From Old Metal Shed to Trendy Fresh-Air Chicken Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MamiPollo, May 13, 2011.

  1. MamiPollo

    MamiPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Coop
    Getting started on the transformation of my ugly old metal shed into a beautiful modern fresh-air chicken coop. View the before pictures here:

    is based on the chicken coop shown in the April/May 2011 issue of Mother Earth News:

    area to the left of the coop, where the ginormous bushes are, will be the chicken run. To the left of that is the garden. The plan is to eventually fence in & cover that entire area, with a gate in between the chicken run and garden so that in the non-growing season the hens can range in the garden area also. This is already fenced on 2 sides, the shed/coop makes up the 3rd side, I only need to fence one side.
  2. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    Sounds like a good plan.

    The Mother Earth article didn't come up, though.
  3. Amyable

    Amyable Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Greenleaf, WI
    Those bushes are enormous! Are you planning to chop them all down? I bet if you kept some and pruned heavily, the chickens would love the shade and cover. My flock loves to forage under the willow bushes, they feel safer.
  4. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2011
    Near Seattle
    that looks like a great coop for warm areas! Though it's a lot of floor for cleaning out...
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:I agree that it would work well in warm areas (keep in mind the one in the article was in Arizona), but I wouldn't want that for where we live unless you build panels to cover the open walls for winter time. The old time "fresh air coops" were built long and deep with the front totally open. But they were deep enough to be cave-like, so icy drafts couldn't reach roosting spots. That shed is not deep enough to keep drafts out come winter time.

    I think the shed is doable, but not all open like that. Maybe the front door open (wire) and window openings that could have plexiglass or boards over them in winter time and some vent. opening cut out up high. But I'm not sure how to cut the metal...???

    So are you not wanting to work with the tree-house frame???
  6. sunnyvera

    sunnyvera Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2010
    NE Ohio
    Quote:That looks absolutely wonderful. So jealous. I wish I had an ugly metal shed in my yard. Show us the after pics.
  7. MamiPollo

    MamiPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Coop
    I will check with my friend to see if I am missing something, but he has had his chicks in a fresh-air coop for three years just about 4 miles down the road from me, and his hens are thriving. I have to go over there this afternoon, so I will check it out again.

    There seems to be a wide range of opinion as to what kind of conditions chickens need in winter. The workshop I attended last weekend said that in this area we definately need a heatlamp for the birds in wintertime. I know that is not true, because my mother never had as much as a light bulb in with her hens in the wintertime. When they lived in the old barn, they just free ranged around and roosted wherever they found a spot. The whole barn was open on both ends.

    If I need to, I can build some kind of panels to put over the screens during the winter. We did that to a screened-in porch one time. For ventilation, just have them go part of the way up, not all the way to the top of the wall.

    I don't want to use the treehouse frame, because it is right next to my neighbor's backdoor and I think they would be unhappy. Their big, rambunctious dogs would also harass the birds. The way the yards are arranged, the neighbors on the side of the shed would not be bothered at all. Nothing would change from their perspective. It is right next to my backdoor, so would be much easier for me. In the longrun I think we will all be happier if the chickens are in this location.
  8. MamiPollo

    MamiPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Coop
    Okay, I went to look at this man's chicken coop again. It actually has a box up at the end of it that he can close up in the wintertime. It has a drop-down door he can open to take care of them. In the summer he just leaves this open. In the winter he closes it and the chickens use a smaller door that is under it. He also has a light inside to warm it.

    He encouraged me to proceed with my plan and in the fall to build them a box to shelter in, but does not see any reason why my plan won't work as long as predators can't get in it.

    It was an enlightening visit and I am glad I went and asked him about it.

    Now, my next I am cleaning this thing out, I am finding all kinds of empty and half-empty chemical bottles. Herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, icemelt stuff, etc. There are ants EVERYWHERE. Heck, maybe they are termites. Are termites black? I thought they were white or clear. These guys are black. The worst was a bottle of dandelion spray, but they are ubiquitous. Yuck!

    It is nasty in there. I feel now like it may be a toxic waste dump. Is there a way to decontaminate this site? Maybe put down sand and then in a few days clean out the sand? Blech!

    Also figuring out what to do with all the junk in there. Most of it I can throw away or freecycle. What a MESS!
  9. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2010
    SW PA
    Maybe you could get a couple of those crates off of Craig's List for the winter box? Get them now while they are available and you have all summer to figure out how to use them.
    If you would use the deep litter method on your floor, it will provide some heat.
    I am in Pittsburgh, we get colder than you do and I don't have any heat in the coops. They were fine last winter and it was a bad one!
    I had 4 Seabrights. They aren't supposed to do well in the cold. On the bitter cold mornings, they were the only ones to come out of the coop!
    I am very happy you decided on what to do and hope someone can tell you about decontamination. I think kitty litter would be better than sand. Walmart has 25# for $3, it's in the red bag.
  10. MamiPollo

    MamiPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Coop
    My brother-in-law is an environmental consultant. He goes to sites where gas stations have removed the underground gas tanks and makes sure things are put right environmentally. My sister is talking to him about my predicament and I am waiting to hear back. Whew!

    That is a good idea about the crates! I'll check on that!

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