can I use an old metal grain bin as a chicken coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by terri1nd, May 4, 2008.

  1. terri1nd

    terri1nd In the Brooder

    May 4, 2008
    Hi everyone, I'm new to this group and am wondering if I can use an old steel grain bin as a chicken coop. I live in North Dakota and we are still getting into the 30's at night. This has been a cold and slow start to spring here this year! I am thinking it would be easier to keep the chicks warm in the grain bin. I was thinking of running electricity to it and hang a heat lamp for the times it is on the cool side. It has a top vent and I was thinking of making a screened door using chicken wire in case it got too warm.
    Any input on this idea?
    thanks so much,
  2. Hi Terri

    Do you have a photo? Is it in a barn or exposed outdoors? Any thoughts on insulation? Love to see it![​IMG]
  3. seedcorn

    seedcorn Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    NE. IN
    Can't speak for your area but in IN, it would have to be well insulated for winters and a lot of ventilation for summer as metal heats up BIG TIME.
  4. ams3651

    ams3651 Songster

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    someone around here made a pavillion out of one. You could do something similar, using the roof and foundation and converting the sides. We have bins like those and they get awful hot in the summer.
  5. terri1nd

    terri1nd In the Brooder

    May 4, 2008
    I do not want to have the chicken through the winter. The chickens I'm getting are JUMBO CORNISH X ROCK meat birds from McMurray's. The winters are just too harsh here for me to keep chickens through the winter (-35-to-40*F), and I'm getting too old to be tending chickens in that kind of environment.
    The grain bin is the smaller grain bin.

    I just need to buy myself some time and if it looks like the bin is getting too warm I will have time to build an addition to a shed for them. I am just needing it to get them to the point they will not need a heat lamp. I repeat this is a cold and dry spring here in North Dakota and the winds are always blowing so I need a secure building asap.
    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    It is your call but I would think the grain bin would be too much enclosed and the smell of them would be very hard to get rid of. They have a stench like no other chicken I know of. You will only have them around about 8 - 10 weeks. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation to keep temps cool also the ammonia from their poop builds up super fast so you'll have to keep a check on them. The bedding is hard to keep clean. They poop and eat and poop some more and drink tons of water. Stress will kill them very quickly. If the grain bin builds up heat you will most likely have chickens dropping like flies. I did the jumbos from MM during the fall and found the cool temps made life much easier for them. They need just as much room to run around in and play as other chickens. Don't crowd them or you will have problems.
  7. Steve

    Steve Ye Olde Henhouse Builder

    My wife has wanted a small bin like the far right one in your picture for a potting shed.....they are hard to come by around here. Most everyone uses them for storage of some sort. Corn cribs are easy to obtain, but not a bin.
  8. Perhaps you could use the storage bin as your utility/feed room and build off the end to house birds for the summer?
  9. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    We've got an old metal grain bin we used to use for seed wheat, but don't anymore and I've wondered if there is some way I could convert it to another coop, but those bins get terribly hot in the summer so you'd have to make some window openings for ventilation or I think they'd probably cook.

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