Horse stall conversion to chicken coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bruceha2000, May 28, 2012.

  1. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Crossing the Road

    11,324
    34,619
    902
    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    Hi all,
    The 12 chicks come in about 2 weeks. They will start in an unused bathtub "brooder" in the downstairs bath. My wife is usually right when she says everything takes me 3 times longer than I estimate so I need to get on the coop.

    We have an OLD bank barn. The lower shed area is ~ 70' x 20'. In this area are 4 horse stalls (no longer in use) and a few other small rooms. I plan to convert a stall in the middle of the barn to a 9.5' x 12' chicken coop. The back wall is the oustide of the upper barn so it is solid wood. The rest is plywood on 2x4 studs to a height of about 4' with 2"x4" welded wire above that but NOT between the 2x6" joists above.

    Question 1: Is the plywood on the inside of the front wall 2x4 studs OK or do I need welded wire on the outside? If so, what size. Nothing is going to reach in so I am assuming 2" x4" would be OK if I DO need to put something there. I presume the side walls are OK as this stall is the 2nd of 4 and thus there is plywood on both sides of the studs.

    Question 2: Do I need to put something up top to keep critters from getting in via the spaces between the 2x6s?? And if so, is chicken wire sufficient or should I use welded wire? If so, what size?

    Question 3: Is the 2x4 welded wire sufficient starting at 4' up? If necessary, I could put chicken wire on the other side of the 2x4s, though that would be on the OUTSIDE of the front wall..

    The floor is sand covered with thick rubber horse mats.
    Question 4: Is this sufficient or do I need welded wire under the mats? If yes, what opening size?

    The door opening is 48". There is a smaller barn where prior owners kept animals but they didn't take care of the roof and it is now unusable. However, there is a partition wall inside with a VERY sturdy door ~35" x 67". Made of REAL 2x4s not the thin stuff we get now. It has wood corner braces and a 3/4" iron rod running horizontally half way up. It has 2" x 4" welded wire on the outswing side. From reading here I think I need to put chicken wire on the inside at least a few feet up. Might as well go all the way, I have the wire.

    I had planned to put a chicken door low in the rest of the 36" gap and 3 nests with outside egg access vertically above that since I have to fill the space anyway. But again, reading here, it seems that 3rd nest will be too high. So maybe I will put 1 right over the chicken door and 2 more horizonally. Then if I need to add more, I can put them right above the first 3. I'll just need to cut out some of the plywood.

    Question 5: Is it OK to have a nest over the chicken door? Or do I need to put them all to the side. Less cutting of the existing plywood is less work for ME! ;)

    Question 6: Are 3 nesting boxes enough for 12 laying hens (when they get to that) or should I start with more?


    Thanks,
    Bruce
     
  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    1,905
    74
    181
    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    Congrats and [​IMG] Projects always take longer than we think. Chicks grow very fast and your bathtub won't work for very long. Better start on convertion like yesterday - imho lol
    I have 14 that use only 2 nesting boxes - their choice, they have more they could use. Most use one covered cat litter box - I added because I didn't think they had enough [​IMG].
    Think of preditors like racoons,skunks, rats, cats etc... that can fit through surprisingly small spaces, climb and grab and pull chickens through gaps.
     
  3. HollyOsborn

    HollyOsborn In the Brooder

    20
    1
    24
    Apr 5, 2012
    My coop is a retired sheep shed.. i opened up some panels, stuck up some chicken wire, covered some holes with chicken wire.. built an outside pin around the chute outside.. Now i have opened up another section of the shed (4 sections in it.. 3 are open now) I was planning to leave the last section in case the kids want a sheep...
    So.. raked it out.. chickens did most of the work cleaning it up though, hung wire, covered holes, and created some pallet nesting boxes, tire rims, milk crates, baskets out of freezers and black tubs i found in the corral.. they lay everywhere... right now they are mad cause mama has her babies in the BEST box... haha.. and WAHLAH.... happy chickens.. oh and hung some roosts around.. plus they have the main side fence of the shed to roost on.. works perfect!
     
  4. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Crossing the Road

    11,324
    34,619
    902
    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    Right, that is why I posted Monday :)

    I figure the tub should be good for about 2 weeks, MAYBE 3. And being in the house, it will be easier to frequently check on the chicks in the more critical early days. My daughter (19 if you can believe it) keeps saying "FUZZY!" and we don't even have them yet. It should be plenty warm by July when they are 2 or 3 weeks old. Hopefully "plenty warm" isn't warm enough for 2 week old chicks. 85F is warmer than we like ;) Will move the heatlamp and thermostat to the barn and make a 'warm' corner with some plywood. It could even be a reusable brooder if I don't slap it together too fast.

