Expertise Needed - Stall Conversion (Pics Included)


7 Years
May 29, 2012
Hi, everyone. I'm considering joining the ranks next year (after I have done all the research). I have a fenced-in pole barn that houses two 12 x 10 stalls. I thought that one of the stalls would be perfect for a chicken coop. I think the fenced-in area outside would work well for the chickens to range; however, we do have hawks and eagles in our skies on the regular. Hopefully, the trees surrounding the area will provide sufficient cover.

Now the the needed expertise:

1. Do I need to line the bars (in between the stalls) with wire fencing?
2. Pop-out door: Can I just use the Dutch door? I guess I envisioned leaving the bottom closed and the top open during the day, with a ladder or something on both sides.
3. Windows: This stall has only one window (lined with wire fencing) - is that enough?
4. Coop floor: The dirt floor sits about 3-4 inches above grade. Since we've lived here, the only critters that have dug their way in from the outside are mice; however, we live next to a park where red foxes have built dens under some cottages. Do I need to take extra precautions to secure the coop? Note: I also have a German Shepherd who roams the immediate yard (not the area where the chickens will be, but nearby) and scolds anything and anyone who comes too close.
5. The fenced-in area where the chickens would range also has a brush area in the corner. My DH dumps leaves, weeds, and sticks back there. Do we need to block the chickens from that? The reason I ask is that it borders the fence and it can get high - I'm worried that it would get high enough for a chicken to climb up and over the fence.

I've included some pics of the space if it helps. Thanks in advance for your help!

Above photo shows the fenced-in area and the barn.

Above picture shows the rest of the area, as well as a corner of the brush pile I'm worried about.

Above photo shows the interior of the stall, the window, and the dutch door open (and Gigi, as well!)

Above photo shows the wall separating the two stalls.

Above photo shows the stall floor.
This is going to be a great coop. Congrats on your vision. A friend of mine converted a similar barn to a chicken coop, and I watched many of her trials, but with the right prep, it's a great choice.
1) Yes, line the bars between the stalls. This will help you know your stall is secure. If a coon or fox gets into the barn through any small hole, they'll head straight for that stall. It should be secure all the way around, including the dirt floor. My friend had to pour concrete into the neighboring stall to fill in where the coons had dug.
2) If you install a ladder onto your dutch door, won't you lose functionality as a door for you? Try a creative pop door that matches the outside of your barn.
3) As long as you have sufficient ventilation, and a little bit of light, the window is optional, especially considering your birds will have access to the outdoor area. Windows in very cold areas help to warm the coop, but only you know if this is an issue.
4) My friend had a very similar fence, and the chickens did not stay in the yard. Your birds will have several ways to get out, including using the cross pieces of the fence or gate to "stair step" their way out of the yard. One possibility is to clip one wing on a regular basis, and make sure you get a heavy breed that can't fly well. Others might have some recommendations, but I'm sure you can make this work. The brush pile isn't a big concern for me simply because the rest of the "yard" presents similar issues. Not a problem, but just something you'll have to work with. It looks so great, I wouldn't change it for the chickens, but I bet you'll be able to make it work.
I agree with the recent comment, I would mostly be concerned about he cold. It is a pretty open area in that stall. If it gets cold in that climate, you may want the stalls enclosed a little more with some possible insulation if it gets too cold.

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