Old Barn into Coop?

christatothemax

Chirping
Sep 26, 2019
51
147
96
NW Ohio
Hello everyone! This is my first post, aside from my introduction. Thank you in advance for your help in using my old barn for a coop... maybe? Pending your thoughts and advice! I am a complete newbie at this and appreciate your patience and help.

I live in NW Ohio and have a fairly decent sized old barn on my property, that is mostly empty. I've been waiting so patiently to use a portion of it for chickens! I am looking at using the area that's unpainted (where the tomato and pepper plant raised bed is currently) for the run. We'll get back to the run... for now let's focus on the inside coop.

70796194_403704697004643_887863026772869120_n.jpg


Here is where I'm thinking.

71078178_1396287897187585_12775311502475264_n.jpg


The distance from left to right on that back wall is 10 feet. From front to back (the back wall to the middle poles) is around 5 feet. So, 50 sq. ft. Also of note, there's a door on the back wall at the left corner.

dimensions.jpg


I've been reading that 2.5 sq feet per bird in the coop (inside) is a good measurement. If that's true, and I'm looking at 5 birds ... then 13 square feet should be fine. In which case, splitting the 50 square feet into two sections should be fine. The larger, right side, would be for the chickens to have their nesting boxes, roost, etc. whereas the smaller left side would be more rarely used for quarantine or if we have some birds to introduce to the flock (?).

mock up.jpg


Now, if you haven't completely stopped reading by now to correct me on a zillion things, and you're still with me reading this...

If I did the split, I'm assuming I'd want a human-door on the left and the right side. If so, I'd be able to get into the chicken side (right) to clean it out easily and be able to use the quarantine side (left) as a walk-through when not being used. --- Am I off my rocker? Should I just make this one big thing and just enter the chicken coop from the outside door of the barn?! Should I make it one big thing and have two access points to the coop? The door already there at the 'back' and the one I'd make on the 'front'?

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Edit: Thank you to everyone for all the advice and comments! I am formulating a plan, which I'll post to seek feedback on later. In the meantime, let's move on to discussing the run!

I'm honestly a bit overwhelmed by designing the run. I'm thinking it needs to be at least my height rounded up, so 6' tall. I'm thinking it needs to have a slanted roof a) to keep out predators b) to help with rain/snow. I'm not sure whether I should have the door into the coop (barn) be on the inside of the run or the outside of the run. I am thinking a 2x4 frame with chicken wire making up each of the three sides with a human-door on one of them that leads to the yard.


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option 1.jpg

asdg.jpg
 
Last edited:
May 13, 2018
649
1,995
296
Vermont
Hello everyone! This is my first post, aside from my introduction. Thank you in advance for your help in using my old barn for a coop... maybe? Pending your thoughts and advice! I am a complete newbie at this and appreciate your patience and help.

I live in NW Ohio and have a fairly decent sized old barn on my property, that is mostly empty. I've been waiting so patiently to use a portion of it for chickens! I am looking at using the area that's unpainted (where the tomato and pepper plant raised bed is currently) for the run. We'll get back to the run... for now let's focus on the inside coop.

View attachment 1918637

Here is where I'm thinking.

View attachment 1918638

The distance from left to right on that back wall is 10 feet. From front to back (the back wall to the middle poles) is around 5 feet. So, 50 sq. ft. Also of note, there's a door on the back wall at the left corner.

View attachment 1918649

I've been reading that 2.5 sq feet per bird in the coop (inside) is a good measurement. If that's true, and I'm looking at 5 birds ... then 13 square feet should be fine. In which case, splitting the 50 square feet into two sections should be fine. The larger, right side, would be for the chickens to have their nesting boxes, roost, etc. whereas the smaller left side would be more rarely used for quarantine or if we have some birds to introduce to the flock (?).

View attachment 1918643

Now, if you haven't completely stopped reading by now to correct me on a zillion things, and you're still with me reading this...

