Makeshift coop idea?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
Coopertown, TN
Okay okay, I have posted about coops before but as a newbie, keep having questions!

Here's the scoop: my 5-week-old chickies definitely need to be moved ASAP into their coop. As a matter of fact, I probably need to build a bigger coop as well, but the point is to move them from their brooder NOW and buy myself some time to work on a bigger coop. Here is a picture of what I have:

It's 4' x 8', with the "double level" you see. Now, do keep in mind that of my 15 chicks, all but whatever hens (and maybe ONE roo) I get will be slaughtered around 4 months, and only 10 of the birds are a straight-run because the 5 White Rocks are all males.

Here is my question: the garage that this coop is currently in, has a pet door opening into a 20' x 30' chainlink pen that is perfect for the chickens (hardware cloth along the entire bottom and dug in 6", some shade, one side is the garage wall for weather protection). As a band-aid solution for the time being, can I just leave the coop INSIDE the garage, and give the chickens free access to the pen outdoors? See, I could do that in one day. Otherwise I still need to make sure the coop is weathertight, figure out where to stick it outside, and probably put some kind of cover overhead in order to open some of it's windows for added ventilation (did not know when I built it that there wasn't enough ventilation provided).

Now, if I could keep it in the garage, I could leave some/all of their windows open and they would have lots of ventilation without drafts. I could also have a run all ready made for them, the garage has water too which makes care-taking easier. The downside is, the garage does not have any windows and the lights suck, so the coop would be stuck in dim/dark all the time, and I would have to make sure to air it out by opening the bay door every so often. The bay it's in is about 15' by 30'.

So do you think that would be okay for the chickens, at least for a couple months or maybe through the winter? and if so, should I add a good light on a timer over the coop, or is that overkill? and would it be okay for ventilation, even if it's actually inside a garage?

Thanks so much for helping me out... those chickies are just growing too fast for me to keep up with!


13 Years
Aug 30, 2009
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
I don't see why not, so long as they're old enough to keep warm, or if they'll need a heat source.

I've wintered adult birds in the basement that has an outside door, letting them out when it wasn't too cold.

Most important is cleaning access, and controlling the smell so that you don't have it coming into the house. I like pine shavings!

You can line the bottom mesh of the two layer coop with cardboard to keep the mess inside, otherwise you'll be sweeping around it 5 times a day.

For temporary... all that matters is clean water, clean bedding, staying warm/dry, and not being too crowded. With the run you have already, giving them access to that should get you all the way through winter.

Then you can spring clean the garage and kick them all outside.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
As long as you don't mind stink and dust in your garage, and there are no fumes there (from chemicals or vehicles) that could hurt the chickens, then sure, go ahead. I have a feeling htat the stink and dust will become considerable incentives for you to finish that big coop real quick <g> but I know exactly what you mean about needing something that is 'good enough' for now

You could probably put a 60 or 100w lightbulb in a fixture under one half of the upper portion, so it is illuminating/heating the lower story of the structure, and tack cardboard around 2-3 sides to help hold the heat in, and that might well be all the warmth your chickies need. You can judge by their behavior, and swap wattages of bulbs til you find something that seems to keep them happy. Obviously do this in a fire-safe electrically-prudent way.

Good luck, have fun,



11 Years
Nov 8, 2008
Portage County, Ohio
I'll bet the dust will get you before any smell if you keep things clean. Birds somehow shed dust out of their feathers like you wouldn't believe!!! Pine shavings indeed are great for keeping down smell as was mentioned, but again, they shuffle around in it and dustbathe in them, and yep... more dust.

Still, I've kept birds in the basement too when spring was too rainy-cold to put younglings out longer than I ever intended to... just be ready to clean after. It's not horrible though.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
Coopertown, TN
Well, the brooder boxes are in the garage bay now, and the dust and smell are manageable... kind of stinky right in the brooder box, but I guess that is somewhat inevitable. I am hoping the coop will be better, because the top part that is enclosed will have sand for bedding and that should keep the smells down. The bottom will be the hard part, maybe the chickens won't use it too much
. DH wants us to re-wire the bottome with 1/2" hardware cloth and raise the coop on blocks, then make "litterboxes" underneath with shavings to catch the droppings and dry them out... maybe we can even do the DLM in them? And if not, we can slide them out to clean them.

The bay has a doorway connecting it to the main part of the garage, so as long as we keep that door closed there shouldn't be an issue with fumes/chemicals. And since the coop will be in the very back, we can roll open the bay door in most weather to air it out frequently.

DH and I are going to work on the coop this week to shove it in the end of the garage, and make it habitable. Wish me luck!

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