Barn into open air coop conversion

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by henless, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    DH and I have been working on our chicken coop/run the last few weeks. Progress is slow since we only have occasional weekends to work on it. We live in East Texas where the summers are hot, 100+ and the winters usually get into the 20's a few times.

    We're converting two stalls in our barn into the coop/run area. Both are 10x10 with a tin roof. We had thought about putting up a divider wall between coop/run, but just decided to make it one big area for now. We do plan on making an outdoor run later, probably 20x20 with a wire/shade cloth top.

    This is what it looked like when we started. I haven't used the barn in a couple of years since we sold our last horse. It's a wonder how much stuff gets "stored" there from family/friends when something is sitting idle.

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    Looks like we've got a lot of cleaning up to do! The boat belongs to a friend of ours, so it will be covered and moved to make room for the pen.


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    We're making progress! The coop will be where the middle stall is, on the left. The covered run will be the first stall.


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    All cleaned out! Now the real work begins! :)

    This is a 30x30 barn. It has 3 stalls on the left and 3 stall "areas" on the right. The first 2 stalls on left will be our coop/run and the last stall will remain a stall for now.

    I will post later with more updates. Thanks for looking and we welcome any tips/advice as we go along.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Where you are I’d leave one wall wire and put the roosts back in the cul-de-sac created so they are out of direct winds hitting them. The winds I’m talking about are not just the cold winds in winter but the hurricanes and thunderstorms you’ll have. Just being back where they are closed in on three sides should work great in any weather. I’d also have open ventilation up high over their heads year around. In your climate that will work.

    In summer I’d go for even more ventilation. With one side wire you don’t need a window for light, but I’d want some other places low down or at roost level on the sides or back you could open up for even more ventilation. Where you are cold is not an enemy, heat is. Your heat can kill. When you are putting in your walls, just don’t cover between the wall studs and use hardware cloth instead in an area or two. Have a shutter or door you can lock open during warm or hot weather but close if a hurricane or real bad cold snap is coming. It does not have to be fancy or complicated.

    I don’t see any big advantage in creating an inside run. The only possible advantage I can see is if you want some flexibility where you could isolate one chicken or group of chickens form others. That could come in handy if you are integrating down the road, but all it will take is a cheap chicken wire fence inside with a door you can open or close.

    Old barns can be tricky in keeping predators out. Do pay attention to that. That includes digging predators or climbers that may come in from the top.

    For the nests try to put them on a wall that does not get direct sunlight. You don’t want them to be an oven. If you close them in, make them a little tall and have on opening in the top of them for ventilation.

    When you build the outside run, slope the roof enough that water will run off and slope it so that water leaves the run so it will stay drier. Also you might consider screening part of the south and west sides to give them more shade. A lot of direct sunlight comes in from the sides.

    You have a great opportunity there. Good luck with it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for all the tips!!

    Our roost is going along the back wall, it is almost due North. We are planning on putting vents along the top of the North and East wall. The nests will be located in the east wall and open into the barn aisle, so no sun will be hitting the nests. They will be covered by the barn roof.

    We finished putting in the cement yesterday. We put a four inch wide and about 10-12 inches deep perimeter of cement all along the wall line. We will also be putting a 2ft apron of wire all around the coop/run.

    I dont know if we're going to put a solid top on the run or not. Right now we are planning on hardware cloth with a shade cloth over to help with the sun.
     
  4. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    Continuing with our build...

    We need to add some dirt to the coop area. After years of having horses, they have walked in/out of the stalls wearing down the dirt. This will help, but we will need some more before we start putting up the wire.

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    I shoveled all the dirt into the run before the rains came. Now construction begins! The mound in the middle is my granddaughters sand castle.

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    This is where I had a change in design. Originally, I had planned on a 4 ft door there on the left into the run. The 31/2 ft door next to it went into the coop. I decided not to separate coop and run, so just put hardware cloth instead of the 4ft door.

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    This is a shot from the South end of the run. Once it is complete, I plan on putting a raised garden bed all along the front of this 10 foot span.

    The dirt I added helped a lot, but we are still needing some more. We've been getting a lot of rain, so having trouble finding some that is dry.
     
  5. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got some more pics of our build uploaded, so will post them to show the progress to date.

    These are the beginnings of our exterior nesting boxes. There will be 6 in total, 2 rows of 3 across with rear access. This view is from the back. We haven't finished them yet.


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    This is the front view. I got the dish tubs at Wal-Mart. I plan on cutting some out of the front to make access a bit easier. The measurements for the nests are 14" across, 14" high and 17" deep. I still need to add the nest separators and back access doors.

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    The space below the tubs will be osb as will the space above them up to the top 2x4. From the 2x4 to the ceiling will be a 2ft ventilation covered with hardware cloth. The space to the right of the nests will be the coop door.


    For the next picture, please ignore my thumb across the top. [​IMG] I forgot to move it sometimes and have to edit a lot of my pics.


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    This is our "coop" area. The space to the right is the door, then nesting boxes and our roost will run along the 10ft span of the back wall. We plan on building an outdoor brooder/seperation pen under the roost. The vent that runs along the top above the osb starts at 6" and increases to 2' when it reaches the right corner. Will that be enough ventilation for the coop area? The left wall will be closed to the roof line.

    I have a question. The left wall is a 5 ft span right now. Should we go ahead and extend the wall with osb another 5 ft to give more wind protection, should we put up hardware cloth for that 5 feet and use a tarp when needed or put up a 5 ft wall from the bottom up half way and cloth the rest of the way? If we enclose with osb either fully or partially, I plan on putting another 10 ft roost along that wall and putting my feed/water under it.


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    Most of the framing for the hardware cloth is finished. We finished putting down the rest of the cement perimeter yesterday.

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    This is the view from where the future 20x20 foot outdoor run will be. The two sections to the right will be hardware cloth. The section next to the osb we are still undecided on. Either osb, cloth or both.


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    This is from the end of the covered run into the coop area. We have some wire up on the right. We still need to put some more dirt inside the coop, so framing on the left and end has not been done yet. Cement surround has been done, just letting it cure.


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    This view is from the roost area out toward the end of the run. You can see my dirt pile I'm using to bring into the pen.

    That's Blu my buzzard dog. Every time she spots one she gives chase. I'm trying to teach her to chase the hawks when we hear/see one.

    Thats all for now. I'll post more pics as we get time to work on it. I want to have it finished before we get any chicks. I plan on starting them in an indoor brooder in the shop, then move them to the outdoor brooder in the coop when they are a couple of weeks old.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
    eclecktic1 likes this.
  6. BcMaranFan

    BcMaranFan New Egg

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    East Texas, sounds like coyote hunting heaven to me!! Coop/run looks awesome. I'm guessing your chickens will be spoiled just like my BCmarans.
     
  7. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    The coyotes are bad here. We've had a few come into the yard, but mostly they stick to the woods and bigger pastures around us.

    Thanks! I can't wait to get it finished!
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Smart [​IMG]

    Great Build, thanks for posting!
     
  9. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! I can't wait until we get it finished and I can finally get my chicks.

    Looking at your coop, I LOVE your dutch door! I had thought about doing that on mine, but didn't know if it would really work. Looks like it works great on yours. Do you still like it or do you wish you had made a single door?
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Thanks, I do like the dutch doors. I can dole out treats without them trying to get out or mobbing me....or the pup tempted to get in the coop.
    I had the food and water within reach of the upper door too, but moved the food under the roost board.
    I probably use the whole door more often, the top and bottom latch together to act like a single door, but like the option.
     

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