Converting a barn stall into a coop with small yard

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by INDovey, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. INDovey

    INDovey Out Of The Brooder

    22
    1
    24
    Mar 13, 2013
    We just got 9 Black Star chicks and are planning to convert one of our barn stalls into a predator proof coop and small chicken yard. The stall is 10' x 14' and my plan was to build a 10' x 5' platform for the enclosed coop and then predator proof the entire stall. The most chickens we ever plan to have would be 15, so would this plan work for 9-15 chickens?

    [​IMG]

    This is a basic idea of what I had in mind for predator proofing the chicken stall. The current stall has a 15" stone footing around it and we would use chicken or stock wire where this example has rails. The chicken door on this example would be about where the stone footer ends and the door would be set on top of the footer with a small step up stoop on the outside. The predator proofing wire would go up to the top of the stall to create a roof.





    I'm not sure how many nesting boxes to put in the coop area, since all chickens would be shut into the coop at night for added protection and then let out during the day. I plan to include roosts in the coop and in the yard area, anything else that I should consider? Should we put the food and water in the coop, or the yard?
     
  2. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,490
    89
    163
    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    I would keep your flock at 9 to see how they do before adding. Is this stall inside a barn or to be used outside? The panels on the stall are good to block wind but also will restrict air flow if outside. I would prefer an open fence run so that you can enjoy seeing the birds and for air movement. 3 or 4 nest boxes will be fine. My coop is somewhat large so I have room to have feeders/waterers both in the coop and in the run (mostly inside the coop during the Winter due to blowing and drifting snow). You will have about 6 weeks to get your coop built. Your birds will outgrow the brooder fast!
     
  3. INDovey

    INDovey Out Of The Brooder

    22
    1
    24
    Mar 13, 2013
    The stall is inside the barn and we plan to have both wire and shutters on the wire parts, that way we can close the openings in the cold weather and leave open during the warmer weather. There is a stall next to the one that we plan to use that could be used as an additional run area, but we plan to use a tractor coop and free range the chickens during the day. We only plan to keep them in the barn during the night for protection and in the winter when it is too cold to free range.

    I really don't plan to have more than 9 chickens most of the time (10 if it ends up that the one that I think is a Roo turns out to be another hen), but may have up to 15 when it comes time to replace laying hens and remove the older ones. If we decide to butcher the older ones then we will probably just take one or two at a time, What is the recommended square foot per chicken suggested for the run and the coop? The way I had it figured, since the coop would be raised and allow run area under it as well, that would figure out 10'x14' run @ a little over 9 sq ft per chicken with a 15 count. If I made the raised coop 5'x14' it would give 15 chickens a little over 4.5 sq ft ea. Then when we only have the standard 9 chickens it would be a little over 15 sq ft per chicken of run space and a little over 7 3/4 sq ft ea. of coop space.

    Also, I read that no full grown chicken needs additional winter heat source in any U.S. location, does anyone agree with this? It seams to me the with wind chills of up to 40 degrees below 0 at time, heat would be needed if I expect the hens to keep laying through the winter. I had planed to keep the area at 60 degrees during the winter months.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,833
    6,984
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You don't need heat (in fact there are reasons NOT to heat...power failure, inadequate feather growth) just no direct drafts on roosting area, but lots of ventilation high and low. Might need to heat a water container if you don't want to manage it manually by changing out water receptacles twice or more a day. Light is what is sometimes needed for winter laying, 12-14 hours of light can be done with incandescent lights on a timer.

    1/2" hardware cloth on all openings of coop for nighttime protection. Mink/weasel can get thru 1" opening; raccoons, dogs, possums can tear up standard chicken wire.
     
  5. INDovey

    INDovey Out Of The Brooder

    22
    1
    24
    Mar 13, 2013
    Thanks aart... I was worried about when to put my young chicks into the coop. The ones I bought were about 1-3 wks old according to the store clerk. Only the Roo was estimated at 1 wk old all others were about the same size and estimated at about 3 wks, so I planned on just moving them once the youngest one reached the appropriate age. I'd been told that would be 6 - 8 weeks according to the weather, but have no idea WHAT weather is required. We are having a fairly cold spring at the moment with the temps expected highs in the 50's by the end of next month, but the lows will still reach the upper 20's at night. Do these little ones need additional heat at that temp?

    Also, thanks for the info on the wire size, we were planning to use stock fence with a 1/2 x 1 mesh to it because it was a much heavier gauge wire than the smaller mess. We will take a look at the 1/2 x 1/2 mesh wire fence to use instead.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,833
    6,984
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They can't go out to a unheated coop in cold weather until they are fully feathered.... do some searching in the 'raising baby chicks' forum to learn more details.

    1/2x1 would probably keep weasels out but a raccoon might could still get their paws thru and strangle a chicken next to the fence.

    19ga 1/2" x 1/2" is pretty strong of it's screwed with large washers or poultry staples every 8" or so. DON'T use staple gun staples tho.
    Do some searching here on 'hardware cloth' too, lots of discussions.
     
  7. INDovey

    INDovey Out Of The Brooder

    22
    1
    24
    Mar 13, 2013
    Thanks for the input on the wire size, the coons are probably my worst nightmare around here right now... they don't even appear to care if people are around some of the time. We had to get rid of 4 last year because the mother taught the young to come right up on our enclosed porch to eat the cat food and we could not even chase those 4 off with a big stick... so I insisted we rid our farm of those. I'm planning to try to train our Boxador to protect the chickens, but he is only 6 months old right now and for now the main goal is to break his desire to bark and chase ever thing. He looks and acts more Lab than Boxer and is already up to 60 pounds, so he should be big enough to even scare off the coyotes and eagles without a problem. For now, I just let him and the chicks check each other out though the brooder wire and correct him anytime he even looks at them wrong... LOL
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  8. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,490
    89
    163
    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    We keep our chicks inside the heated garage brooder until 6 weeks of age. We then place them out in the coop with a brooder lamp if the temps go below 50 deg F during the nights. After two weeks isolated from the flock they can then join the flock!

    I use a brooder lamp in the coop during the 3 cold Winter months. It provides a place to huddle and warm during the frigid weather as well as added light for a steady flow of eggs. 60 deg is pretty optimistic for below zero temps. My pop doors and downwind upper vents stay open year round. Good Luck!

    6 week olds out in the coop isolated from the flock for a few weeks.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. INDovey

    INDovey Out Of The Brooder

    22
    1
    24
    Mar 13, 2013
    Yes, I have to agree that 60 degrees during our coldest nights would be more than just optimistic... it would be a miracle... LOL. Thanks for the input and the picture, it really helped out a lot.

    I had read several articles that said the heat lamps in the coop created more danger of fire, than benefit to the laying hens and thought I'd ask what others thought.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,833
    6,984
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Wonders what your power bill is? Do you use like a 250w heat bulb?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by