Can I turn an old freezer into a "winter home" for the girls?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JudyInd, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. JudyInd

    JudyInd Hatching

    Jun 10, 2009
    I just came up with this today and so far I haven't come up with a reason why it wouldn't me! We have a crappy pole barn that has a window hole with no glass. Hubby has promised to make me a chicken run outside this hole and help me make some kind of winter coop INSIDE the pole barn. Right now I have just 3 hens in a tractor but would like to expand up to 10-12.
    So...there's an old (nonworking) upright freezer sitting in the pole barn. Could I open up the back of the freezer for ventilation and for the girls to enter, cut away parts of the racks so they can travel and then use the freezer door for my access. I'm even thinking that if I make SURE the freezer doesn't cool that I could even plug it in, jam the door switch so the light stays on and use that for heat and light part-time.
    I need help!
    Judy in Indiana

  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    1. Getting them to use it as a coop maybe a difficult task.

    2. How would you make it predator proof. Living in the midwest like you I know that there are plenty of racoons and possums on the prowl during the long dark cold winter looking for food.
  3. JudyInd

    JudyInd Hatching

    Jun 10, 2009
    I don't expect too much trouble from predators. The pole barn is pretty "airy" to say the least but we are going to pen in their corner. That's mostly to keep them from wandering around and partly to keep out other critters. I thought if I set a pan of food inside they would come in and then I'm hoping they would be comfortable enough to stay. Like I said, this idea is just a few hours old...still stewing. LOL
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I wouldn't do it. Seriously wouldn't. Too small and th proportions do not suit well to chickens. And offers no actual advantages. The work you'd do to convert it to a (small, poor) 'coop' would be equal or greater than the work required to knock together a little shack out of scrap 2x4s and plywood in the corner of the pole barn, honest... and with the latter, they could have far more space.

    Ideally, partition off something in the polebarn for their coop and make an attached run accessed thru a hole in the wall or the unglassed window.

    Honest, they don't need warmth so much as they need living room (to avoid getting so grumpy they kill each other) and ventilation (to keep the coop dry not humid -- chickens put out really vast amounts of moisture and that's how you get frostbite etc).

    (e.t.a. - and STRONG predator protection, even within the pole barn. Things like weasels and raccoons typically winter in pole barns, remember, even if you are not normally seeing them in your daily rounds. And they will be very hungry, and have lots of time to fiddle around and attempt mischief. Be thorough and strong with your setup.)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  5. I agree with Pat. You could certainly build a coop within the barn, which is what we did. But predator-proofing is the key issue, rather than heat. Some thoughts on how we built and why-

    For three hens ( will you get more in time? [​IMG]) a small indoor coop/run, protected like Fort Knox, can be done cheaply!

    And don;t forget the condensor contains poisonous coolants...
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009

  6. txchickie

    txchickie Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    Quote:I was just going to add this [​IMG] Here we can't even dispose of a freezer/refrigerator until all of the coolant has been removed and disposed of. I think it costs like $25 to have this done. I called our trash removal (when we lived in town) and they gave me the number of a company that removed the chemical, which I think was freon?
  7. BigPeep

    BigPeep Songster

    May 27, 2009
    I decided to bite the bullet and have a real winter coop built. It will cost a few bucks but I should recover the cost in profits from egg sales the first year. I already have 20 egg CSA customers signed up for Fall and am hoping to keep them through the Winter. Having taken all this time and effort to raise the chickens from day old chicks, I don't want to lose them to the weather.

    Mine will have a wire mesh floor that we are putting directly on the ground and then placing 6 by 6 lumber on top the edges for a frame. It will be filled with 4 inches of wood mulch which will be increased over the Winter to the full 6 inches. We are insullating the walls and ceilings. This may not be strictly necessary but I have a bunch of spare foam board insullation of various thicknesses lying around taking up space so I thought I might as well use them. They will be on the outside so the birds don't peck at them and covered with plastic sheeting. I will later add boards from a large stack of unused wooden fencing I got at the end of the season from Home Depot that was damaged so it was very "cheep".
  8. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Quote:I think your idea is BRILLIANT. You only have three hens, and the insulated freezer will be great for them here in Indiana's winter.
    You don't need help; just do it. RECYCLE!

    EDIT: I'd just lay it on it's back, cut a hole in the bottom end for a pop door so the hens can enter and slightly crack the door on top for ventilation when it's not below 15 degrees. Keep it simple.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  9. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

  10. GwenDellAnno

    GwenDellAnno Chirping

    Jul 18, 2009
    Water Valley, AB
    Or you could use it to store your feed/grain in for a vermin proof container [​IMG]

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