Chicken Coop - Inside a larger barn

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Just sayin, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

    184
    34
    88
    Sep 9, 2014
    Hi all! Have lurked a long time, and looked at many of the coop designs here to get ideas. Some of your coops are so beautiful I'm afraid ours will look very plain by comparison... but I thought I'd share it, because in all my looking at coop designs, I haven't seen one that is not it's own structure, but rather is built within an existing barn.

    We have a five-stall horse barn with a concrete aisle that houses our horses, goats and pig. It has a large hay storage area at one end, and that's where we decided to build our coop... For ease of construction, and for security, as our barn is buttoned up tight each night and very secure against weather and predators.

    This is our first year having chickens... and we started out with a variety of girls for eggs. We couldn't decide which breed we wanted, so we bought one of each that they had at the feed store. One Leghorn, one Buff Orpington, one Rhode Island Red, one Black Australorpe, one Golden Laced Wyandotte, one Barred Rock, and one Americauna (who turned out to be a rooster).

    They lived in the house in a brooder for the first few weeks, and then it came time to start building the coop.

    We decided to build the coop in what is the hay room area. It's a big area, 24x36, with big sliding doors at the end for bringing in hay. Also can be closed off from the rest of the barn if we want.

    Without posting too many pics of the details, because they're simple, we decided on a size and built the whole thing out of existing wood and materials we had around. Used posts, boards, pallets, and part of an old baby crib.

    [​IMG]

    Drawers from a cabinet we took out of the house became our nest boxes...

    [​IMG]

    When it was all done... (at least the first layout revision was done ;))

    [​IMG]

    Peepers checking out the new digs...

    [​IMG]

    Finishing it up... we enclosed it with horse mesh, which we realize is too big for little chicks or for security if they were outside, it works well for us inside, where the main goal is to keep thieving goats and our pig out of it.

    We think it has a bit of a Tiki Bar feel about it. It needs palm trees, I think. :)

    [​IMG]

    As the chickens grew up and we learned more about what they like, we ended up remodeling inside, and this is the current layout. The nest boxes at the end have worked out well, now that they've started laying, they are using them. But we removed the low perches, because they didn't use them, they all crowded on top of the nest boxes instead. So we put in some nice high perches where they really wanted to be, and a platform for feed and water that makes for an easy way to get up and down.

    Latest layout inside...

    [​IMG]

    Nest boxes are still at the other end, and working well! They just started laying this week. Our Leghorn Sally showing us how it's done!

    [​IMG]

    Anyway... that's our coop, and our intro to chicken-keeping! A different kind of coop than I've seen, but it's working for us!

    [​IMG]

    By day we open up the barn and the chickens can free-range in the barnyard with our goats and our pig... Under the watchful eye of our dog Foster. On days when the weather is bad, or we're not there to watch them, they're just as happy to stay inside and roam the barn, particularly if I haven't cleaned the horse stalls yet! :)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,455
    361
    228
    Mar 31, 2014
    Ohio
    Nice coop! We do learn a lot about what they like and what works. Welcome to BYC![​IMG]
     
  3. myfarm4579

    myfarm4579 Chillin' With My Peeps

    257
    10
    83
    Jun 28, 2014
    Great coop. Welcome and good luck to you and your farm.
     
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    7,550
    354
    311
    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Nicely done, an excellent way to incorporate the animals.
     
  5. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

    184
    34
    88
    Sep 9, 2014
    Thanks all! Live and learn! I'm wondering already if we made it too small... It's OK for our current numbers, and everyone gets along well... but we've never built anything on this place and then said "I wish it wasn't so big". Always wish it was bigger.

    Will be asking a few questions along the way I'm sure. I've been concerned about whether they'll be cold out there during our occasional cold snaps, but I've read enough answers already that maybe I don't have to worry too much. We're in Western WA so we get more wet than cold most of winter, and I know they will stay dry in there... but during our week-long cold snaps it can get into the teens or single digits outside. With the barn closed up and horses and other animals in there... it stays a bit warmer... water rarely freezes inside. But they're separated from being able to snuggle with the livestock. Will they be OK where they are? Their coop design doesn't really trap much body heat. Should we add any kind of heat? I'm leery about any heat source in a barn, I don't like heat lamps, for fire risk. But maybe a radiator kind they can snuggle up to? Does anyone use the wide electric rocks like they make for reptiles for a little warmth they can sit on?

    Just things I've been thinking about.... :)
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,729
    2,251
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Your coop is very nice! My only issue is with the wire wall and ceiling; hardware cloth added would be much safer, and baby chicks can get through that wire too. Weasels, snakes, rats, and raccoon hands are all out there... Mary
     
  7. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

    184
    34
    88
    Sep 9, 2014
    The good news is we don't have any snakes big enough to be a threat. Just garter snakes, and they are the ones at risk from the chickens!

    No varmint can get in at night, the doors are all closed. No rats, raccoons or weasels can get in, and they stay out of the area where the dog is by day. Never had one in the barn. Fabric would be easy enough to add though, if we thought they might... or before we try to put little babies in there.

    We have coyotes around, of course, and even a cougar. That's why the barn is closed up at night, to protect the goats and pig. Our biggest risk to the chickens is from eagles... but our dog is VERY good about the eagles if he's out there. He runs the chickens and the goats (just to be sure!) all into the barn if any big bird is about...

    See him up there? See the dog? :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The eagles sit in that tree daily when the fish are running in our creek. I imagine we'll just keep the chickens in the barn for those weeks. The good news about the eagles is they aren't quiet. They really make a racket when they're around... and the dog just goes bonkers.
     
  8. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

    184
    34
    88
    Sep 9, 2014
    I worry about a brave coyote or other varmint by day, but not at night. We have mesh fence and electric around the barnyard, but I don't doubt they could get through that if they wanted to, especially if the dog isn't paying attention. When we're going to be gone all day, both the goats and chickens are kept inside to roam the barn.

    I sortof wish our accidental rooster wasn't announcing his presence to every coyote in the county all day, but I haven't been able to convince him to be quiet yet. ;-)

    The dog is a good guardian when he's on the job. But he's a dog... and distractable... and I sometimes need to kick his butt off the couch and tell him to get back to work outside! :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,729
    2,251
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Great pictures! Mary
     
  10. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

    184
    34
    88
    Sep 9, 2014
    Thank you! I take a lot of pictures. Feel naked without a camera in my pocket. My facebook friends all know my animals well. ;)

    New layout is working really well! They're not messing the platform where the food is too much. Am I the only person in the world that doesn't use a special feeder for the chickens? We bought a feeder when they were little, but found it harder to clean out and fill. We just use that rubber bowl for food, and the small bucket for water. They rarely mess in the water or food dishes, but if they do we can just dump it and refill. They can reach in without standing on it, I think that helps. Is there some reason to get a special waterer/feeder?

    Each morning I use one of those long handled brush/snow scrapers to sweep any poops off the wood surfaces and down onto the floor. Biggest poop problem is up on top of the nest box roof, a few of them still like to sleep up there.

    [​IMG]


    But the long handled brush can reach it. Once in awhile I can shovel the floor out and put new shavings in. Have a constant supply of that with horses. Cleaning up after chickens is easy! :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by