets there for a while.  To make sure I understand, you're saying it should be sufficient to use an apron on the ground as opposed to burying the mesh, correct?

 

And secondly, I guess I'm confused about the bottom plate being above ground by 6"... what's it supported by this way? resting on bricks / concrete blocks?  Or attached solely to the posts on each side and maybe one new one in the middle that gets buried?

 

Thanks again for sharing your advice - much appreciated.

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaslyman View Post
 

Thanks for the reply!  It  was crickets there for a while.  To make sure I understand, you're saying it should be sufficient to use an apron on the ground as opposed to burying the mesh, correct?

 

And secondly, I guess I'm confused about the bottom plate being above ground by 6"... what's it supported by this way? resting on bricks / concrete blocks?  Or attached solely to the posts on each side and maybe one new one in the middle that gets buried?

 

Thanks again for sharing your advice - much appreciated.

Apron is actually more efficient than burying, both for installation and operation.....

.....animal digs down where wall meets ground - hits mesh, moves over tries again - hits mesh, moves over tries again -hits mesh.... gives up.

You can bury the apron a couple inches or leave on surface held down with landscape staples, pavers.

I left mine on surface and in most places grass grew thru and held it in place enough to mow over...other places I should have buried a bit-mower got it.

 

10-12' 2x4 'bottom plate' spanning existing posts 6" off ground, vertical 2x4 from center of that to roof support....should be adequate to attach run mesh.

You could add more 2x2 verticals and/or horizontals between to match the width of your HC for ease and stability of attaching with screws and washers.

That's the basics of what I was thinking...spacing may vary, depending on mesh width. Planning your framing for mesh width will be time well worth spending.

 

Hope that makes sense.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

That does make sense, yes, thank you.  I may have to modify a bit to use the used standard screen door that I bought so that I can properly frame it, but otherwise I think your suggestion sounds great.  I've got 4' HC, so if I create an 18" apron that will leave me 30" to go up.  If I put in some horizontal framing to attach and then do the rest of the height with welded (or woven) wire, do you think that would be adequate protection?  Or is better to use the HC all the way to the full 7-8' height of the coop?

post #6 of 9

I'd either use all HC or all welded wire.....but depends on your goals, resources, and challenges.

My run is all 2x4 welded wire to protect against hawks, and slow anything else down, during the day.

Night is coop lock down, coop is entirely HC....but I'm home 95% of the time.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much!

post #8 of 9

I am VERY new to all of this but have done my research as well and converted an old structure like yourself (research my started threads to see before/after for some ideas) 

 

I would be safe and use hardware cloth as much as possible so you can open the possibility of leaving the run open 24/7 if you'd like when out of town. If that building is structurally sound it should last quite a while and make sure that you use screws with fender washers for hardware cloth. If you have hawks/owls as an issue start feeding/attracting crows or any corvid. They absolutely hate hawks and owls and they have chased a ton of mine off, it is a matter of time before they all just leave my area or my "crow territory" as it grows. Can't shoot'em....beat'em!!

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

I like this idea (all HC) so that the run is secure as possible in case the coop door is ever left open - intentionally OR on purpose!

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