Advice Request for Resin Shed to Coop Conversion

BonNuit

Songster
Jul 20, 2020
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Northeastern Ohio
Looking for the wisdom of those here. Pictures are of my area I am referring and two stock pics of my actual shed.

I have 13 hens and one spoiled rooster. From my understanding, they need a coop that is at minimum 42 sq ft. Their current coop does not meet this need, and needs more ventilation -- thus my desire to convert my pre-existing resin shed with a floor that is right next to my secured run. I can't afford to build a wood coop with current lumber costs, my little skill, and time available.

The resin shed is 8x10 and 8 ft high. I calculate that as 80 sq feet, and 491 cubic feet. It has two existing windows, two small vents on each end at the peak, a double man door, and 3 skylights in the roof. It has an existing floor, and was built on a leveled-stone/gravel foundation. It is about 5 years old, has no water leaks and other than needing to be thoroughly cleaned, is in excellent shape.

The secured run is approximately 14x10. It is chain link with 1/2" hardware cloth surrounding it. It is topped with chicken wire, and is 1/3 tarped. During the day, they free-range in a secured yard (about 1/2 acre) that is fenced-in with multiple hiding spots/covered areas.

I live in Northeastern Ohio, just below the "snowbelt." Our average temps in the winter run in the 30's during the day, and lower at night. There are times we are in the teens/20's for periods of time. During very cold blasts, we can go as low as -15ºF. We get the most snow in January and February.
  • If I remove the plexiglass from the existing windows, and cover them with hardware cloth -- would this combined with the two vents be sufficient ventilation?
  • If I put freestanding roosts (12 ft total length) about a foot away from the back wall -- would the windows covered with hardware cloth be too drafty? The windows are in the side walls in the middle of the 10 ft span.
  • Must I put a pop-door in? Or can they simply use the man door to enter/exit?
  • If I made one of the windows into a "pop door" -- (to avoid cutting another hole) -- is there any reason I couldn't make a hardware cloth "door" to cover/lock it at night to keep the ventilation as well? It would have to close/lock from the inside -- is that an issue?
  • I don't need the double door feature, and in fact it seems less secure to me. Is there any reason I couldn't either remove one of the main doors -- or even just leave it open and secure hardware cloth in its place to that to provide even more ventilation? I could use a piece of OSB to cover the bottom half or the whole side during very cold weather? Or even a shower curtain to cut down on drafts? I feel worried how to better secure the whole door area overall.
  • Do I need to hardware cloth around the base of the shed, too? It's built on a gravel foundation.
  • Is the current floor enough? Or do I need to put something else in as well?
  • My coop run.jpg


    Thank you all in advance.
    Screen Shot 2021-09-28 at 6.04.40 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-09-28 at 6.05.25 PM.png
 

rosemarythyme

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- You'd need to add more ventilation than what the 2 windows would provide, the goal being 1 sq ft per chicken.

- Only you would be able to answer the question re: draft on the roost, as wind patterns differ even from one part of town to the other. Once ventilation is in place you can test for drafts by going out on a windy day with a light string or ribbon, held about 1' above the roost, and if there's slight movement or no movement you're good. Lots of movement, and that's an active draft.

- No you don't need a pop door but it's generally easier to predator proof/weather proof a small opening vs an entire door.

- A hardware cloth pop door would provide some ventilation however as noted above the windows would not provide enough ventilation as is. Also you need to consider the difficulty in making a ramp/steps up to a window. Can it be done? Yes. Is it worth doing? Maybe?

- Yes you could use a door opening to provide ventilation, however:
I could use a piece of OSB to cover the bottom half or the whole side during very cold weather?
If the entire door is covered up in cold weather, it's no longer providing ventilation.

- You may not need to apron around the base of the shed (I would, but it is extra work), however if you find you're starting to get rodent intrusion, it'd be best to add one on.

- Floor is currently gravel? You'd need additional litter over the top to 1) catch poops, 2) provide a much softer landing surface for birds coming off the roost, 3) reduce chances of bumblefoot.
 

BonNuit

Songster
Jul 20, 2020
91
141
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Northeastern Ohio
- You'd need to add more ventilation than what the 2 windows would provide, the goal being 1 sq ft per chicken.

- Only you would be able to answer the question re: draft on the roost, as wind patterns differ even from one part of town to the other. Once ventilation is in place you can test for drafts by going out on a windy day with a light string or ribbon, held about 1' above the roost, and if there's slight movement or no movement you're good. Lots of movement, and that's an active draft.

- No you don't need a pop door but it's generally easier to predator proof/weather proof a small opening vs an entire door.

- A hardware cloth pop door would provide some ventilation however as noted above the windows would not provide enough ventilation as is. Also you need to consider the difficulty in making a ramp/steps up to a window. Can it be done? Yes. Is it worth doing? Maybe?

- Yes you could use a door opening to provide ventilation, however:

If the entire door is covered up in cold weather, it's no longer providing ventilation.

- You may not need to apron around the base of the shed (I would, but it is extra work), however if you find you're starting to get rodent intrusion, it'd be best to add one on.

- Floor is currently gravel? You'd need additional litter over the top to 1) catch poops, 2) provide a much softer landing surface for birds coming off the roost, 3) reduce chances of bumblefoot.
No, there’s a floor in the shed. The base foundation that the shed was built on was leveled construction gravel.
As far as the door idea, I meant more like a Dutch door idea with the OSB — leaving 1/2 or 1/3 of the upper half of the door open hardware cloth in very cold temps. Windows are 16.5 x 16.5 inches each = 2 sq ft — so 4 sq ft total. Each vent is 1 sq ft. Six sq foot of ventilation total without the door.
I’m thinking I’d need to drill additional holes covered with hardware cloth at the top of the walls, too —
 
Last edited:

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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No, there’s a floor in the shed. The base foundation that the shed was built on was leveled construction gravel.
As far as the door idea, I meant more like a Dutch door idea with the OSB — leaving 1/2 or 1/3 of the upper half of the door open hardware cloth in very cold temps. Windows are 16.5 x 16.5 inches each = 2 sq ft — so 4 sq ft total. Each vent is 1 sq ft. Six sq foot of ventilation total without the door.
I’m thinking I’d need to drill additional holes covered with hardware cloth at the top of the walls, too —
Good to know about the floor, that should be fine then.