If I did the split, I'm assuming I'd want a human-door on the left and the right side. If so, I'd be able to get into the chicken side (right) to clean it out easily and be able to use the quarantine side (left) as a walk-through when not being used. --- Am I off my rocker? Should I just make this one big thing and just enter the chicken coop from the outside door of the barn?! Should I make it one big thing and have two access points to the coop? The door already there at the 'back' and the one I'd make on the 'front'?
Great ideas! I would lean towards breaking it into sections for the reasons you have posted and also to limit the area that you need to keep clean ;). One recommendation I would have, that I’m sure you’ve already thought of, is to go around and patch any and all holes around the perimeter to secure it up a bit! Are you going to have an outside run as well to give them some fresh air?

I have ducks, not chickens, but they also live in an old barn that was present when we bought our property. The 3 girls spend the night in an old horse stall (12’ by 12’, I think), and then have free range of the rest of the barn during the day if it is not safe for them to be in their slightly less secure outdoor run (which is in progress) or free-ranging outdoors.

I really like the barn setup in the winter as there is plenty of ventilation without being damp or drafty. They are also very secure.

Anyways, I think you are very much headed in the right direction, and I look forward to seeing progress pictures, and eventually your flock!

Edited to add - I just went and re-read and saw your comments about their outside run. Disregard that part of my reply! :)
 

christatothemax

Chirping
Sep 26, 2019
51
147
96
NW Ohio
One recommendation I would have, that I’m sure you’ve already thought of, is to go around and patch any and all holes around the perimeter to secure it up a bit!
Thank you! Yes, I haven't 100% figured out a way to patch up all the holes and keep water damage out... I was thinking maybe the large MDF boards (like the ones you see in the photo) all the way around and then spray foam on the outside in any holes? The other option is just getting pallet wood and going all the way around the chicken coop area? Not really sure on how to patch up an old barn on the inside.

I have ducks, not chickens, but they also live in an old barn that was present when we bought our property. The 3 girls spend the night in an old horse stall (12’ by 12’, I think), and then have free range of the rest of the barn during the day if it is not safe for them to be in their slightly less secure outdoor run (which is in progress) or free-ranging outdoors. :)
Aweh, that sounds like a great system! I can't wait to make my barn secure and safe. :D
 

bruceha2000

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
13,475
47,383
992
NW Vermont
  1. :welcome
  2. there is no such thing as 5 chickens unless you live in town where they have restrictions. It is called "chicken math" ;) 5 become 10, become 15. Or in my case 12 has become 24 (and that doesn't include losses). Meaning, go bigger than what you need now for your 5 chickens if you aren't restricted. My coop is a converted 10x12 horse stall. The girls have 3 nest boxes in the coop on one wall and a 4' "community" box attached to the outside of another. The barn alley is their indoor run and they have access to the outdoors all day.
  3. The entire space will have to be predator proofed. That means 1/2" hardware cloth, a weasel can get through a surprisingly small hole.
  4. If you mean quarantine like if you bring in new birds (not shipped day old chicks) you wouldn't want them that close to the resident birds. If instead you mean if one gets sick or injured, a dog crate or similar can be used so you don't have mostly unused space as part of the coop.
  5. I expect you'll clean the coop out through the existing outside door but it would be nice to have an inside door as well so you can do daily chicken chores without having to go through the run. You can keep the feed in metal cans (mine are 10 gallon and hold a 50# bag of pellets.
  6. As noted above, you have plenty of ventilation in the old barn, similar lack of air tightness to mine.
 

