Help me change this into a coop


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 15, 2012
Central Iowa
This is a "structure" that was on our property when we bought our house. We have about 4/10ths of an acre and I'd love to start 4 Rhode Island Reds this spring. We want to use this building as a coop so we don't have to start from scratch. The structure was previously used as a stall for a dwarf horse. Yes, I do live in the city. Oh, and I have no building skills and would like to do this for as cheap as possible. I don't ask much do I?

The inside back wall

The bottom taken from the outside. That is daylight shining through those holes. The entire structure is sitting on bricks and is not flush with the ground. Is this good for ventilation or bad for warmth? Last winter, we did have temperatures of negative 20. The garage is right next to the structure, so electricity is not an issue for heating.

Side view.

Also, does anyone even know what this type of building is called? I'm not even sure what to call it when I'm asking for help.
Last edited:
Can we see a picture of what you have to work with? Also, I recommend a mixed flock. They are so pretty to look at with all their different colors and patterns.
Sorry, I had to switch computers in the middle of posting. There are pictures now. Thanks! I'm interested in the R.I. Reds because I know from experience through friends that they can handle the cold here and because I'm mostly interested in the eggs. I don't think I could ever eat a bird I had raised, but I am looking to be as self sustaining as I can be while feeding my family.
Last edited:

That is one interesting structure. I see a window for the back wall.
You will need lots of ventilation so it wont be to hot in the summer.
You could do some very cool things with that.
I am thinking maybe a free standing roost set up so you don't have to poke holes in the metal.

Do you think it would be able to be painted? It looks like it is galvanized.
I have never tried to paint anything that is galvanized.

I am subscribing to this thread. I really want to see how this turns out.
Last edited:
I had not planned on painting it, I just assumed we couldn't. Someone on Facebook saw the pictures and told me that it is a type of quonset hut. Ventilation is a huge concern for me as we have those super cold winter temps, and it can get into the hundreds in the summer.
You can paint galvanised if you wipe it with vinigar then paint but that only keeps the paint on longer than if you dont. I would wrap it up with Ivy. put a roof vent in, ir two.
this is a quansit hunt type building. I have a shed made the same way. they are very expensive biuldings and last forever. I think if it weere me ,I would biuld a pen at the front for a run and give it a door for u to in and out of. build the boxes and roosting area to the back. depending on ur area wheather or not to inclose the front at all.let us know how it
You have to make it secure first - make sure there is no way for predators to get in. There are predators - even in a city. You could paint it - to make it look prettier - landscape around it. Put nest boxes in the back - put in a roosting area, have a run attached. I think you might like to add a couple Easter Eggers to your flock. They handle cold well - have small combs so there isn't a concern with frostbite - and they lay those pretty blue/green eggs. I love a multi-colored egg basket!

I agree that you'll end up with an unusual chicken coop. I hope you'll keep us posted with all you do so we can see the progress. Good luck!
can you give us the length, width, and hieght of the structure? I would find a way to block off the gaps in the bottom, either poured concrete or hardware cloth. I think you would be better off adding ventilation at the top rather than the bottom...especially because most preadators are going to have a hard time climbing that (maybe cut a vent in the top of the flat wall in the back?). The bigger concern would be them digging IN, and if it looks like they can, they will try again and again.

How wide are the ribs? I think it would be really cool to turn a couple of those into nest nooks...just insert a piece of plywood cut and shaped to fit inside the nook (give it feet to get it off the ground if you don't wanna try to connect it to the metal), add a little lip to keep in some bedding, and maybe a top if you want...they do look a touch shallow judging by the outer picture, but it wouldn't be too much to extend the wood a little? If nothing else, a free standing nest box against the back wall would work too. I think you have some really cool possibilities here.

It looks like there may already be a small hole in the highest part of the looks like it may be easy to use that for a hanging feeder/waterer

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom