Former horse shelter ?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ~*Sweet Cheeks*~, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Olympia Washington
    I'm planning to turn one of my unused 12' x 12' Noble horse shelters into my coop. The shelter front faces south with full sun. No insulation. Just pole framing and 1" plywood. Currently, has stall mats on top of 8-10 of pea gravel. I'm planning on putting down pallets then some sort of cover then thick layer of shavings.

    Shelter pic: http://www.noblepanels.com/ProdPics_Large/shelter-solid-event-front.jpg

    My
    questions are:

    1. Should I put more than hardware cloth over the event front bars - like shutters to prevent so much air in?

    2. Should I put in a vent in the back top by cutting a hole and cover with hardware cloth to get the air to flow through from open front to back? (There is a small (1/4") gap all around the top were the frame meets the metal roof).

    Suggestions or comments very appreciated.
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Currently, has stall mats on top of 8-10 of pea gravel. I'm planning on putting down pallets then some sort of cover then thick layer of shavings.

    Nah, you don't want to do that -- the space within the pallets will become a mouse/rat/moisture/mold/stink farm.

    Why not just put bedding directly on top of the stall matting? That would be *perfect*. Especially if you peeled up the edges of the matting and laid down some 1x1 welded wire or 1/2" hardwarecloth, going 18+" under the mats and bent 90 degrees to go just high enough up the base of the walls to firmly attach it there. This would reduce chances of things digging in.

    1. Should I put more than hardware cloth over the event front bars - like shutters to prevent so much air in?

    You are likely to sometimes want to keep rain out, maybe even sometimes cold breezes out, so it would be good to have *something* to cover the opening with, partially or totally, when desired. Plywood panels, pieces of grommeted canvas, there are lots of options.

    Most of the time, though, 'so much air' will be a GOOD thing [​IMG]

    2. Should I put in a vent in the back top by cutting a hole and cover with hardware cloth to get the air to flow through from open front to back? (There is a small (1/4") gap all around the top were the frame meets the metal roof).

    I don't think you're likely to need more ventilation than it's already got, unless you plan on really packin' it with chickens. Actually depending on what your low temperatures are you might want to block up the gaps in the corners and around the plywood edges, as they will admit drafts and weasels.

    I'd suggest adding hardwarecloth or lumber to block up ALL the gaps in the framing -- that horse shelter looks totally weasel-permeable, and won't slow rats down any either. The problem with weasels is you often don't even know they're around until you get chickens and suddenly have fewer chickens one morning.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Olympia Washington
    Thank you so much Pat -

    I must admit I'm a bit confused with the difference between proper ventilation, air flow, and drafts and how you achieve one without the other.

    Weasels??? I can't say I've ever seen or heard of weasels in W. Washington. Is that like a ferret?

    We do have coons, possum, coyotes, field mice.

    Thank you for the pallet advice. I'll skip them.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    My field guide to the mammals sez various weasels are in W WA -- whether there are any near your actual property I have no idea but people typically have no idea they're around (unless you spend lotsa time looking for tracks in fresh snow). They're like ferrets only smaller and smaller-diameter.

    Basically for ventilation you want as much air exchange as the birds can tolerate without becoming chilled (or, in the case of a strong windy day, annoyed [​IMG]). In warm temperatures drafts are not a problem -- same as for you, right? But in cooler temperatures (and the damper the air is, the less actual coolth it takes to put you in this realm) a cool breeze blowing on the bird is a *bad* thing -- same as for you [​IMG]

    The biggest issue is frostbite. In still dry air, most types of chickens won't get frostbite til WELL below zero (can be SERIOUSLY below, like into the negative numbers farenheit). In still dampish air, which in your climate you may sometimes have through no fault of your own, the threshold for frostbite is higher so drafts will cause problems at higher temperatures than if the air were dry. And *drafts* in dampish air will cause frostbite at temperatures that are really not terribly cold at all, like just hanging around freezing.

    (Frostbite is not the only issue, but it is the most common and obvious)

    So in cold weather you want the air inside the coop to be basically still(ish), with fresh-air-exchange occurring high on one or two walls in a gentle gradual way (not a whooosh of air) so that it doesn't chill the chickens with a direct breeze.

    Does that help any?

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Olympia Washington
    Very helpful Pat to myself and others as well I'm sure.

    I'll probably go get some heavy canvas or other material that I will cut to fit, hem the edges and hang on the inside of the event front bars and door that I can then open and close to keep out the wind and/or rain as needed.

    I do plan to use an infared heat bulb double secured when I first put the chicks out at night though coworkers who have had chickens for years say the hardy breeds I selected when fully feathered shouldn't need any night heat at all trying to convince me that chickens are very hardy and don't need to be babied.
     

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