    Hmmm, cats, skunks and rats. Haven't seen any skunks, they don't climb anyway, no rats either. There are mice and some pretty barn swallows nesting on the blue plastic junction boxes. But there is a neighbor's cat that I have seen wandering the fields and tracks around the house in the snow this past winter. Cats climb REAL well. There was also a fox in the field a couple of weeks ago, though I don't know if they would climb a plywood wall then the welded wire. I expect they could get in the gap if they made the climb. Like a lot of animals their fur makes them look a lot bigger than they are.

    Looks like I better cover those upper gaps - just to be safe.

    Oh, I had one more thought:
    I've read the roosts shouldn't be higher than the windows so the birds aren't in a draft. If I have some lower roosts, is it reasonable to have a couple that are higher? I figure they might LIKE being up in a breeze when it is hot in the summer. Do people reconfigure their coops for winter vs summer? Like maybe a slanted roof not too far above the roosts in the winter so the birds' heat will stay closer to them? I assume they still need plenty of ventilation in the winter so I shouldn't block off the 'windows" and door. Though .... there are probably 105 sq feet of "window" including the door. Maybe I SHOULD block some of it off in the winter, especially the lower part of the door.
     
  5. HollyOsborn

    HollyOsborn In the Brooder

    20
    1
    24
    Apr 5, 2012
    Im thinking if I were a chicken, i would want some higher roosts.. mainly so you can sit above everyone else and jump on them when they least expect it. HAHAHA... i have EVERY hole covered in my coop.. and STILL every morning... 2 white hens escape.. No clue how they do it!
     
  6. peepmommy

    peepmommy Songster

    280
    2
    126
    Feb 15, 2012
    I will see if I can get pics of our set up tonight. We converted a horse stall into our coop. It really wasn't too hard, just basically kept all of the wood and covered it entirely with chicken wire except the outside door. It works pretty well.
     
  7. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Crossing the Road

    11,324
    34,619
    902
    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    OK, some updates on the coop. Made decent progress this weekend. I have 3 more pieces of hardware cloth to install, plus the chicken door to the left of the people door and whatever I'm doing above them. Then the nipple watering system and a feeder. Not a HUGE hurry, they can use what they have in the bathtub for awhile. The nest boxes aren't such a big rush, still have 5 or 6 months before they are needed. Here are some pictures. I think the older ones are on the other computer, I'll try to post them at a later date.

    Part of the stall had chicken wire, the rest had 2"x4" welded wire fence. I thought I was getting off easy just having to fill in a couple of spaces and deal with the door opening. Then I read all the stories about people's chickens getting attacked by predators and how you REALLY need 1/2"x1/2" hardware cloth. So I got the 100' roll from Amazon - $90, free shipping. I'm putting it on all non plywood areas but left up what was already there. You can see the "with" on the right side and the "without" on the left and the door. Ain't NOTHING getting through that [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There is this very inconvenient rock right where the sill needs to go. The sill is part of a support structure that held up a broken rafter in the upper barn for I don't know how many decades (just got the place in Nov). The barn restoration guys replaced 2 rafters, part of a sill and a top plate and jacked the corner back to where it should be - up 18"!
    [​IMG]

    The 'strike' post for the door. It too used to be part of the rafter support. I put a notch in the post so the door would have a serious 'stop' point. Also note the new cross pieces in the ceiling. The joists for the floor above are about 38" apart - too wide for my 36" hardware cloth so I had to add poultry staple 'nailing' surfaces.
    [​IMG]

    The door is hung, note the 1/2" hardware cloth over the original 2"x4" welded wire. I used self closing hinges. Won't keep a mildly determined predator out but if someone forgets to latch it, the birds will likely stay in.
    [​IMG]

    This is the twist latch and spring clip. The latch has enough leeway the door eases out about 1/2". I might replace the block under the twist part with a 1/2" block
    [​IMG]

    And some of the 2 week old girls who will be using the coop. I have NO idea what got their attention:

    [​IMG]


    Bruce
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  8. HollyOsborn

    HollyOsborn In the Brooder

    20
    1
    24
    Apr 5, 2012
    That is AWESOME!!!!!! and the girls are adorable!
     
  9. hollyhock

    hollyhock In the Brooder

    29
    2
    26
    Jul 1, 2012
    great job[​IMG]
     
  10. flewdacoop

    flewdacoop Songster

    1,000
    21
    118
    Jun 9, 2012
    CARLYSS LOUISIANA
    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: