Coop inside existing structure


5 Years
Sep 12, 2014
Wayland, MI
Looking for some tips and sugestions. Moved into a new house this year with a few acres, yay! One of many projects on the list is the "mini barn" we'll call it.

A short 20'x18' structure. Sloped roof, only 8 ft on tall side goes down to 4.5 ft (grr). So 8'x20' is 6' tall or less, that will be the coop. Cement floor.

Will need to add windows and ventilation, only one window. Can I do deep litter, with pine shavings, on cement? Should cement have a coating on it? Such as the blackjack 57 ive read about, but unsure if that works on cement.

If doing DL are poop boards necessary? Thinking the inside wall should be solid on bottom and top 1-2 ft hardware cloth. Should that help with ventilation and keep the dust mostly confined.

Sugestions on how to get more natural light in there? Its on north side and with short walls really dark. Does that corrugated clear roofing work on solid structures or is it more for lean-to applications? (Btw, the structure has solid bones but a patch job roof with muliple roofing materials so a new roof isnt out of question)

Hoping to have a solid plan and gather materials over winter. Wont start on it until next year. Then we'll eventually have a set up for more then 5 chickens.
Good for you for beginning to plan early, and take time to research!

You can do deep litter on anything, although it was originally done on dirt and allowed to build up for usually a year before removal, creating a layer of compost at the bottom. Most people change it out more often than that; you will find your own way with this. However, the more well ventilated your coop is, and the more space they have, the less work for you. Neither DE or a poop board are a necessity (I don't use either.) DE is highly irritating to respiratory tracts, including yours, and should be used in very small quantities if used. A product like Stall Dri can be used to get some of the odor and moisture out of the litter if necessary; pelletized agricultural lime also works well and is inexpensive, and you don't need much.

For that kind of structure, you can leave an open space between the tops of the walls and the roof. You can keep predators out with hardware cloth. That's just one approach to letting in more light.

In talking about coops especially, but also with other questions, it helps a lot if we have an idea where you live. You can go into your profile (top right of the page) and add a general location easily. If you happen to live in the mid or southern US or a similarly warm climate, you may want to consider an open type of coop, as in THIS LINK.

Just one thought, to end this: more space is always better -- as most anyone who has been at this for a while will tell you!

Feel free to ask whatever we can help with, and good luck to you!
Will be adding more cement to make the floor level. Is their something to put between cement layers for a moisture barrier? Or better to spread a rubberized foundation/basement sealant on top once leveled? Is it even necessary? Thanks
I don't have a cement floor in my coop (mine's plywood that I covered with sheet vinyl then pine litter) so I can't really answer your question about coating it but I can tell you the catch boards, though not necessary, do make quick work out of cleaning the coop. Chickens poop the most when they're roosting at night so under the roost is where it all piles up. Without the boards it'll be on the floor and they'll spread it around during the day. If you have them, the floor stays relatively clean so you're only having to clean the boards regularly and it saves on litter, therefore money and the options for boards/trays are limitless. I've seen some that use sand and they scoop it out with a cat litter scoop, I've seen boot trays or shallow storage bins with little to no litter than can be removed and hosed down. I have a flat board covered with vinyl tiles topped with pine litter and I take a flat shovel and a short handled garden hoe to scrape mine and take it right to the compost. I can removed the board and hose it down when I need and it works well but I may experiment with some of the other methods before I find what works best for me.

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