Converting Shed to Coop, is this the right way?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by pearlgirl, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Hatching

    Jan 26, 2010
    West Michigan
    I have never raised chickens before but I have been studying up and I have an idea of what I need to do to convert our 10'x11' metal shed (with a cement floor) into a coop. I would greatly appreciate any input to tell me what I don't need, what I am forgetting and what could be done better. I plan on raising between 6 and 12 birds in here.


    This is the front of the shed and it faces south, I plan on cutting 2 to 4 windows out of the front (two in the doors and one on each side) and putting wood framed pexi glass windows in that will be hinged to open and have some sort of secure closures, and will have hardware cloth on the insides. I was also thinking I might need to cut 2 vent holes in the top part above the door and covering them with 1/2" hardware cloth as well. I am not sure how big they should be though.


    This is the inside of the shed, in here I plan on putting a thin insulation in and covering it with ply wood nailed to the studs. I was going to make 3 nest boxes and secure them to the north wall. I then plan on attaching their roosts on the east wall secured with hinges for easy cleaning.


    This is the east side where I plan on putting a detachable hoop house run. I will cut the chicken door out of the right side.


    This the north side which is sheltered by woods, I plan on cutting out of the gable vent holes with some sort of optional covering and cover the insides with hardware cloth. Again, I am not certain what dimensions these should be.


    On the right side of the coop there will be a detachable run (tractor) that I would like to keep the girls in during the day so they can get the benefits of free range chickens without the danger of getting in the very busy street at the front of our house. I would like to make the tractor 3'x 5'x20' hoop house style, probably out of cattle panels covered with chicken wire secured to wood skirting and staked with landscaping stakes. I would put a door in one side to slide open to correspond with the door of the coop. Does the tractor need to have nesting boxes in it? I know I will need to put water in the tractor, but will I also need to put feed in ? Or will the grass be enough until they get put up for the evening?

  2. barred-rocks-rock

    barred-rocks-rock Can't stick with a Title

    Jul 5, 2009
    Sounds Great! If they are going to be in the tractor just temporarily in the day then i would maybe put in a milk crate for them to lay in.

  3. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    with all the holes you are putting into it I doubt you will need vent holes but that will be better determined once you have it going.

    Don't count on the grass lasting very long...I am not real sure I understood your idea for the tractor are gonna put them in a tractor for the day and move it around the yard and then back to the coop for the night? i would still put some feed in it.

    Sounds like you have put alot of thought into it...I usually go with the it will come to me as i go plan
  4. clarkestep

    clarkestep Songster

    May 20, 2008
    N Metro Atlanta
    Sounds good to me. I would suggest that when you put up your nest boxes to make sure you can access them from outside the coop so you don't have to go in the coop or run everyday to collect them.
  5. Bossroo

    Bossroo Songster

    Jun 15, 2008
    Is the ground completely level? How will the 3' x 5' x20' be moved ? How is the tractor going to be moved in the snow? Chicken wire will keep a chicken in , however it will not keep a predator out. Without proper ventilation the metal sides and roof will sweat and drip when the building is closed .
  6. bigoakhunter

    bigoakhunter Songster

    Jul 29, 2009
    Congrats on getting into chickens! You hit on most of the key points, insulate walls and ceiling. Cover insulation with thin plywood or something. A couple vents towards top of coop. If in your run they have acces to get back to the coop then no need to put nestbox or feed and water out there. If you are going to move it or not have door to coop accessible, then you definately need FEED and WATER in run for them . ALso a nest box, for when they get to laying age. Be careful cutting that metal, it can be sharp.

    Good Luck and have lots of fun!
  7. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Hatching

    Jan 26, 2010
    West Michigan
    Thanks for all the input so far.

    Ok, I confess the chicken tractor idea I haven't completely figured out yet. I love the idea of free range chickens but where I live I would be afraid of them getting hit and into the neighbors yards. We have 3/4 acre so I wanted a way to utilize the various grassy areas as well as the garden area when it is not planted. So my reasoning was to make their run movable so I could place them in a new grassy area each day and return them to the coop at night. I have seen various designs for chicken tractors and wanted one that would be simple to make and give them plenty of room. This chicken tractor was my inspiration for my idea: Only I would make it lower to the ground (3-4 ft tall) and put wheels on one end that can be removed like in this photo: In the winter I would just leave it next to the coop. It probably would be a good idea to use 1/2 " hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. I am thinking I may also need to find a way to weight it or stake it down securely to keep out predators. I am also trying to work up an idea to have a little hinged covering over the nests, food and water containers for easy access. I would also need to have them secured to the sides so they would move with the tractor. Boy, I never knew this could be so complicated. [​IMG]

    I will try to be careful with cutting the metal, the gables where I would put the vents are wood and the doors where I would put two small window are wood as well so that should be easier. I would also enlist the help of my dad and brother who are more experienced in construction. I was also thinking of framing the windows and chicken door that will be out of the metal with wood to cover any exposed edges.

    I still need to figure out how to do the vents in the top, any good ideas?

  8. smarsh

    smarsh Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    lexington, KY
    You might want to make a stationary pin outside with trap door that could go to a smaller light weight moving pin that you could let them in in the evening when you are there and move to new locations. you wouldn't need food or water if it was something you did only for the last couple hours of the day. Then just slide it back or give them the enjoyment of free ranging their way back to roost under your supervision.

    I don't understand insulating and venting at the same time, I do realize many on here do it, however.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:This is an excellent idea and I would strongly second the motion. It will give you a good run to use during the snowy/muddy time of the year when you cannot be tractoring the chickens anyhow; while still giving you flexibility for the warmer months.

    I don't understand insulating and venting at the same time, I do realize many on here do it, however.

    Think of it this way. Is it still worth your wearing a winter coat outdoors on a cold day even if you neglect to put on gloves and hat? Well, same deal with insulating and ventilating [​IMG]

    Pearlgirl, 6-12 chickens in a 110 sq ft coop is pretty decent room for them so you will not (all other things being equal) need AS much ventilation as you would if you were putting like two dozen chickens in there. If it were me, I would start by cutting out openings as high as possible on both gable ends (above the front doors, and on the opposite end), as large as you can make the openings without weakening the shed's structure. There is no such thing as too much ventilation, and you are likely to NEED it in summertime anyway [​IMG] Make flaps so you can close it down.

    You should be able to get at least 3 sq ft of vent opening that way, quite possibly more. If that turns out not to be enough, plan B is probably to cut some long narrow horizontal openings between 'studs' atop the S or E long wall (or, more generally, the downwind wall). I would be really surprised if that is not enough, for your number of birds, given that you will also have window space for summertime.

    Good luck, have fun,


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by