Build a coop inside barn vs a free-standing structure

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by labhaven, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. labhaven

    labhaven In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Hello! I have a 36X60 barn that I've had restored. New roof, new foundation, floors, etc.. Basically, I just use it for storage and a workshop. I've been wanting to raise some chickens and possibly some other livestock someday. My question: Are there any reasons not to take a corner of my barn and build a coop in it so that I can utilize this existing structure? Or is it better to have a seperate, free-standing structure? The barn would definitely provide protection from the weather and undesirable critters as it has a solid cement floor, etc.. I think it would be more cost effective then a seperate structure. Years ago, there was a lean to added to the south end of the barn and my great-great grandmother raised a 100 hens in it. I don't plan on going to that extreme [​IMG] I'm thinking more in the neighborhood of 8-10 hens. Thanks for your thoughts on this.
  2. Rebekah

    Rebekah Songster

    Jun 20, 2009
    Burlington County, NJ
    As long as there's proper ventilation allowing for fresh air to enter and maybe a small door allowing for access to an outside run [adjacent to the barn], I think that's probably an ideal set-up that will save you a lot of money.
  3. JMPE

    JMPE Songster

    Aug 1, 2009
    Western Wisconsin
    I am completely new to this (like I don't even have my chicks yet), but I did something like this in a little 10x10 shed for the same reasons you listed. Indoors I have a small insulated coop (we live in WI) with roost area and nesting boxes which attaches to an indoor run area (hardwire). I am still working on the outdoor run. I can not have them running free. I think the existing shed was a huge help in setting things up and gave me way more protection. Be sure to provide the sheltter, space and ventalation they will need. Have fun!
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I agree! Several on here have done it. The concrete floor is ideal for predator protection. And the barn itself will give you SOME ventilation.
  5. BroomFarm

    BroomFarm In the Brooder

    May 3, 2009
    I enjoyed going to the extra time and expense of building a free-standing chicken coop and found it very gratifying. I think the reason you see so many posts on here about coops is that many people like their chickens but they LOVE building stuff! There is something very satisfying about providing a safe and functional structure for your birds.

    After I had finished our coop a neighbor mentioned he was getting several chickens from a relative who didn't like them as much as they thought they would. He faced the same situation you are in: Build a coop or adapt a section of his barn. He took the easy (and smart?) way out and used the barn. It took a great deal less time and money to build what he needed and aside from a coon problem that he had to "take care of", it has worked out very well.

    I think the question you really want to ask yourself is, do you want the mess and odor of chickens in your nicely restored barn or do you have the time and resources to build something free-standing?
  6. labhaven

    labhaven In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Thanks for the support! One additional benefit to my barn is that I have electric service to it. I can have lighting as the days grow shorter. As far as a run, that would be visible from the kitchen so I can keep an eye on things!

    My great aunt was the last one to have chickens on the farm. The old hen house fell into total disrepair and I had to tear it down. She use to free range her hens. I remember watching my great uncle split firewood with a woodsplitter. Her one hen, blackie, would come running when he heard the splitter get started. He would hang out just a few feet away waiting for a bug or grub to get tossed his way. One neat thing I found in the barn, her "Eggs for Sale" sign that she use to hang on the porch when she had an abundance of eggs.
  7. Rambo Rooster

    Rambo Rooster In the Brooder

    May 15, 2009
    Randolph County, NC
    My coop is in my barn. I was making plans to move an old coop closer to my barn, and suddenly one of my horses died. So now I had an empty stall with an opening to the outside. With a little wire and a little wood, the stall became a coop, with a run. It has a dirt floor, but 1100 pounds of horse turns North Carolina red dirt into something like concrete. Plus, having horses walking around keeps some of the other critters away.
  8. mayden

    mayden In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2009
    Tioga, PA
    I think putting it in the barn is a great idea. I agree with previous post that you need proper ventilation. I would make sure you don't get fumes from farm equipment etc. Another important aspect is to have access to a run and natural light I believe would be important.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    There are some really big advantages to building it in the barn:

    - much less cost
    - better thermal buffering (cooler in summer, less cold in winter)
    - easier to ventilate well when weather is nasty outside (b/c you can ventilate into barn) (though you may need to confront the dust issue if sensitive stuff shares the barn with the chickens)
    - utilities are already there

    The only two disadvantages of building it in the barn:

    - you don't get to select site/style/etc and make it all purty and custom and just-so; and
    - it is (perversely) usually harder to predatorproof a coop in a barn, especially if it is dirt or gravel floored, than a freestanding coop. It can certainly be done, you'll just have to work harder is all.

    So, SURE THING, use part of your barn [​IMG] You can always build a separate coop later if you decide you like chickens but want them elseewhere - meanwhile it is an easy way to try them out [​IMG] And you may end up with them in your barn permanently anyhow [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: