Making a metal shed into coop. How to winter and summer proof it?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by trimmer66, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. trimmer66

    trimmer66 New Egg

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    I'm going to buy an 8'x6' metal shed for about $150 and turn it into a nice coop with a 10ft run. My conundrum is I live in Ohio where summers reach 95 and winters reach -30. How do I make sure its nice and warm in the winter but cool enough in the summer it doesn't cook them out? I raise golden comets so they are a cold hardy breed but I don't just want them to survive I want them to be comfortable.
     
  2. KlopKlop

    KlopKlop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could insulate with sheets of insulating foam (it's blue and comes in 4x8 sheets from any home improvement store) then cover that with 1/4" plywood. That would help in winter. For summer be sure to ventilate it well to keep it from being a solar oven and it should make a fine coop.
     
  3. Bryant Redhawk

    Bryant Redhawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First thing to do is improve the ventilation a lot, both low and high vents will create air flow to keep the chooks healthy.

    Next thing to do is insulate like KlopKlop mentioned. be sure to leave an air space between the metal roof and the insulation, this helps reduce the heat transfer and keeps humidity lower, the main reason birds get frost bite is high humidity.

    Doing those two things will help you have healthy birds that are comfortable in the winter and summer.
     
  4. rule4

    rule4 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have very harsh winters with high snow amounts and weeks of bellow freezing temps and my chickens do just fine without any insulation. My coop is a glorified wooden shed. I keep it well ventilated and use a water heater to keep the water from freezing since I'm away at work for 24hrs at a time. They all fluff up and bunch together on the roost at night. I also have a south facing window to let in some of the daylight. They keep laying all winter.

    One other thing I do is wrap the run in plastic sheeting about 2feet high to create a wind block for them when they are outside in the run.It also helps keep the snow drifts out out of the run.
     
  5. Bryant Redhawk

    Bryant Redhawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with you rule4, chickens are just fine with cold, they have a higher body temp than humans and so heat in the winter is not an issue.

    Where I live, Hot and Humid is the summer normal, I insulate for keeping heat out not heat in for winter. I plan to change up our coop to an open north facing wall (covered with Heavy gauge Rabbit wire to keep predators from being able to enter) which will vastly improve the summer air flow. I know they will not have any problems keeping warm in the winter.
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I am generally against any insulation in a coop. When I started out I was determined to insulate that puppy within an inch of it's life - being in Northern Wyoming near Yellowstone Park our winters can get pretty brutal. But calmer heads prevailed, and we ended up with a coop that has tons of good passive ventilation in winter and passive and active ventilation in summer, and my birds did extremely well in their non-insulated, non- heated coop. Not even a case of frostbite. (Well, except for one little chick named Scout, but that's a whole 'nuther story!) My coop is a wooden one we built ourselves.

    However - you are planning to use a metal shed, which presents an entire new set of logistics to consider. It will get hot, hot, hot! So what the other posters have said cannot be overstressed - ventilate and ventilate well! And using a metal shed is one place where I would use insulation, just as Klopklop and Bryant Redhawk said. Don't forget shade. If at all possible, locate your coop where there is some shade...invent it if you have to. Maybe draping some kind of fabric over the entire setup. Landscape fabric works very well to provide shade because air flows through it and every cooling breeze is a help. It's cheap and if it rips, it's easy to replace. You could put a few posts in the ground, attach the landscape fabric, and drape it just along one side, or maybe even tent the setup with it. Of course, natural shade is best, but any port in a storm, right? Without seeing the area you intend to use, it's kinda hard to advise on shade, though. I use landscape fabric and am a strong proponent of it. I have it attached directly to my run, but don't have to shade my actual coop so I'm not sure how that could be done, but I'd sure look into something for shade. A metal shed in the hot sun isn't much different than an empty soda can in a parking lot in the sun! Truth be told, chickens suffer much more from heat than they do cold, as long as they have a draft free but ventilated coop.

    Another thing you might look into is an exhaust fan located up high on the walls. If you go to a site that carries parts for older mobile homes, (and they exist, believe me - it's all that keeps this old trailer we live in habitable and still looking good!) they have them. The reason they are ideal is because they have a chain and a motor. They are also designed for the thinner walls that old mobile homes were constructed with rather than being based on 2x4 or 2x6 construction, which means they fit well into the kind of walls we have in our coops. Ours was rigged so that we can either use the chain to keep it open without the motor running, which we do all winter, or have it open and running in the summer. A couple of low vents in the coop and that exhaust fan pulls stale, moist air right up and out, replacing it with cooler, fresh air right at chicken level. Love it!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Much advice already given.....will just say:

    A small metal shed is one of the hardest structures to modify for a chicken coop.
    Hard to cut and attach anything, no ventilation, low roof.
    Extreme heat and condensation issues in the cold.
    There a was a thread over the last year about a guy (I think in Ohio) that tried it, had a heck of time and it was a nightmare.
     
  8. KlopKlop

    KlopKlop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If he does his homework and gets the ventilation right, heat and condensation should not be an issue.
    I add my +1 to blooie's recommendation to putting the coop in the shade. That alone will save you so much hassle
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I remember that thread and I have to say that I do agree with aart completely. Metal sheds are notoriously difficult to convert into successful coops and personally I'd ten times rather not even try. But I was going on the premise that the OP is sort of locked in to using what he has available, so was offering what I could. Lots of times we are faced with using what is less than ideal and that's where our ingenuity and common sense has to kick in.
     
  10. CanaDawn

    CanaDawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi. I'm new-ish. I have a metal garden shed coop, and it kept my two seramas and one silkie thru an Albertan winter with one tiny spot of frostbite on one comb bump on one hen, so I think ti worked ok.
    I agree with putting it in the shade, but I broke some coop "rules" with mine. They are so tiny that they are in a small raised cage that was originally for our guinea pig families, so they are raised off the ground, and the heat lamp in winter is "too close" to them. The water froze in a few hours, and I had two waterers that I swapped out morning and night so they had liquid water twice a day for sure. In the summer, the doors are wide open about all the time, and they free range, so I am not sure how hot it would be in there, other than I just built a new one (shed) and standing in that to fasten up the doors was sweaty.....blah.....You might want to think about adding some vents along the top edges somehow.

    I didn't insulate the shed because I wasn't sure how to organise it, and because chickens in my childhood loved to eat foamboard insulation. Turned out they stayed in the cage all winter, and on nicer days I would hang a shower curtain over the doorway to let in light and air. The heat lamp was on anytime it was below about -5C or maybe a bit cooler. I covered part of the cage with plastic and left part as wire mesh on top so they could choose where to be, and could avoid drafts. Ithink I posted photos at some point that might be clearer

    It's not ideal, but I used what I had, and it worked ok.

    I recently build a run off one side and cut a pop door thru the shed wall, and framed it with 1x2 to cover the sharp edges. That way I can shut them in the shed and they can have access only to the small run. I will probably try leaving that open part of the winter, but it does get very cold here, and it snows a lot, andthey're so darn tiny.....

    The shed I just built had "weather stripping" along the peak gap. I would not put that on for a coop. Too sealed up at the roof.
     

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