christatothemax

Chirping
Sep 26, 2019
51
147
96
NW Ohio
  1. :welcome
  2. there is no such thing as 5 chickens unless you live in town where they have restrictions. It is called "chicken math" ;) 5 become 10, become 15. Or in my case 12 has become 24 (and that doesn't include losses). Meaning, go bigger than what you need now for your 5 chickens if you aren't restricted. My coop is a converted 10x12 horse stall. The girls have 3 nest boxes in the coop on one wall and a 4' "community" box attached to the outside of another. The barn alley is their indoor run and they have access to the outdoors all day.
  3. The entire space will have to be predator proofed. That means 1/2" hardware cloth, a weasel can get through a surprisingly small hole.
  4. If you mean quarantine like if you bring in new birds (not shipped day old chicks) you wouldn't want them that close to the resident birds. If instead you mean if one gets sick or injured, a dog crate or similar can be used so you don't have mostly unused space as part of the coop.
  5. I expect you'll clean the coop out through the existing outside door but it would be nice to have an inside door as well so you can do daily chicken chores without having to go through the run. You can keep the feed in metal cans (mine are 10 gallon and hold a 50# bag of pellets.
  6. As noted above, you have plenty of ventilation in the old barn, similar lack of air tightness to mine.

1. Thank you!
2. I live in a village where I have to, I believe, have less than 8. I have to call again this year to ensure they haven't changed anything. However, I could always go bigger for the coop! There's a lot of space in there.
3. I was thinking of putting 1/2" hardware cloth around the entire 'coop'. The walls, ceiling, etc. Wood frame and then hardware cloth. So I wouldn't have to do the entire barn. Does that make sense?
4. I was thinking injured birds or new birds after they've been through the brooder (6-8 weeks old). Not a good idea?
5. I like the idea of the metal cans for feed. I had been thinking of building a wooden treadle.
 

CindyinSD

Crossing the Road
Aug 3, 2018
3,731
16,166
832
Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
You’re so lucky to have such a great space for your coop! I’m jealous. Mine are in a converted tool shed and (in summer) chicken tractors. Good for you!

For 50sq ft in Ohio, when the flock will very possibly refuse to go outside in winter (unless you provide them with a covered run), I would not personally use the space you’re planning to give them for more than five birds, so good call on the numbers. In Texas you could go with the 2.5 sq ft (& free range or several paddocks for them to rotate through) because the coop would primarily be a bedroom to them. OH (and SD) should BE so lucky... well maybe—I’m not sure I could take the TX heat...

The quarantine/hospital shouldn’t be contiguous with the main coop. It should be some distance off to prevent the transmission of disease. It doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it provides shelter. Making the quarantine area a walk-through is even more likely to spread disease since it would be very difficult to perfectly disinfect after hosting a bird that turned out to be sick. I’m very careful of the new birds I add to my flock. It’s not a perfect protection but at least it’s something. So far they’ve all been babies. Their quarantine is the brooding period, which usually happens in the (heated) garage.

The other thing you *need* to keep in mind: hardly anyone who has the land for it is ever satisfied with the number of birds they start out with. I started out with 15. The hatchery sent 2 extra. So far so good, only I fell prey to the mythical 2.5 sq ft per bird (which is why the first major blizzard found me frantically emptying out the tool shed, building a roost, and desperately coaxing them into it with a trail of seeds amid the rising winds and first whirling, thickening flakes.)

Now I don’t know how many I have, but it’s north of 30 heritage turkeys, 4 geese, 4 ducks, by my best count I have 38 pullets & hens and 6 roosters. Two of the roosters and most of the jakes must go to freezer camp in November. Three broad breasted white toms will go in a day or two and I’ve put 42 broilers in the freezer.

*I am among those who don’t really have a very big flock* :lau:lau:lau

Beware. Poultry are at least as addictive as crack, though a whole lot healthier.
 
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ChemicalchiCkns

Songster
7 Years
Oct 27, 2012
620
1,335
237
Supposedly the tounship I grew up in had some odd limit like 1 bird per 50 square feet not near a fence line and no Cocks, but you could hear them going off all day. I think there were 3 within earshot (those bantamms carry) that would set mine off. You may be able to get away with more, if you wait until prooving your competency and responsibilitie.
 
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