Securing an old barn to house a coop within

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by drydenjen, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. drydenjen

    drydenjen New Egg

    Mar 17, 2012
    Dryden, Ontario, Canada
    I'm new to this site, and also new to rural living. My family and I just moved to northern Ontario, and we're expecting 12 Rhode Island Reds come April/May (along with a few ducks and geese). We plan to free range all...with a shelter for the ducks, and chickens in the barn at night (coop within the barn). I kind of want the geese in the barn to help ward off predators, but I kinda don't want the ducks soaking my barn! We have a 5 acre pond where those waterfowl should hang out, but I'd consider the geese indoors if needed. Or our 4 cats (currently in the workshop). Or maybe even a dog...if needed.

    We have a small barn on our 25 acre property, that is in...ok condition. The exterior looks great. The upper level is dry, and seems quite secure (perfect for storage). The lower level needs some work, but overall pretty secure.

    It could be about 4 stalls, although on the right (west side), it's become one large stall (18' x 8'). This large stall has a south facing window, and sand floor. There is a concrete foundation for our barn on the east side (in the hill). On the North side, there is a garage door...which has an inch or two crack at the top, and some drafts along the sides. (we could board the sides and use harware cloth at the top to allow ventilation but keep out critters). There is a concrete pad outside on the north side, so I don't think anything can dig under the garage or entrance doors.

    On the left (east) side, the front "stall" I guess was the tack room, with a north facing window (seen in pic). There are floor boards, many broken needing repair.

    The back stall is 9' x 8', with a south facing window (boarded at the moment as it house a horse, but the window is in the rafters). Sand floor again. One crack in the foundation in this stall, with a small hole to the outside (where the siding meets the concrete...something may have burrowed under the siding to the hole in the cement). I could perhaps dig some hardware cloth into the ground outside this hole, as I can't think of a way to fix this inside?

    My dilemma is which area to fix up for the chickens? We're in a very cold climate, so I believe the South East stall would be a good choice...although there is a tree line close to that side of the barn which I think will shade it most of the day. I'm also concerned about the foundation crack/hole...but it's probably insulated by being buried?.

    In the NW stall, I'm concerned about drafts from the garage door, and half of the stall is open. We do have quite a bit of wood around, and a saw mill, so that part isn't a huge issue. But we don't want to invest huge amounts of money into this venture as these chickens are for meat and eggs. I can post pictures of the inside of the barn tomorrow. I should say that I haven't seen any droppings or any other evidence of animals in the barn...but it's been vacant for some time. And it has power.

    Any advice greatly appreciated! We are setting to work tomorrow to start making it more secure. Will also be looking for advice on keeping away the Ravens nesting in the tree above the barn, but that will be another issue!

    thank you :)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  2. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lucky you! Oh the farm-pets I would have if I had a barn like that! I would probably predator proof a stall with hardware cloth rather than trying to animal proof the whole building. I like a south east window but with the evergreens it sounds like it won't help much with warmth but at least it gives light for the chickens and maybe a view. I would put a popdoor in the wall leading to a predator proof run. A roof on the run is nice as my chickens go out all winter. I throw some straw on the sand to keep their feet warmer.[​IMG]
  3. drydenjen

    drydenjen New Egg

    Mar 17, 2012
    Dryden, Ontario, Canada
    Well, it turns out there wasn't much of a dilemma!

    Walked into a flooded east side today. Snow's melting rapidly out there.

    So we have to use the back of the west side, which also has a south facing window. Just trying to figure out a way now to secure the crevices around that darn garage door keep critters and drafts out, but still allow us to use it to air the place out in the summer. Any ideas?
  4. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2012
    Hi, My first thought was to maybe raise your coop a bit off the floor. Like build your coop on top of concrete blocks... like a foot or so. the water ca run any where it want's and then still dry out.
    That might help with keeping the coop floor dry. Then you won't have to worry about where you put it or the melting snow/rain flooding your coop. extra cost though.

    We are in the middle of building our new coop. It is an open air design from the 1920's. We decided to raise it 2/12 feet above ground level. that way in the winter the ladies can go under the coop and have a "no snow" area. They won't go out into the snow much, they don't like it.
  5. drydenjen

    drydenjen New Egg

    Mar 17, 2012
    Dryden, Ontario, Canada
    Sounds very cool!

  6. Joe.G

    Joe.G Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2011
    Eastern NY
    The barn looks like a nice barn, It may need some work but as long as the structure is strong you should fix it up, for a small investment you could put drainage around the perimeter of it and that will take care of your water issues and make the barn last a very long time and be much more usable.

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