Contemplating building a coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by falmund, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. falmund

    falmund New Egg

    Dec 5, 2009
    Ok, my wife has been after me forever to get some chickens. So, I am going to surprise her by building a coop and run while she is out of town. We have a large property, and a ginormous garage/quonset hut. I have the ability to easily enclose a 6'x15' section of the garage, cust a door and some windows in the corrugated steel sides, and an area right outside the new door that I can fence in that is 16x25. I was hoping someone had done somehting similar before and could give me some advice. The garage has a slab floor, but I was considering building a platform above that, if nothing else, just for temp control. We live in Eastern Nebraska, so winters can be pretty cold. I have easy electrical access and a full shop, so the construction shouldn't be hard, nor expensive. I know I need to think about ventilation, access and temp control of some kind. Any suggestions.
  2. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    Northern CA
    I can't give you any advice because I don't have any except I just want to say, "your wife is LUCKY!"
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Nope...never done anything like that before. But it sounds great! I would leave the concrete...just put down 3-4 inches of shavings to warm it up and make it easier on their tootsies. Won't have to worry about predators digging in! Since you're already framed for a garage, I would strongly suggest insulating, since you're in a cold area, especially in the ceiling. We insulated and I love it! I still use a heat lamp on nights I consider too cold for my girls, but I can't imagine how cold it would be in there (and how much more electricity I would be using) if we hadn't insulated... Good luck and have fun! I'd love a surprise like that! [​IMG]
    PS. If this isn't your forever home, and you simply don't want the concrete pad contaminated, you could always just put down cheap vinyl over it, with shaving on top of that...???
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Whoa, your wife married well [​IMG] <applause>

    Slab floor is great, I wouldn't do anything raised, just bed extra heavily in winter, a foot or more is not too much, pine shavings are *cheap* and you can pretty much just leave them there all winter or even longer. That will be plenty floor insulation.

    Quonsets, and slab-floored buildings, and thus particularly slab-floored quonsets, tend to have condensation problems in the winter, esp. when you get a thaw-y spell. I would suggest making sure you have VERY AMPLE ventilation available for the building as a whole and for the coop area in particular, b/c you will sometimes really need it.

    If you can insulate the part of the metal skin that the coop is against, it'd be a real good idea, not just in terms of temperature control but in terms of avoiding condensation and humidity problems.

    You will probably find that if the building is left mostly-closed (with just some ventilation open) most of the time in the winter, it will likely stay significantly warmer in there on the coldest nights than if you had a small freestanding coop, so you have a big advantage there.

    Be aware that chickens produce vast quantities of a fine greasy dust that gets on, and sticks to, EVERYTHING. If you have machinery, tools, vehicles, or anything else you don't want blanketed in chicken dust stored in the quonset building, I would strongly suggest solid walls on the coop portion (with ventilation openings) to minimize the spread of the dust.

    BTW that is an excellent size for a coop and run, it would make half a dozen chickens VERY happy but has room to add a considerable number more if your wife prefers. Do not let anyone tell you that it is "too large" for a cold-winter area -- there is no such thing, if you want to concentrate the chickens' body heat around them at night you can build a sort of 'coop within a coop' enclosure around the roost so that they get the best of both worlds.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    The trick with a quonset type building is to cut an opening which can be made water tight. Is it just a pop door for the chooks or an entrance door for you? I have one and if I was going to do that I would send off to the MFR for a kit unless it was just a pop door. Too much trouble to try to form the sheet metal to match the corrugated panels for my taste. I would plan on no windows on N side and if vent or vents there then they must be the type that can be closed. I would put all windows on the S, W, and E sides and save the N side for nests and feed trough. If you do a raised floor, then it should have linoleum glued down before framing walls (easier and quicker) If you have the space, then do a really large run unless you are doing free range. If free range, then start with more birds than you need because you WILL lose some to preds. Do not let them out to free range until they are fully grown or around 4 mo old at least. Less chance of a hawk getting them when they are larger.

    May have to do raised floor if ground outside is higher than slab, (not likely in Nebraska)

    A useful tip is to always use Sonneborne NP1 caulk for all applications that must repel water. (like the door to be cut in side of the quonset bldg. It is the best you can buy, hands-down. It can only be bought at roofers supply houses. Home improvement stores do not stock it here in Tenn. Silicone is not even in the same league. I built my building and when I grouted in the corrugated panels to the base trough I put two coats of sealer on the cement first, then caulked between the cement and the steel panels to slow the steel's corrosion from the concrete. No water ever gets to seep into that space/crack no matter what.

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