Converting a shed and adding a Run


5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
Near Albany, NY
We moved into a 220 yr old house with a bunch of outbuildings around it. One of the buildings has three rooms with separate entrances and I chose one to be the chicken house. It has an antique glass door for light, a window, and a peaked ceiling. There is an ancient armoire that the floor was actually built around, so I removed the doors and will be using the shelves for nesting. I hung a feeder and waterer from the rafters. I nailed boards over wall and floor holes, sealed up openings with small gauge wire mesh and am really excited to finish it up.
My first problem. Ventilation. I was given two vents that have the little sliding lever. Are these appropriate and safe for a chicken house? I need to get up into the rafters and cut a hole to install them. Do I need to do that or is there an easier way to ventilate?

Second. I decided to rip the woodshed lean-to off the back of the building and make a wrap around run. This would give me a run across the front of the building and around the side. The reason for this is to allow the girls a place to roost in the shade if they wish. I have noticed some posts from people about what to lay down in a run. I was going to get pine shaving for the house and then let the run be grass... am I mistaken?
Any tips or pointers will be appreciated.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
Iwould definitely leave the grass in the run, as long as it lasts. They will kill it off soon enough. At that point, people do several different things. Sand is becoming popular. You cal just leave it dirt. Things like hay and pine shavings don't work well in the rain. Some people use pea gravel. Be sure the location of the run is well drained; a muddy run that rain water doesn't drain off of is a real pain.

Be sure you have enuogh ventilation, at a high point in the coop, however you decide to do it. If it is a relatively large building with only a few chickens, it won't be as critical. HERE is an excellent article on ventilation, written by a Canadian member. The vents you have don't sound like enough, but it does depend. I believe you figure about 1 sq ft of ventilation per bird.

Pine shavings, hay, straw, dried leaves, and many other things all work for litter inside the coop. It's handy to keep a product like StallDri, or just pelletized agricultural lime, to sprinkle on the litter occasionally. I like the lime' it onl takes a handful in a good sized coop to dry the poop, reduce odor, and discourage flies. You can lightl rake it in, or scatter a little scratch or BOSS and the chickens will stir it for you.

Good luck!

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