Hi everyone, I'm brand new to the forums here, and to raising chickens, and am looking for some feedback on converting a section of our barn to a coop and building an outdoor run. This is going to be kind of a long explanation, so bear with me.
We've just moved to an existing farmstead in WI that came with an overabundance of outbuildings, so it seems easier to convert a section of one of them into a coop, rather than start from scratch. The two potential coop locations are a 12x14 building with a dirt floor and beaver-puke sides with no real framing; or sectioning off an end of one of the bigger buildings, which would mean concrete floor, taller ceilings, real wood framing, and electrical. I'm currently leaning towards the bigger building, because it seems like it will be easier to retrofit, and has more space around the outside that could be converting into a run. The smaller building is right between our future vegetable garden and the driveway. I am intending to free range, but we'll be at work most of the time, so they'll need a safe outdoor run as well.
So, pics below:
The building exterior:
The building interior:
My biggest problem right now, is trying to decide how big (well, actually how small) to go. I'm thinking maybe a flock of 25 layers, but with the possibility of raising roasters in future summers as well. The building is 24' wide, and as you see above, there is framing approximately every 8'. So do we go 8x24, 16x24, or go big with 24x24?
I'm envisioning walling off the coop end, with plywood walls to 8' or so, and installing hardware cloth on framing to the roof line for ventilation. Or would that be too drafty? We also need to decide what to do with the sliding door at the end, either wall it off except for some windows and a door, or should we screen the whole thing? I just don't know how we could make it air tight during the winter if we do that.
I'm envisioning the outdoor run going along the sliding door side, and probably wrapping around to the long side of the building for 20' or so.
So anyway, dream away for me. What would you do in this situation?