Converting RV Garage to Barn

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CityChicker, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 21, 2009
    Hey Everyone!

    We are considering converting an existing large garage to an additional barn for our breeder birds. We would use it during the breeding season to separate predominately our breeder ducks, but might use it during the off-season too if it works out well. The garage is huge. I am not sure of square footage, but there are two large overhead doors and in the past it housed a large RV, a boat, and a couple of cars at the same time.

    We want to set it up similar to the Holderread Red Barn...

    [​IMG]

    One of my concerns is that this garage does not have floor drains. We would probably be restricted to possibly removing all the bedding a couple times a year and then spraying and squeegeeing the water out (or having floor drains put in). The garage is built on a plateau built into a hillside, so the water would have plenty of room to drain once we got it out of the building. The lower 6 feet of so of the walls of the entire garage are also poured concrete, so unlike the Holderread set-up, we would not be able to do outside water porches either. The birds would have to be watered inside, with the splashed water somehow being drained out of the building (I have thought about doing some sort of trough system where they waterers would sit on grates over a trough that collects the water and with a PVC drain running out one of the doors).

    Do you think this could work or would it be a nightmare to keep clean and dry? What would you all use for bedding that could be easily scooped off the concrete? I think the additional work might be worth it since I could potentially do 25-30 runs inside this building all sharing the same access aisle for feed and egg collection. Do you think the runs could even do done just with hog panels zip tied together? TIA. [​IMG]
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Wow. I don't keep ducks, but I hear they are quite messy. If you water inside, you will have more cleanup. I'm sure there are some people with more duck experience on here. Good luck, sounds like a cool project.
     
  3. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. savingdogs

    savingdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have ducks but I'm no expert, but the thought that crosses my mind when I hear your situation with the building is why not keep the water outside? That is how we do it, the birds do have to run in and out a lot but we keep the water and food under an overhang just outside the door.
     
  5. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I have bred ducks for over 25 years. I am well indoctrinated to the mess involved, LOL. I think the water problem might be solved by doing a trough similar to how I am thinking. The excess water would drain into the trough and then drain out the building. Holderread's basically use a similar concept, except theirs are watered on the outside of the building on water porches. Unfortunately, there is no way in this building to do indoor/outdoor runs because there are poured concrete walls that are like a foot thick. The building sets basically built into the side of the mountain with a substantial drop off on one side. The other side is basically dirt and connects to a corral that is even with the roof line of the building.

    I can't do outdoor runs attached, but the two overhead doors basically completely open the building on one end and there are large windows as well. I think it will be a great set-up for the birds, at least just during the breeding season (only 3-4 months of the year). In the off-season they will then go back to the larger community pens with larger ponds. I think the building will work as long as we can figure out a reasonable way to do the water and keep the floor clean.

    Thank you all for your thoughts! [​IMG]
     
  6. Surehatch

    Surehatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks are messy but you will grow to love them!
     
  7. 3dogs

    3dogs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It would be more work and expense, but you could build up the pens off the floor about a foot so the grate under the water containers would be above the concrete floor. A trough under the grates would direct the overflow water downhill to your doors, as you suggested. You might want to be able to hose down the troughs and grates as poop will end up in/on them. Marine plywood is expensive, but should be able to stand up to duck poop if used as the raised floor. I have always used straw as bedding for waterfowl, however I've noticed the straw I get locally has shorter stems and more chaff than the straw I used on the east coast. It requires me to sweep what I can't collect on my hayfork.

    I just got back into geese and chickens after my cross country move, but so far have resisted adding ducks back into the mix! In the past, I used the "deep litter" method successfully, but here the fly population requires a daily cleanout.

    I am not familiar with hog panels, but guess they have openings that a duck might squeeze through. If so, you might have to attach chicken wire or something similar to keep the ducks separated. The panels would have to be braced to prevent them from falling over it would seem.
     
  8. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, 3dogs. The grates are an excellent idea if I can figure out a way to do it. The thing I really worry about the most is getting the moisture out of the building, especially with bedding down since there are no floor drains. We have also thought about doing some sort of smaller auto waterers and just doing bathing water a couple times a week (that would be over the trough) since most of our ducks are Runners and don't actually get in the water as much as our other breeds that will be in outdoor cages.

    I think the hog panels should stand up fine. The are very heavy gauge/rigid. The larger birds can't go through them. I do worry also though about the straw (predominately what we use too) getting caught up in them and being a nightmare to clean. Something easier to scoop might be better. I am just not sure what to go with. I know some people use chopped straw as well, but I have not seen that here.
     
  9. 3dogs

    3dogs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another expensive idea - sheet metal formed into long troughs with half inch hardware cloth grating on top, or stiff one inch wire. This might help protect the concrete floor too. This assumes you raise the pens 6 to 12 inches above the floor. During the non-breeding season the troughs could get a better cleaning than a daily hosing.

    A cheaper idea might be to buy some black "plastic" pans often used for oil changes or mixing concrete. They are 5 or 6 inches high and plenty big enough to sit a bucket of water inside. Much, but not all, of the splashed water would remain in the pans.
     

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