As long as openings can stay open day and night (Dutch door, windows, etc) it counts towards ventilation. Vent holes could work however you'd need a lot of holes to contribute to overall sq ft of ventilation. Cutting larger openings and then maybe using louvered vents to help protect from the weather might be a better option.
 

3KillerBs

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Here is an excellent article on a plastic shed conversion: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-scoop-on-a-rubbermaid-big-max-coop.76444/

And the build thread, which has even more information: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/my-first-attempt-at-a-coop-and-run.1454908/

The main problem with plastic sheds is the difficult of getting adequate ventilation. It's going to be hard to find room to put 14 square feet of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation in that shed, so @Chuckie chicken's example of installing a monitor roof may be your best option if it's within your handyman capabilities. :)
 

Chuckie chicken

Chicken Chucker
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Feb 26, 2021
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Just spit balling here and tossing out random thoughts...

If the skylights are removable panels, perhaps you could install a monitor style roof, even a piece of flashing with some supports, over the peak.

You could bend one piece of hardware cloth to fit the pitch of the roof and screw it in place from the inside (just thru the first layer) so you don't compromise the outer shell. With that in place a simple roof over top that extends far enough to keep rain out should give you some quality ventilation without altering the structure a ton. To get the pitch correct, take two paint stir sticks (or anything like that), and put one one each side of the roof so they cross each other above the peak and fasten them together. That's now the template for your monitor roof pitch.

I would personally keep the double doors. I find them quite useful for cleaning out bedding, airing the coop out, and gaining general access.

Replace every opening you can with hardware cloth. They will be useful for ventilation two thirds of the year where you are, and if necessary, can be covered. It's tough to get enough ventilation, so take whatever you can get.

I wouldn't worry about a predator apron, those floors are pretty tough. Just keep an eye on the perimeter to watch for anything burrowing under the shed. I set mine on patio stones as a precaution.

Put a pop door in. Cut the hole first, then decide how big the door will be, lol! The sheds are easier to cut than you think, just go slow and be careful.

Whether you use the man door for chickens or not, you'll want a barrier across it to keep the bedding inside.

I see @3KillerBs sent a link to my page. If there's anything you'd like better pictures of, let me know, asap I'm here for another 12 days, then off on a new adventure. ✈️🏖️🌴

Good luck!
 

BonNuit

Songster
Jul 20, 2020
91
141
116
Northeastern Ohio
Just spit balling here and tossing out random thoughts...

If the skylights are removable panels, perhaps you could install a monitor style roof, even a piece of flashing with some supports, over the peak.

You could bend one piece of hardware cloth to fit the pitch of the roof and screw it in place from the inside (just thru the first layer) so you don't compromise the outer shell. With that in place a simple roof over top that extends far enough to keep rain out should give you some quality ventilation without altering the structure a ton. To get the pitch correct, take two paint stir sticks (or anything like that), and put one one each side of the roof so they cross each other above the peak and fasten them together. That's now the template for your monitor roof pitch.

I would personally keep the double doors. I find them quite useful for cleaning out bedding, airing the coop out, and gaining general access.

Replace every opening you can with hardware cloth. They will be useful for ventilation two thirds of the year where you are, and if necessary, can be covered. It's tough to get enough ventilation, so take whatever you can get.

I wouldn't worry about a predator apron, those floors are pretty tough. Just keep an eye on the perimeter to watch for anything burrowing under the shed. I set mine on patio stones as a precaution.

Put a pop door in. Cut the hole first, then decide how big the door will be, lol! The sheds are easier to cut than you think, just go slow and be careful.

Whether you use the man door for chickens or not, you'll want a barrier across it to keep the bedding inside.

I see @3KillerBs sent a link to my page. If there's anything you'd like better pictures of, let me know, asap I'm here for another 12 days, then off on a new adventure. ✈️🏖️🌴

Good luck!
Thank you for so much detailed information -- it's truly appreciated. I love the idea for modifying the "skylights" -- and I am going to take a look at them later this afternoon when I am done with work. I have to confess that I had to google what a "monitor style roof" was -- but now that I see it -- it makes perfect sense!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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Thank you for so much detailed information -- it's truly appreciated. I love the idea for modifying the "skylights" -- and I am going to take a look at them later this afternoon when I am done with work. I have to confess that I had to google what a "monitor style roof" was -- but now that I see it -- it makes perfect sense!

My coop article also includes photos of the framing for a monitor: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-little-monitor-coop.76275/

I highly recommend them -- massive ventilation that's totally draft-free.
 

BonNuit

Songster
Jul 20, 2020
91
141
116
Northeastern Ohio
Here is an excellent article on a plastic shed conversion: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-scoop-on-a-rubbermaid-big-max-coop.76444/

And the build thread, which has even more information: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/my-first-attempt-at-a-coop-and-run.1454908/

The main problem with plastic sheds is the difficult of getting adequate ventilation. It's going to be hard to find room to put 14 square feet of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation in that shed, so @Chuckie chicken's example of installing a monitor roof may be your best option if it's within your handyman capabilities. :)
Thank you so much for these links -- especially the second one -- which was I completely missed when I tried to search. It's really helpful. :)
 

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