Newbie - Looking to fix up old coop and add run

bvallang

In the Brooder
May 18, 2020
48
40
41
Clemmons, NC
Hey all, I am new the site and am moving shortly to a home with a little space and a run-down chicken coop. I would like to fix it up and add on a nice sized run for my flock of around 8-10 that are currently in eggs sitting under a friend's hen.

Background info:
1) I'm in central North Carolina
2) Will have 8-10 birds, mix of New Hampshire reds and buff orpingtons
3) Coop location is fairly shaded under some trees and next to a wooded area, measures approximately 8-9' x 8-9'
4) Have no idea yet types of predators in the area, but would imagine fox, raccoon, possum, skunk, rats, snakes, etc - typical for NC in general.
5) Plan to build on an approximately 16' x 10' run.

My questions:
1) Covered run or not? Could I make a roof with just be tin or corrugated metal that is on a slight angle to one side?
2) Is that too much coop ventilation? Should I cover up part of those front windows? Maybe just in the winter use some plastic? I'm going to have to build some roosts/poop board and given where the nesting boxes are...it could be kind of drafty? Or maybe they will use those roosts that way up there at the top when they are older?
3) If I predator proof the run, which would be attached, is there a need to predator proof the chain link door, ie. replace with a wood/hardware cloth door? Obviously I will be putting hardware cloth down around the coop as well.
4) The nest boxes look enormous to me, think I could get away with splitting them to make 2 stacked on top of 2? I think with 8-10 birds I may need more nesting boxes?
5) Any need to clean out the coop with chemicals? Has been sitting for years it looks like. I'm thinking to use barn paint inside and out to preserve the wood.

Thanks for any help or suggestions! Love hanging out on this forum and reading/learning.
Bethany
 

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Chad Oftedal

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Dec 29, 2017
222
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Woodinville, WA
My Coop
My Coop
Looks like a good start to work with from what I can see in the initial pictures. My guess is that it started life as a coop and then migrated to a shed? The fencing that is there now is meant to keep out critters that aren't interested in food. If you filled it as is with chickens, I don't know they'd last a week in there on the edge of the wooded area.

But, you're definitely on the right track with your plans - sure looks like you've been researching ahead of time which is great!

1. I would definitely do a covered run. But, I'm in the Pacific Northwest and we occasionally get rain (ha!) so having a dry run that doesn't smell is really nice. The birds can also still dust bathe if they want, and it's just a more enjoyable experience. I don't know your climate well enough if snow is a consideration, but plan for some slope to at least easily shed water, and maybe snow if needed. I overbuilt mine knowing that we don't get heavy snow that often, and then that first winter we had a series of storms come through and dump over 20+ inches on us. I was so happy I went worse case when building the roof.

2. Unless that front is open to direct wind, doesn't seem like it is too much. Birds have a harder time with heat than the cold. They look at the cold and say "bring it on, I'm wearing a down coat!", but with heat, not so much. Then it's "man, I'm hot in this down coat!". As for the roosts, honestly, unless you are tight on budget or wanting to do minimal, I'd just look at it as a good structure and make it your own. Don't let their previous decisions determine how you want it to work for you. I would clean it all out, patch and repair any and all holes in any walls, roof, etc., and unless it would damage it, take out the roosts and nest boxes and go with the layout you want. Now, it may make complete sense how it is now for what you want, but don't limit yourself because it's just there like that now.

3. I would redo that whole front - including the door. There's nothing there that I see to keep. I guess you could hardware cloth either in front of or behind what is there, but honestly, I would take it down and just put up new hardware cloth. If there are eaves or other openings for ventilation, be sure to HC them as well. Any opening is an invitation for something to work its way in. In the pictures, I can see some high corners in the back, top of the walls that look like light coming through and are some openings to cover.

4. I believe the general rule of thumb is 12" x 12" as a good size nest box. As I mentioned earlier, I'd take it down and put up what you want/like/need. I have 8 birds and they share a large sized roll-out nest box. Sometimes I get two in there at a time. You'll see that they will most likely want the box that is occupied - even if they have plenty of others to choose from. So, maybe something to handle 2-3 hens at once, but more than that, they'll just wait their turn and be loud about it anyway.

