I finally broke down and joined the forums here after lurking for the last year. What a wealth of knowledge to be found, I've learned so much already just reading through the Learning Center and the various threads on topics I was curious about.
My wife and I are buying an old farm house with some land and outbuildings that we plan to keep some chickens on so I'm thinking by the time we get moved in and settled I'll be ready to build a coop in the fall so we are all ready to go for next spring. Since we have a barn on the property I'm thinking I could section off a piece of that for my chickens. The way the barn is laid out, it's an old cattle barn: bottom level is brick, top is wood. The hay and feed would have been stored upstairs and the milking area on the lower level. So the bottom level would make the most sense for my coop but it's going to need a little work. Here are my questions:
1)The floor is concrete but it's uneven because it has troughs cut into it from when they kept cattle. What would you recommend if building a floor from sratch that would be easy to clean and maintain? If I framed it up with some thick plywood and covered it with linoleum would that do the trick well?
2)Ventilation? There are quite a few glass windows (the old ones with the multiple little squares) on the bottom level so it will get good light and it should be plenty warm in the winter but what kind of things should I consider for ventilation?
3)Critter proofing - the barn is probably 100 years old so no doubt there are gaps here and there, especially into the top part so my thought was to carefully seal any holes in the ceiling to keep my chickens protected. From what I've read though, some of these predators can turn into water and squeeze themselves through very small gaps. Should I consider hardware cloth or something they cant't chew through on the ceiling maybe?
thanks, I appreciate the help