Building New Coop/Barn...Phase 5 Great Barn Build, OCCUPIED! 3/6/16

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by speckledhen, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    We are considering a steel building to retrofit for a coop, either this
    [​IMG]
    Or, possibly a more regular type but it will be large enough to replace all the coops plus have storage for all waterers, feeders, hay, etc., maybe even an office room, in the building.

    [​IMG]


    My question, especially with the first one is about the floor. We don't really want concrete because of possible leg injury to the birds, not to mention added expense, and don't really want just dirt because I can't figure how to keep rats from tunneling inside. If anyone has done one of these, what did you do for the floor? We are thinking about sand, but how, exactly? Over wire mesh and dirt? Having trouble figuring the floor issue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,785
    6,230
    496
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    [​IMG]

    My multi purpose shed, I have my large chickens, goats and donkeys in mine as well as hay storage, we have divided it up into pens, a goat area, donkey area, and three separate chicken areas where I can confine them if I wish, but the chickens can go all over except in the hay storage.

    We have a mixed flooring, in the two chicken pens we have put concrete to discourage rats and to make it easier to clean, other parts are packed gravel which gets a bit of hay on it in winter, the donkey and goat areas are deep litter which is cleaned out once a year and restarted.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I personally would make the floor a packed gravel with some bedding on top, we do have to battle rats every fall until it freezes, they tunnel up everywhere.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    @oldhenlikesdogs thanks for your pictures. The rat issue is one that I would hate to have to battle. In our coops, other than one that was not built as a coop, we don't have any issue with mice or rats getting into the coop itself, though the pens are a different story. My one cat cannot handle all of the mice, though he does make a dent.

    The issue is how these metal units are built and leveled and the spot we need it to be has a gentle slope to it. Unless I have a foundation perimeter done at the very least, I'm not sure how to seal up those gaps at the bottom of the walls well enough. It may become clear after the actual shell of the building is in place, but of course, the decision must be made before the building is ordered. We are tired of wood and the issues with it like rot and peeling paint, etc. A steel building will eliminate most all that. of course, we have to put up the pens inside but that should be a piece of cake after the floor is figured out.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,785
    6,230
    496
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    We have resorted to using poison on the rats as they are too smart for traps, it makes me nervous every year, are you where the ground freezes pretty good, some years our sheds heave a bit. As for the gaps at the bottom we have used a mix of railroad ties, mill felt and gravel fill.

    As you can see by my shed they do eventually rust, I don't know how old it is though, we have been here 18 years and it's always been rusty, one day we hope to redo the tin. I will be curious as to what you decide.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    We have never used poison, just keep the tall grasses down and don't pile wood around the coops. I may wimp out and go back to a sided building but I really get more floor space for the $$ with the steel ones, I think. We'll see. I know they can rust, guess everything has a drawback of some sort. And it won't be as warm as a wood building. Some have a "closure package" where they make it more airtight, sealing up gaps but that just adds lots of cost. Will let you know what we do; I'm sure it will evolve and the idea will change shape.
     
  6. Mini Meat

    Mini Meat Chillin' With My Peeps

    When I find a rat entry point I stuff it with the ribbon type (not the wooly type) steel wool, then I fill in with expanding foam. The rats try to chew through but hit the steel and give up, any steel they ingest will likely kill them.

    You might also consider contacting a feral cat rescue and acquiring a few spayed females.
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thanks for the tip, had heard about steel wool. I haven't had much of a rat issue so far, only saw those when grasses grew up tall and we had a bunch of stuff shoved under one of the coops. That was before our cat showed up last fall, but he's only one cat and can't be everywhere at once. My husband doesn't generally like cats, but he really likes Finn so Finn got to stay. I keep hoping another cat will become Finn's buddy and take up residence to help with the rodent duties. I was just worried about this particular type building and the way the flooring will go in.

    I think we've decided that concrete footers will be laid around the perimeter for the building to sit on. So, it should sit flat/level on those footers and all I'd have to think about are rats tunneling under those (I think).
     
  8. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,327
    457
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    [quote name="speckledhen" url="/t/10239

    The issue is how these metal units are built and leveled and the spot we need it to be has a gentle slope to it. Unless I have a foundation perimeter done at the very least,

    [/quote]

    Those barns are at a minimum going to be built on concrete footing. Budget another $5-10000 for the dirt and concrete work. I think I was quoted $60/foot for everything. I would look at a barn design with one side horse stalls and open for runs. Easier to retrofit it into a coop.
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I'm sure of the concrete footing, not a slab, cannot afford that. They can go on gravel, but I want something more permanent and solid. I mean, it's not just a carport or for storage but to house animals. And definitely cannot afford another $5-10K over the cost of the building. I'm sure I can find someone local to do the footings so will have to get some estimates. The guy doing our pasture could do it but he seems to have too many irons in the fire and is leaving for Cuba in November anyway, no idea for how long (Nat'l Guard).

    I'm not doing runs, per se, hard to explain, no pop doors cut. May rethink that one but for now, that's the plan. They'll go into the center aisle, with double doors closed, to get out of the pens on nasty days or free range one group at a time, which is pretty much what they do now, except each has a pen attached to their coop.

    Thinking rectangle building about 28 or 30' x 25', double doors on center of one end that open into the center aisle, 4 windows, installed barn fan to exhaust heat, 10-12' height. I don't want it for just a coop but for storage, too. The building itself, depending on who does it and options, etc, has been estimated by a couple of these companies at between $9-10K, but that isn't with insulating the roof so it doesn't sweat, an issue with this type of building and having animals in there.

    Of course, I may completely do a 180* and go back to planning a wood building but I hate the thought of paint again. Maybe a stained one would be less work. But, unless you get one custom built, they only come in 14' widths and are more expensive than the metal ones, comparing floor space.
     
  10. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,327
    457
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    There's a neat product out there called stall skins. Custom fit rubber flooring that goes a few inches up the sides. Easy to install. You can also go with rubber mats over dirt to make more of a barrier plus provide some insulation from the ground.

    Why would you want chickens in the breezeway? Poop everywhere. The breezeway will be the most valuable space in the barn. You need to keep it available. Going with an open shed on one side should save you some money up front. Divi up the shed into coops over the winter. Even going with wood construction will last because it's protected from the elements. Use part of the overhang in a run if you want smaller coops.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by