Converting outdoor shed to coop - need ideas for lighting


10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Alconbury, England
So, it just makes too much sense to NOT use our storage shed out back. It is approx. 8' x 11'.

Here we are with FOUR coops/runs, and we have a perfectly good shed right next to all of them, and it is barely in use. I can section off half of it for storage (BBQ, gardening stuff, etc etc), and erect some roosting poles and put some nesting boxes in there, and VOILA! A humble abode for my two dozen or so chickens. They can sleep in there at night, and lay in there in the day, and I can use our current run for their outdoor roaming.

However, I have a show-stopper. What do I use for light??? There is one window in there, covered up by foliage. I think I can arrange the foliage to go around the window, but not sure if one window will be enough lighting?

Lighting is an issue because I plan to keep a brooder full of quail in there and would like them to lay just about all year long.

Pardon the messiness.


Two separate runs here, as I am going to start breeding seramas in the spring and want the cockerel to have access only the to the serama hens.




Looking in to the left.


Looking in to the right.

Thoughts on lighting? It must be said that I am terrified of spiders, so the light is even more for me than for the birds.

Honestly I think that shed would work great as a coop. If you are thinking, as you say, about adding light there really are a couple of options. My first thought was to add sky lights. Possibly cutting out a couple of sections of the roof and adding either "real" skylights or putting the corrugated clear/green plastic to allow light in.

Another option would be to add a window in the door or even on sides next to the door. These would add light but also allow for ventilation.

One question though - where does your sun hit the shed during most of the day? If it is the front then you are set for putting the windows there. If the back, you may want to put the skylights in to get more direct sunlight in.

Keep us informed of your progress.
Oh, I completely forgot to add a major detail.

We let the house. As in, we rent, and I am not sure the landlords would want us to put in a skylight. I shall ask them ASAP - the corrugated kind sounds fine.

Those are lovely coops!

Seems like the most direct solution for the shed would be to cut a hole in the wall and add another window or two. Honest
It shouldn't be difficult, and doesn't need to be a "real" window -- although you will probably want something openable, as that shed does not have much existing ventilation it seems.

I'd be very wary of trying to put a skylight in; they tend to leak, and at *best* you'd end up reshingling the whole roof, practically, if you attempted to get it to not leak. (Which still might or might not work). And on sunny days you might well find it getting too hot in there, unless you cut some large openable windows for lotsa ventilation, which if you're going to do *that* then why bother with a skylight anyhow <g>

However, I wonder if you may need to run electricity out there after all, if you want your quail to lay all year round. I don't know what daylength quail require to lay, but I would guess it is probably significantly longer than your midwinter daylengths. You *might* be able to rig up something with solar -- I do not know of anyone who's been able to figure out how to put a solar light on a timer, though, so you might have to depend on fiddling with cheap solar garden lights til you get them arranged such that the daytime charge 'naturally' gives you the desired am't of evening lighting before the battery poops out for the night. It would be a whole big lot simpler just to run electric out there though.

Good luck, have fun, WOW you are lucky to live somewhere that lets you have so many chickens in a suburban backyard!!,

Yeah, we really luck out here - there is no limit on the number of chickens we can have, or so I have been told. We just need to register with DEFRA when we hit 50 birds or more.

I will ask hubby about solar lighting, but that will be a touchy subject - he is wholeheartedly against the idea of using a shed as a coop. Anyone have any persuasive arguments for the idea? Not sure how he can object, but

Is that relatively easy to do? I mean, creating another window? Not very adept at this sort of thing.

BTW, as for lighting, most of the light during the day hits the left side of the shed, where the window is now.

What does he say?

If he wants to continue using it for storage, you could perhaps use only part of the shed -- the part by the windows -- for the quail. Then the windows, which get the most light anyway -- would be adequate for the birds.

If he thinks it's unwholesome for the birds, I'd have to point out that there's plenty of room in there, with maybe more ventilation. What are summers like where you are? Even without the skylights it seems light enough, and wouldn't the birds be going outside some anyway? AND -- big plus here -- you have room for yourself to walk around in there.

Hard to clean, he says? He might have a point. Think about linoleum for the floor.

I would add for myself that if you're going to have quail you need an "airlock" door, which would be an enclosure around the door so that you could walk in, shut the outer door behind you, and THEN open the second door to the quail. They're not friendly birds as a rule, and they can fly like jets.
Don't be disappointed if your landlord will not let you use as a coop. I'm not sure I would if I was renting out a home. Fuel for thought. It is a great shed for a coop though.
I am guessing they will be ok with it - they rehabilitated a hawk while they lived here and are very cool with birds. But we will see... they might surprise me!


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