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Help with converting greenhouse to coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mamaella, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. mamaella

    mamaella Hatching

    Jul 17, 2009
    I am an elementary school teacher with some backyard chickens. I have a greenhouse that keeps ripping open and never gets used. I am planning to convert it into a chicken coop. This is what it looks like (sort of, except it ripped to pieces in a storm):

    This is what I plan to put inside (I have two of these):

    So, in a nutshell, I will cover the greenhouse frame, which is mostly wood and some PVC pipe) with chicken wire and put the barn inside (can be a brooder barn, place to roost and lay.) I then want to put a fence off to the left so classes can come in and help with cleaning, feeding, etc.

    The greenhouse has gravel on the bottom. I plan to leave the gravel, which can be raked. I will put pine shavings in the barn and lock 'em up at night in the barn. Any problems with gravel?

    The yard is grass, but won't be for long when we and the chicks start trampling on it. I planned to throw down a lot of hay and then rake it out and compost it from time to time. Sound feasible? If the yard is about 10 by 20, how much hay is that?

    I was also thinking of building a wood lip around the coop/yard to contain mess, with 1 by 4s??? I want to try to keep it reasonable tidy, or the powers that be won't be happy.

    Any other suggestions??? Ideas???


  2. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Use hardware cloth or 2x4 welded wire for your fencing. Raccoons will go right through chicken wire.

    Do a search on here for Hoop Coop. If your greenhouse has a big curve to it like a hoop house you could just build the "coop" in one end. Also check of the Chicken Stagecoach to get ideas.

    Trust me, when there is a will, there is a way to build a coop!!
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Just for clarification...

    So will the greenhouse area be the run? (You mentioned gravel). But they will also be let out of the run??? (You mentioned grass). My first thought was whether the gravel was large or small...because chickens love to dig around, and they wouldn't be able to dig/scratch well if it's larger gravel. Could sand be added as well? And I definitely agree with the post that recommended welded wire or hardware cloth rather than chicken wire.
  4. mamaella

    mamaella Hatching

    Jul 17, 2009
    You got it- the little barn will be inside the greenhouse and the greenhouse will become the run. Then I want to fence in a larger yard, mostly so kids can come in and interact with the flock, feed, water, etc.

    The gravel is really small, and I am guessing they will be fine on it. If they ingest the really tiny pieces, that's fine. I think it will be quite scratch-able.

    I will definitely use the 2 by 4 wire for the greenhouse/run area, but was thinking of using chicken wire for the larger yard, as the chickens will be out in the yard during school hours only. Locked up tight at night in the greenhouse. The school does have a natural area near it, and predators, including cats, may be out there.

  5. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    That sounds like a really neat idea! You could build a framework out of 2 by 4's to hold the barn off the ground, and make a ramp, so it is more accessible and doesn't take up floor area. If you could swing the hardware cloth or welded wire that would be great. I would suggest either sand or wood chip for the rest of the yard. Hay stays wet and gets really mucky, most aren't happy with it. Why don't you do an area of sand, and one of wood chip or mulch, and see what you like best before you commit to that much material. To cover an area 10' by 10' (100 sq. ft.) 3" deep would require 1 yard of material, so 10' by 20' is 2 yards.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  6. mamaella

    mamaella Hatching

    Jul 17, 2009
    I spent some time searching around and it looks like I am indeed building a hoop house, only most of the work is already done.

    I have previously left my little chicken barn on the ground and the ladies roost and nest in there. I could put it up on 2 by 4s and have nesting boxes to give them more room. There is a little ramp, but it would have to be longer to reach the ground if I elevate it.

    I was thinking about hay because there is not way to back a truck up to this area. Hay is light and easy to replenish. I may test out sand and see if I like it. I can't imagine getting that much sand moved into the area, what a back-breaker. Maybe mulch would be OK. What kinds of mulch have folks used?

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  7. Where are you located? Great idea, provided you can vent adequately for warmer months- not sure what your temps might be of if you intend to use any plastic on the final product.

    Hay be problematic in a run- not only does it get damp and moldy but can cause fibre impactions. But if it were stacked outside the greenhouse frame and could be kept dry it might serve as a windbreak in low temps.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009

  8. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Quote:Be careful using hay ... If you do a search for Impacted Crops you'll find most are caused by eating hay... I personally think the peagravel will work fine you can rake it and even spray it down a couple times a year.. Goodluck you have an awesome start already..

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