Converting loafing barn to brooding house

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


6 Years
Jun 12, 2017
Hey folks, My wife and I are thinking of turning one of our 3-wall cattle loafing sheds into a breeding/brooding house for meat chickens. The idea is to put a specific rooster with some hens and produce some dual purpose chickens from our own flock. The loafing shed is butted up against the current chicken coop and can be seen at the right edge of the photo.
chicken coop.jpg

The open side on the west is approximately 14x16' with an adjacent 4'x16' concrete walk way on the east. We plan to fence off the open 16' wall to enclose the shed. We believe this would be more than enough room for 3-4dz chickens on the open side, with room for storage of feed and chicken stuff on the concrete side. We plan on fencing a paddock directly west of the brooding house, and adjacent to the current chicken run, so the meat chickens (and hens while they are brooding) can interact with the chickens in the run.

My question is, if anyone has done anything like this before? and if so, what did you like/dislike about it? Is there anything you would have done differently? We would only plan to do 1 batch of chickens a year to butcher. Assuming 1 week to collect eggs, 3 weeks to hatch, 16-17 weeks to butcher the dual purpose birds...that 1/2 the year right here. I figured with an open side facing west-even though there is a 16 acre patch of woods adjacent to it to block the wind-would be too cold for brooding in the winter. Honestly, I don't see the renovation costing that much. We are always looking for ways to produce more of what we consume on our small farm. And since we already have a shed in place, I think we should utilize it for something as we are not ready for cattle just yet.
Loafing sheds make excellent coops. Enclose the front with hardware cloth and you're in business. You can easily raise 50 birds in that space. I use a 12 x12 stall as my coop and have had as many as 35 layers.
The problem I see is will your hens go broody when you need to them to? Are you planning on selling the pullets? They are worth more as layers ($12-20) then meat. You can easily raise multiple broods over the warmer months. I would start with 25 cockerels and test the water. When you have a broody hen, move her and her eggs to the shed and go for it .

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