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Turning corn crib into coop

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am turning the corn crib in my old barn into our chicken coop. It is about 17x5. I have a few questions about what is ok or not.

First off the corn crib is open on top. It is lined with galvinzed metal and wood on the sides and it is 12 to 14 feet up to the top. Do I need a ceiling to keep the critters out? Could I just make sure I have a solid 2 to 3 feet of metal around the side where they couldn't climb down in?

Picture is looking down the run.

I removed some of the galvinzed metal on the inside. The barn is an open barn. Do I need venting directly to the outside wall or is having it open into the barn enough. The barn is very drafty with the south side being open and lots of wind where we live.

You can see from the picture I took about 8 feet of the siding off. My thought is this will let air flow and light in. Do I need to put hardwear cloth behind the slats? Will anything get through them, there is about 1.5 inches between them.

Picture looking up.

Thanks for any insight.

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post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

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post #3 of 9
I would build a ceiling for security reasons and add hardware cloth to the top half and put the metal back up to around 4 feet on the outside, being an open air barn anything can walk right in and have a chicken buffet. Doesn't say where you live but if it gets cold you don't want drafts blowing on them. It would be nice to have a pop door in the wall leading into a run connected to the wall of the barn. Nestboxs on the inside wall so you don't have to go in to collect them.
post #4 of 9
My setup is similar. Except I don't have the metal, I'm going to split the corn crib in two, one side for layers one side for meat. Then I hope to make a double decker tunnel outside but keep the birds segregated. The web cam is live at
post #5 of 9
I like it. At 5’ wide you might need to get a little creative in how you put things in there so you can still get by, but that looks really good.

I consider putting a ceiling in there from a security viewpoint unnecessary. Just cover any openings with hardware cloth to keep critters out. That means openings at the top and the sides. Putting a few feet of metal will stop critters from climbing at that spot, but there may be other places they can use to climb. Hawks and owls can come in without climbing. Some people may say they won’t, but I’ve had an owl walk into a coop and take a chicken.

Snakes, weasels, and rats can easily get through 1-1/2” openings. It’s amazing how little room some critters need to get through an opening. 1-1/2” openings should stop most larger predators as long as a slat is not warped or loose. I know larger critters can tear most chicken wire, but putting chicken wire there instead of more expensive hardware cloth will up your protection level a lot. I’d put it on the inside to make it harder to pull off. Of course hardware cloth is even better.

Venting into that barn is fine since it is so open. In some ways that’s preferred. You don’t have to worry about rain blowing in. One possible downside. Chickens create a lot of dust. If it is open you may get lot more dust on any equipment of stuff you store in there than you would ever imagine. You may or may not need to deal with the dust. Experience will tell you.

I don’t know where you live or what your winters are like. If you plan to hang around this forum (and I hope you do) showing a bit about your location in your profile really helps us answer some questions. Chickens can handle cold really well but you don’t want a breeze blowing on them when it is really cold. What I’m talking about is enough wind to ruffle their feathers and let trapped air out, not just a little air movement. Inside that barn may be fine, probably is, but you may want to put something up to block direct breeze when they are on the roost. Above and below that doesn’t matter. The more ventilation you can provide the better as long as a direct breeze is not hitting them.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.


 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

post #6 of 9
I hope nobody minds if I ask a couple questions in here since I have the exact same situation on my farm in Pennsylvania. Figured there's no point in starting another thread. I also have a corn crib just like this one, except mine is totally covered in hardware cloth except for the ceiling and the door . The outside wall is barn siding with, of course, gaps and cracks and totally open to the wind. The inside is all those slats like you see here in these pics, but as I've said, covered in hardware cloth. I have a few questions.
1) is there any point in insulation, or should I be mostly concerned with drafts? My first idea was to insulate and plywood the outside wall, but then I thought what good would that really do?

2)The inside wall is inside my drafty old barn. What should I do with the wall? Plywood four feet high? Plywood all the way to the ceiling?

3) As I've said, I live in Pennsylvania and it can get really cold. How will chickens do over the winter in an environment like this? Again, sorry to the OP for the thread jack, but thank you for this. It's very helpful.
post #7 of 9
Bump. Anyone else have any input?
post #8 of 9

Here is a suggestion to test the winds and drafts inside this or any other structure. Go inside the crib area where the birds will be and hang strips of flagging tape. The bright colored stuff you get from the hardware store. Tack them up high and let 3 to 4 foot lengths of the stuff hang vertically. If it's windy outside and these are left dancing and lifting inside, probably not good. If they just just twitch and flutter a bit now and then, probably ideal, as you are getting some air movement to vent the thing but not enough to be drafty to the point of creating wind chill. That would cover the ventilation part, but that is only part of it.


Will you be able to clean the floor?


In a barn situation like that, what will happen if rats move in to take up residence beneath the floor?


Secure from above and all sides as far as raccoons, skunks, possums, cats, etc are concerned?


Any windows to let in light?


Any other opportunities the birds might consider using as nest boxes? They only know to lay eggs somewhere in a dark protected corner. They don't know nest boxes from nooks and crannies or holes in the hay bales. Finding all the eggs they lay be become an adventure.

post #9 of 9
That's some great info, Howard, on how to determine if your co-op is too drafty. That was exactly thee type of trick I as hoping to learn.
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