Advice/help requested - 8x8 shed to coop conversion

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickachickayea, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. chickachickayea

    chickachickayea Songster

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    I decided to bite the bullet and got my hands on an 8x8 shed to be converted into a coop. I will need all the help I can get, as I am not a builder (with the exception of canvas stretchers!) and am a total visual learner, so seeing other members builds/tutorials have been helpful!

    Here's the shed-coop:
    20170629_130019-1.jpg

    I have loosely mapped out the inside setup (this is not to scale :oops:). And of course have a long list of things I want to do, thanks to this awesome forum!

    Sidenote: I live in Northeast PA and currently have 5 chickens.
    Coop.jpg
    - separate storage/"walk-in" area (studs+poultry wire+man door)
    - 3 nest boxes that are accessible via "walk-in" area (although my hens have 3 now and only use 1, I like options lol)
    - roost w/ pdz poop board/tray (set higher than nest boxes)
    - pop door (auto is ideal, but $$. N-side is only available spot)
    - predator proof with hardware cloth

    20170725_165911.jpg
    I have painted the "chicken area" inside with deck paint, along with the walls (not pictured).

    I plan to make a DIY feeder as per instructions I've found on here & keep the main food/H20 directly outside under a sheltered area, as I've read it'll help reduce mess/spillage inside. Although what do I know, this will be my 2nd winter with chickens!

    Planning on using solar power because I have no idea how we'd run electric to it. Last winter I used a long exterior extension cord from our garage to the coop for the water heater, but I'd prefer not to do that again if possible.

    20170906_110543.jpg
    I just got 2 of these to install (with YouTube help ) for more ventilation since the current gable vents are standard and insufficient, I'd like to replace those as well.

    I think that is all for the inside... If any of you wonderful folks have any suggestions I am open to them! Any advice, help or "I wish I would've done this..." stories are all greatly appreciated! :)
     
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  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender

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    It's cool you got a nice big shed. You could check out the coop pages to get some ideas. Ventilation and some windows, which I see you have for sunlight are always good to have.

    I look forward to seeing how it turns out. I like to go in all those sheds at the Home Depot and try to imagine them as chicken sheds.
     
  3. chickachickayea

    chickachickayea Songster

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    Thank you! I do have about 10 saved threads of coop setups I really like - my favorite being this one by freesoul: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/our-new-shed-to-coop-conversion.1132143/

    It will definitely be a process! I have a feeling attaching the run will give me much more trouble... But those inquiries will come a little later. I will try to photo document as I go! :)
     
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  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    That's a good layout....you're going to love the space.

    Biggest problem with prefab sheds is ventilation and lack of roof overhangs to protect installed windows and vents. Top hinged windows opening outward work well, but may be hard to access. Saw someone here rebuild same gambrel style roof with over hangs off both roof planes for double eave vents, was pretty slick but major construction. Wish I had saved a link to the thread as I can't find it now. Your 5 birds in that large space will reduce your ventilation needs, so that's a good thing.

    Not sure solar will heat a waterer, might have to go with extension cord.
    I've used one for 4 years. The separation wall will make if safer too as the birds have way less access to the wiring. A heated nipple waterer will make keeping water in coop a much better proposition, a little drippage rather than any major spills and no evaporation issues. Feed and water in coop will be better for birds and keeper, especially during nasty winter weather.

    Where did you put the new windows?

    ETA:Thought this might help:
    Here's my theory on the 'stack up' aspect to coop design:

    Bottom of pop door is best about 8" above floor so bedding doesn't get dragged out of coop.

    Nice to have bottom of nests about 18" above bedding to allow use of that floor space under them(doesn't count if your nests are mounted on outside of coop).

    Roosts are best about 12" higher than nests so birds won't roost(sleep) in nests and poop in them, if you use poop boards under roosts it will also 'stretch' your floor space.

    Upper venting works best as high as possible above roosts so no strong drafts hit roosts in winter...and hot/moist air and ammonia can rise and exit coop.
     
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  5. chickachickayea

    chickachickayea Songster

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    Ah! @aart ! I feel like I'm having a celebrity moment! Thank you for commenting and the points made above! :bow

    I've been wanting to go bigger because currently I have to crouch into the run, and the coop I have now is one I bought at Tractor Supply (back when I was so uninformed...). My chickens are definitely more like pets, and I wanted a bigger and better space for them, so I'm trying to start over and do it right :) And of course, there's the potential for chicken math!

