Coop dilema...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by farmer tom, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. farmer tom

    farmer tom New Egg

    Mar 2, 2008
    Every year I plan on raising chickens but somehow get distracted with other projects when spring begins here in michigan. So, I think this is the year that I finally do it!

    I'm having a problem deciding on coop plans. Originally I wanted to build a small coop with attached run. My father suggests I build a polebarn and use a small section for chickens and the rest as a workshop/ storage but, lots of $$$$.

    The other option I have is to use an existing chicken coop(12'x20') on my property that is probably at least 50 years old or so. Why didn't I use it in the first place? Because it is actually a very nice building, concrete floor, insulated walls and ceiling, large south and west sliding screened picture windows, wired with electricity, natural gas, telephone, adjacent to my garden.

    The previous owner used it as a workshop, but years ago it was used for chickens. I have been hesitant about using it for chickens because I have had this vision of using it as an entertainment room/pool house etc.. I guess my main concern is that if i use it as a coop then decide that I don't want chickens or want to build another coop and want to convert it back to a entertainment room, will it be tanted by the fact that it was a coop?
  2. citalk2much

    citalk2much Twilight Blessings Farm

    Dec 22, 2008
    GR MI: TN bound!
    Well it was a coop once right I think it would be great. If you change your mind you can just give it a good cleaning
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I'd build a new coop. The existing building sounds too good to use for chickens
  4. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2008
    N. West Michigan
    Our coop was originally a 12 x 16 horse barn with a loft--

    we re-did it into a fully finished office, with carpet, tile entry, hand-plastered walls, and an attic with drop-down stairs for storage....(except no permanant heater).

    I used it for my counseling business for 4 years before my health "turned"...

    It then sat vacant, and used only as a "catch-all" for 2 years before we lined it with tarps and turned it into the coop....

    We thought the same thing, what if we want to use it again?
    BUT: It is over 100 feet from the house-- perfect distance "sound-wise" for the coop-- but NOT great for winter treks out there for anything else!

    So we are looking into having another one built closer to the house (with a skylight!) by the local Mennonites... they only charges my SIL $1000 for a 10 x 12 with a Gabled roof & loft DELIVERED 2 years ago!
    That way, the "play room/office" is closer to the power, a shorter walk, and within "shouting distance"!

    Here's ours;
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Are you *realistically* going to use that building within the next five or ten years? And how do you feel about the considerable extra financial outlay involved in building a whole new structure.

    It does sound kind of 'too good for a coop' -- slab and insulation and electric and plumbing would make it an excellent coop, but natural gas and telephone seem kind of over the top [​IMG] As long as you kept good hygeine in the coop I am confident you could return it to a state fit for human occupancy *but* it *would* cost you money and time (have to replace the drywall or panelling or whatever it has, scrub and repaint every last thing, make repairs, evict mice).

    OTOH even if you don't do the pole-barn-with-corner-for-chickens thing, just build say an 8x12 coop, that is still a few thousand dollars there at least, unless you are a good scrounger.

    I'd suggest building something that size rather than smaller, though... unless you want to 'try' just 3-4 chickens in which case you might start with a *really* small coop, like reach-in size or a large tractor, with the idea that if you get more chickens in future (and if you get three or four, you will probably decide you want more <g>) it'll still be useful as an adjunct to your future main coop.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. RendonRoo

    RendonRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2009
    ft. worth
    I say use it. You will most likely want more chicks in future. These little fuzzy butts are adictive. Easier to overbuild than to add on. Good luck either way you go but chicken restraint is not common amongst these chicken enablers. They (who am i fooling) we always encourage more chickens. lol
  7. Lee

    Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Marion County, IN
    Quote:I would love to see a picture of that coop. Does the front face the south?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  8. Carolina Chicken Man

    Carolina Chicken Man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    Personally, I would already be using that building for something else. It does sound awfully nice to use for chickens.

    I built a coop and run with all new materials big enough for 10 chickens for around $600. If I had not have bought the chicks before I built the coop and was under a bit of pressure to get it finished, I could have probably built for half that with re-cycled materials.

    Depending on how many you want to start with, you could possibly divide a section off if you want to use the existing building. That might be a good idea.
  9. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    Quote:I agree. We have a building like that too (almost 400 sf) and we use it for our teens' game room and for an exercise room. It's like having extra square footage added to our home.

    How many chickens are you planning on having? Do you need or want a coop of that size? The standard rule of thumb for chicken coop size is 4 sf per chicken (at the minimum). That building is large enough to accomodate 40-50 chickens (60 if you go by the minimum of 4 sf per chicken). Do you live in a cold enough place that the chickens will be cooped up a lot during winter days and need an extra large coop?

    One more idea for you to think about, since you say you may end up changing your mind about having chickens - what about building a small coop for your beginner flock and if you decided you like being a chicken owner and want to expand - then, you can take over the building if you haven't started using it for something else.
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    I think it kind of depends on what your goals and plans are for having chickens. Is this going to be a hobby or more of a business? Are you interested in a laying flock, raising meat chickens, showing, breeding, selling hatching eggs or selling chicks/adults? Are you looking to provide eggs or meat just for yourself, your whole family or to sell?

    You might only need a small coop or a section of that building. Or you might need a lot of room. It just depends on what you want to do.

    You could raise a few layers in a chicken tractor or some meat chickens in a temporary pen this year, to give yourself a better idea of what you want to do, too.

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