5. I built mine new, so I don't have much advice to add on chemicals. I'd be tempted to powerwash it with environmentally safe soap and see where that puts you. I think you'd be hard pressed to have anything bad hanging around there given how long it appears to have gone unused. A good cleaning can't hurt, but I wouldn't think it would take a lot more than that. But, I don't have the experience here, so see what others would have to say for the best advice. If you do powerwash, before painting, might be a good time to see if any existing boards need to be replaced. Since you'd be planning to paint anyway, it'd be a good time to take care of anything marginal, then paint.

Welcome to the site, here! Keep asking those questions and sharing pictures as you go. It's so helpful to see a good picture sometimes and you'll get solid advice (I think) when folks can follow what you're trying to do.
 

Tamdog

Songster
Apr 23, 2020
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1,528
196
Welcome to BYC. It is nice you have got something to work with. I live in NC as well, you will have to worry about hawks. I would cover as much as I could afford to cover, also, with that many chickens you will want to give them lots of room to go out and be safe so make that run as big as you can- You will never regret giving them room to peck. I like to have two separate runs so I can alternate them. About the nesting box- My chickens have 9 boxes they take turns using the same 3 boxes and will climb on top of each other and lay eggs together.- you may have to see how it goes. - As far as ventilation- I like to keep mine open so it gets to breath. Here in NC it is not so cold- my coop is against a barn and the roosting pole is way up high up against the barn. It was open on three sides and I kept it that way for over 20 years. - No one froze and I think they were so much more comfortable in the summer. I finally enclosed one side in order to make an additional roost area this year. Make sure to see if who ever built it also put wire on the ground around the pen- and especially under that door, so no predator can dig under.- make sure there is a good latch for the door. - but what you have already looks great for a starter!! Good luck!
 

bvallang

In the Brooder
May 18, 2020
48
40
41
Clemmons, NC
Thank you so very much for your reply! Appreciate the specifics for sure.

Seems as though I may want to roof the run, it's wet here.

Not too cold here, rarely get a dusting of snow, so the front may be good if I replace with hardware cloth. And yes there are holes up at the tops which will need hardware cloth as well.

Looks like I need to measure those nesting boxes and maybe think about the layout more. I like the idea of putting them a little lower so I can put in some poop boards and roosting bars. I like your idea of using what I like and revamping what doesn't work for me.

Again thanks and the more I look around the site the more ideas I get! Very excited for my first flock of chickens.

Bethany
 

Chad Oftedal

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Dec 29, 2017
222
411
166
Woodinville, WA
My Coop
My Coop
Depending on your composting experience - or research it here for sure - you could consider a deep litter method for the run as well. That would save you the expense of the covered run, but I think you need to be "all in" on doing the deep litter right. I wanted the overhead protection of the run as well as the dryness, so the roof really fit my preferences and desires. The great thing is you'll get other opinions that will be just as valid. See what fits your budget and goals.

Yeah, the nest boxes that are there seemed a bit odd to me. The roost type ladder leading up to them seemed a bit unique. Lower would be better, I'd think, and they can easily hop/fly up to get into new ones you make.
 

RobertaD1

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Apr 30, 2020
628
1,229
206
South West Ohio
My Coop
My Coop
We used our farms old coop. Make the improvements that you want... make it secure and predator proof... as for cleaning, wash it down first and let it dry. Power washing is quickest. Then we DID hit it ours with an insecticide... sevin, I think, (been a while)...because many wild birds had called it home for several years. And we hit it good!!!!! Once that was done, we started the renovations ;)
Secure it from predators next and build your run.....

I would say that our renovations only took..." x" amount of time, but we are still working on it......:p
 
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bvallang

In the Brooder
May 18, 2020
48
40
41
Clemmons, NC
I'm imagining all the rain we get here and how bad it would smell and how mucky it would be if I didn't cover the run.... Thinking that they would not enjoy being cooped up literally on the nasty weather days.
 

bvallang

In the Brooder
May 18, 2020
48
40
41
Clemmons, NC
We used our farms old coop. Make the improvements that you want... make it secure and predator proof... as for cleaning, wash it down first and let it dry. Power washing is quickest. They we DID hit it ours with an insecticide... sevin, I think, (been a while)...because many wild birds had called it home for several years. And we hit it good!!!!! Once that was done, we started the renovations ;)
Secure it from predators next and build your run.....

I would say that our renovations only took..." x" amount of time, but we are still working on it......:p

Ha yes, well we are in a time crunch to get it ready by the time I get the chicks.
 

MANNA-PRO

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