    I was aware of the shed's mediocre ventilation when we went to look at it, and so had already planned to add ventilation somehow. I did get those small 2 hinged windows to install (have not done it yet - also need to google how to install window into shed lol) I'm thinking on the N & S facing sides to create a cross-breeze, as we are set on top of a hill and get a good amount of wind daily. But with that I worry slightly about cold temps, so I've not entirely made up my mind on placement yet... But I definitely would like to replace/expand the current gable vents that are on the shed to aid with ventilation up high. I was looking into possibly buying actual vents from Lowe's/HD or cutting the hole wider and securing with hardware cloth (I have 1/2" & smaller) and a frame.

    I bought the heated water bowl out of complete desperation in winter last year. I'm going to make a DIY bucket nipple waterer using horizontal nipples, so I may be using your tutorial for the heated part! I'm just really unsure of how to get electric out there, unless we hire someone to do it, or use an extension cord again...

    You're right, I'll be better off keeping the food/water inside. That way it stays dry and unfrozen and they have easy access to it, and it's also closed off to whatever may lurk in the night.

    I did NOT even think about how high to have the coop door off the floor! I thought about having wood or feed bags to block off the bedding from the storage area, but wow... That's why I posted! ;)

    I did think about the heights of the boxes & roosts... However I do have 1 Silkie along with 4 LF (my GLW can jump/fly to 4'!), so I worry about her being able to hop up, especially since she's been sleeping in her nest box since she was a chick (I know, they're not supposed to do that... :oops:) So I figured I will have to make ramps for the boxes & roosts.

    Ah thank you so much again! I definitely appreciate it! I may need your expert advice when it comes to attaching the run! :lol:
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Am more than glad to help, especially with such good info given by you at the get go.

    I would go with purchased louvered gable vents, backed with HC inside for pred deterrence. The louvers should keep the rain out and slow down any drafts. You can always tack up some cardboard inside to further baffle air flow if drafts become 'feather ruffling' near roost.

    I think I'd put the windows right under the eaves, one between the roost and storage area wall on the south side and the other in the middle of the north wall. Both will have to be backed with HC and may be tricky to decide how to install them for ease of operation. Side view with window open might tell me more. Hopefully you can just crack them in the winter. I think that'll set you for winter ventilation, maybe you can do more ventilation/light mods come next summer. Would be nice to have a bigger south window for winter time light tho.

    Your sketch is pretty good, not quite to scale (as you duly noted) but fairly proportional, assuming the nests are 12" wide, and I love the direction symbol.
    Looks like roost is meant to be 4' long? I'd go 6' with roost/board....and put a ramp on east side for silky.
     
  7. chickachickayea

    chickachickayea Songster

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    Thank you! I appreciate details, so I figured I'd lay it all out there! Also I'm a visual art person, so I need drawings or photos to fully understand things. ;)

    20170906_184938.jpg
    Here's the side view of the window opened. I got them at ReStore for $10 each, and they have plenty more if I needed more. I guess I'd have to have this installed like a traditional window due to accessibility, so screen on the outside, covered with HC (screws+washers, maybe frame).

    I believe the boards I bought to make the nest boxes are 12"x36" - I really eyeballed that area in the sketch.

    6' for the roost sounds more reasonable, I had just thought using the studs to my advantage was easiest, but I'm thinking I could build it up on stilts kind of like a table. For the roost bars I wanted to make something that would be removable to clean. I've seen the traditional ladder style roost bars as well as the kind that is all equal height - I think I'd prefer the equal height? I did get a 2"x8' piece of wood rather than a 1" so they can have their feet covered.

    Also wondering about the spaces between the studs - to cover with poultry wire or something like luan board? Otherwise I would think curious chickens may try to roost on the ledge there. But I feel if I cover with wire, debris could build up behind it, and if I cover completely I worry about bugs (or jeez, mice) making homes inside... So I'm really not sure what to do.:confused:

    I will have to make little chutes & ladders just for my Silkie, appropriately named Tiny :rolleyes:

    Thanks again!
     
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  8. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

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  9. chickachickayea

    chickachickayea Songster

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    biophiliac likes this.
  10. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

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    You will find many of us ready to (endlessly) debate the finer points of roost design!:lau
    ... and any other poultry topic!:lol:
    sorry about the bad link :/.
     

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