Conversion of "3 sides totally open" aviary to a "good for chickens" coop.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by paneubert, May 1, 2018.

  1. I started a thread about my plans to convert my quail aviary to a chicken coop a couple days ago, but named it something like "what is the deal with chicken tunnels?". Figured I would start a new thread with a better name where I actually document my thought process (and actual process) of converting the "aviary" to a "coop". So this is that. Haha. First things first, here is a quick and dirty overview of what I am working with. This aviary is built under a second story deck attached to my house. I also plan to make a run directly outside of this coop/aviary that will be about 15 by 25 feet in size.

    This current structure is.....
    Just under 9 feet wide (think 9 feet along the side of my house)
    7.3 feet from ground to roof.
    6.6 feet "deep" (from wire wall to house siding).



    I just Googled around a bit, and it seems that there are on average only about 30 days per year that are below freezing. I feel like that is on the low end of accurate, but who knows. Maybe there are just a ton of days that are in the mid 30's and I lump them in with the sub-freezing days. Just for context.

    First question for the experts. If I plan to mount my nest boxes and roosts on the solid wall/my actual house, how much of a wind block do you think I need? I am thinking about closing off all of the wall opposite the doorway, 6.6 feet of wall. And then probably at least the 3 feet of width the door occupies, if not that entire second 6.6 foot side as well. I would leave something like a 1 foot wide strip of venting around the top of both sides. This would turn my coop into what is sort of an ugly step-child of the classic "Woods Open Air Coop". Sort of.....not really. But sort of. Haha. More like a "3 sides are closed off, one side is totally open" coop.

    The 9 foot wide side faces directly south, but there is a 6 foot fence 25 feet in front of that wire, and a tree basically in front of the aviary. So there will not be massive wind blowing in. But a breeze would make it for sure. It seems walling off the short sides makes sense, but I am not so sure what I want to do for the wide 9 foot side. Would it be a waste of time and effort to leave the bottom 2 feet of the wide side open and then close off all the rest up to the roof? Imagine me slapping a couple sheets of 4 foot by 8 foot plywood across the mid-height of that wall of hardware cloth for example.

    I want to keep it airy and want to be able to use this coop/aviary as a smaller run when the girls need to be kept contained, so I don't want to close it all off from natural light. I want them to be able to see out, and for me to see in. Also, obviously the less I need to close off, the easier and cheaper my conversion will be.

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would hesitate to attach anything to the house, other than the obvious framing needed.
    No sense in putting holes in the siding if you don't absolutely have to,
    you may sorely regret it down the road.

    Put the nests on one of the end walls, with gathering access outside the coop.
    Mostly solid end walls and the long side open sounds pretty good to me.
    Think about being able to install clear wind breaks, heavy plastic or clear(ish) corrugated panels on most or some of the open parts for winter.

    Dem's my thoughts.
  3. We are on the same wavelength regarding the human house. When I built it for the quail, I tried to only attach the bare minimum to the human house siding. I think I managed to only staple gun in some of the hardware cloth. The rest was just posts cemented as close to the house siding as I could get them and then all the wire is attached to those posts. My thoughts for the chicken accoutrements (if I do have the roosts and nests against the human house wall) is to make a freestanding frame from which I can mount things. Probably put it in the type of concrete footers you use for a deck. The ones with the metal holder for a 4 by 4 post coming out the top of the concrete block. That way it is secure but technically not attached to the human house. Maybe even back it with some thin boards so the siding is actually protected from the chickens. But would need to find the balance between the gap between the house and the roost/nest structure being so small that it retains moisture or lacks airflow, or too large where a chicken gets back there and is trapped. Haha.

    Your suggestion of doing all the additions to the open side seems more and more appealing....if I am already going to close off a side, might as well use that closed side for attaching things to....
  4. JDN

    JDN Songster

    Feb 28, 2018
    Raleigh NC
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  5. Those schematics do look extremely similar to what I am thinking for the 9 foot side of mine. A strip of solid front wall with a good amount of wire both below and above. Appears that their solid strip corresponds with the roost bar height? They don't really seem to indicate if the common nesting box is on the floor, or maybe also as high as the roosts? I know the common wisdom is to have the roosts higher than the nests...

    EDIT: I now see their nests are 18 inches off the ground. Hmmmm....

    Ohh, and I am only thinking 4-6 chickens....but you know how that goes....
  6. ButtonquailGirl14

    ButtonquailGirl14 Crossing the Road

    Jul 13, 2017
    Northport WA
    mixedUPturk likes this.
  7. Haha. I built this a couple years ago. And yeah, just got done hatching about 200 quail......but believe it or not I only have about 20 chicks, teens, and adults from all that hatching. I think I saturated the local market with all my babies.....

    I will probably not get out of the quail scene completely, but I think they might get booted to a smaller enclosure I build on the other side of the yard. Or into rabbit hutches.
  8. ButtonquailGirl14

    ButtonquailGirl14 Crossing the Road

    Jul 13, 2017
    Northport WA
    OK... Poor quails!!:hit:hit:hit:hit
  9. They will be fine. I promise. Even if I cage them, they will still be treated better than some of the crazy things I have seen people do to their quail. I would feel bad moving them from a 55 SF ground contact aviary to tiny cages. So I will have to find some middle option. I am sure my wife will love me building more stuff in the backyard....
  10. Felt motivated, so I put in the posts for the new run. Spaced them approximately 6 feet apart. Will mean I need to cut short my 8 foot 2X4 cross beams, but I learned it is much easier to cut down an 8 foot 2X4 to fit a 6 foot gap rather than try to stretch an 8 foot 2X4 to fit a 8 foot 2 inch gap. Haha. One of the spacings is 4 feet to accommodate a nice wide gate I will build. Plan to tack a 2 by 6 along the bottom edge so I can add some deep liter, a 2 by 4 about halfway up for support, and probably another 2 by 4 at the top. I know this may mean the chickens will fly up and perch if there is a solid rail at the top versus just wire, will look nicer. Haha. I gotta please the wife! Total height from ground to top of the posts is roughly 7 feet.
    mixedUPturk and aart like this.

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