Converting A-frame Thatch Huts to Coop. Any ideas or suggestions?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MasAhora, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 20, 2016
    Paraguay
    Our new property has two of these huts that were originally shelters for small deers. I would like to convert one to a turkey coop (large hut) and one to a mama chicken coop (smaller hut).
    The largest is about 2m wide, 2m high and 6m long.
    The smaller one is about 1.5m, wide, 1.5m high and 6m long.

    Inside remains dry from rain (unless we get horizontal rain....sigh!). They are angled for a little morning and afternoon sun and a bit of protection from the southerly cold winds we get from Argentina). In Paraguay we have hot humid summers and winters can have frosts and cold winds though are often mild. Our temperatures can vary dramatically after rain it goes from 37C to 22C easily!

    There is a barb wire perimeter to stop the cows eating the thatch! I would like to cover this with chicken wire to create a small run but make sure the birds do not land or get caught on it when they get up to mischief. They can free range outside the run but I want to be able to control when and for how long.

    Our main predators are hawks and dogs but the outer paddock fencing is secure against dogs and the tree cover should help with the hawks.

    I have a water tap nearby. Since I already have other coops and pens (can you see the chicken math here? Hence my user name is More Now[​IMG]) I would like to set these coops up so they are low maintenance for feed, water, cleaning especially since they are further away and I have to go through multiple gates.

    If I use too much timber to close in the coops it will be very dark inside. I would like to be able to lock the birds inside the coop when necessary.

    So any ideas or advice is appreciated before I rush off and make something that ends up being poorly planned.

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    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I take it these huts are fixed and not portable. The original purpose would have been as not much more than rain and sun shelter for the deer, so was left open on both ends. For your birds, the south end facing the cold winds would likely need to be enclosed. You could use the same method as used for the sides. I'd leave either the top part of very bottom part open to allow for ventilation. The roosts can run across the huts from side to side and elevated off the ground about halfway to the ridge, so would be protected from drafts from above or below if roosts were butted up against the back wall. External nest boxes can be built into the back wall or if you want to up your labor demands, under the roosts, separated by a droppings board. The north part would likely be nothing more than chicken wire or screen of some type. Wide open in other words. In your climate, no need for an enclosure provided the roost areas are not in a drafty location. That would really only matter during the coldest of times.

    BTW, open ended A frame huts of this type have been used with success before.

    Back to the fixed nature of these huts. Deer would likely stand or lay down under them, but not use them as their personal latrine. They would go elsewhere for that. Chickens won't do that. They will foul (fowl?) the ground on a continuous basis, so some provisions will have to be made for cleaning these out. You can use deep litter, but will eventually have to go in there and remove it all. Do you have headroom to allow you to do that?
     
  3. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 20, 2016
    Paraguay
    Fortunately they are east-west facing so somewhat protected from the South. No they are not movable and we really like where they are, they are a nice view from the house.
    External nest boxes is an idea, but would a turkey hen like such an enclosed box? I thought they may prefer something more open like an old tyre raised a couple of inches off the ground and fill with dirt and bedding?
    There is plenty of head room for DLM in the large one, maybe some bending in the smaller one. I am new to the idea of DLM, we use shavings in our main coops so will reasearch.

    Balancing wind protection and light is my challenge... I'd really like to use materials we have lying around (timber, wire, corrugated iron sheets) as glass and clear plastic sheeting are not that cheap where I live.
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Looks like there is a decent overhang on that roof. Leave the top foot or two openair, for light and ventilation, securing hardware cloth over for predator protection. Frame out a door on one side, and close up the other end. Add a few roosting bars and set some nest boxes on the floor, and your done. If you have digging predators, you may want to lay some hardware cloth on the ground to prevent entry from underground.
     

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