Horse stall modifcations needed


In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
Hey everyone...
This is my very first BYC post, although I've been lurking for months checking out coop ideas.
I have 6 hens and one crazy rooster. Although we built them a nice coop in the spring, I've let them free range all summer and they've decided that they prefer to sleep in the horses stall. Since they were then more predator prone, we put 2x4 roosts in the corners of the stall, and most nights I find them sitting up there fast asleep. The roosts are high... maybe 7 feet up, but the birds just use my horses as a step to hop on, and then fly to the roost. Thank God for patient horses! Much to my husband's dismay, the nice coop he built sits empty.
Just this week, however, I found my first eggs nested in my hay. We are so excited... although at this point just 2 birds are laying (1 Buff O, and my R.I Red). Problem is... I need to use the hay to feed the horses all winter, so they can't lay there. I need to add nesting boxes to the horse stall, and while I'm at it I need to fence off the hay/tractor area of the barn to cut down on the chicken poo on the John Deere, lol.
I have a good idea (I think) of putting boxes along the half wall of the stall, and wire above the box to keep them from venturing beyond that. However, these would be about 4 feet up, maybe bit more. Seems a bit high... but I could add a roost outside the box as a step?
I'm also worried about warmth in the winter. I live in upstate NY.... and my stall door stays open about 362 day of the year so the horses can come and go as they please. Do you think the chickens will be ok with this? I had been planning on adding a heat lamp to the coop... maybe I need to make them stay there for the winter? Then again, as much as I love my coop... I can't imagine them not getting bored and pecking the heck out of each other if they're stuck inside all winter.
So... I'm hoping to get some opinions from the experts.
Thank you all!
Sounds to me like a couple bales of hay in a corner of their preferred stall might work as well as a nest box - much cheaper too! We're in the process of building a new horse barn and will be using one of the stall bays as a chicken coop - however, we won't have any half-walls but we do plan to leave the wall to the outside "open" - screened but not sided. While we are definitely not as cold and snowy as upstate NY, we do get some bitter days and weeks and even some snow. You could always wire in above the half-wall and then cover some or all of it with plastic for the winter to help provide a sheltered area for the chickens. I'll be intertested to see what recommendations you get for your project.

Oh yeah -
Yes, the hay would be much cheaper, but I should also add that the horses still reside in this stall as well.
Not sure how long the hay bales would last.
I do plan on just wiring off the top of the stall. The poo on the tractor is not all that big of a deal (in my opinion, not my hubbys), but I'm worried that I'll find an egg the hard way when I'm pulling down hay bales...
Thanks for your input!
I'm assuming there's no extra stall which would make this all easy. If the stall is big enough (larger than 12x12) maybe you could section off a small part for the chickens. Otherwise, you may have to persuade them to use their coop. I'd be wary of housing my chickens with my horses. Wouldn't take much movement from the horse to inadvertently squash a chicken or knock nest boxes off the wall.
Why don't you put them in their coop for a few weeks and let them get used to it as their home? Once they get used to it they will go in there at nite. It may take a month, but they WILL get used to it.
So is the coop in a permanent position or is it moveable? How close is it to the horse stall? Since the horses are using the stall, I have to agree that having nest boxes there could be tricky. I would encourage the chickens to utilize the coop (lock them there at night) and then let them free range as the weather permits - you may find them in the barn fairly often, especially in cold weather and you may have to block off the hay area so they cannot lay eggs there. Good luck with this and let us know what you decide to do - your solutions may help out another BYCer.
Yes, the coop is movable. It was originally going to be my chicken tractor, but it got to be MUCH too big for that.
It can only be moved with the tractor at this point. Unfortunately, one of my big concerns is that it's too small for 7 birds. I was thinking that maybe this is why they don't go in there at night anymore. It seemed big and airy when they lived in there, but man those birds have grown! Or maybe it's just that I've gotten use to them in a 12x12 stall, and the coop seems so tiny now. The enclosed part is about 8x4, with a wired in part that's 8x8. But it's also an a-frame design, so the roof is sloped. Anyway, I will see what I can do.

Thank you again for the help!
BTW... my bunch started with a kitten, and grew to 3 horses, 2 dogs, 3 cats and 7 chickens.... oh, and 2 kids and the husband.
It's amazing how that happens, isn't it?
It is amazing how one cat or kitten can lead you down that road!
Your "mobile" coop sounds like the roosting area should be large enough for roosting for 7 chickens. The wire area is probably not enough for them to be stuck in all winter though. Is there a way to move the existing coop up next to or in the barn or near an opening into the barn so they could "free-range" in the barn during snowy winter days? You would probably still have to train them to sleep in the coop and lock them there at night but if it is right by or in the barn, that should add extra shelter for it. I definitely would not put a heat lamp in a space that small though. Please keep us updated as you decide what to do.
Hi i would definitely put them in the coop at night and just let them free range during the day. they will soon learn that this is their new base although you will have to put them to bed for the first while until they get used to the change... good luck

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