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Shed conversion plans for coop - newbie seeks advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by simple, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. simple

    simple New Egg

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    Feb 5, 2009
    [​IMG]

    Click on the thumbnail to see the most current version of my coop plan. I have an 12'Lx10'W shed I plan to section off into a 5x10 coop and a 7x10 storage shed. This will be our first coop and we're looking to house between 5 and 20 birds, probably starting w/ about 12.

    So I'm looking for any suggestions from experienced chicken folk on how to make this the best possible design. I'm sure I came to the right place. The two blue circles are a feeder and waterer, both of which could be moved into the run on a temporary or semi-permanent basis.

    Current plan is to cover the existing wood floor with linoleum and use the deep litter method.

    The shed is built in to our garden fence perimeter (garden to the right) and we can therefore let the future flock straight out into the garden to till and forage before planting or after the harvest is in. I know they can eat the garden, so we'll be careful to exclude them during the growing season. The run will be L shaped and wrap around what are the top and left sides of the shed in the plan.

    Big concerns:

    1) We currently get coons and groundhogs under our shed. They can't get through to the garden because of concrete and fence buried on the garden side of the shed. Do I need to do a similar treatment all around the edge of the coop, even if the fenced run will cover the other side and back? Or am I ok just doing the only remaining exterior side (bottom edge of the shed in the plan)? Should I put some kind of wire underneath the linoleum before laying it as additional protection?

    2) Ventillation. The shed currently has no ventillation and gets stifling in the summer. I'm in Cleveland, OH and we get 90+ degree heat in the humid summer and down below zero occasionally in the winter. Will two windows on the shed sides (one on the left, one on the right) and a screen door and gable vent on the remaining exterior side (top) be sufficient? I can only vent on three sides without modifying the storage side of the shed. If this will not be adequate, what additional ventillation is recommended? I do not want to modify the roof, which is already flat on top and not conducive to roof venting.

    I like this plan so far, especially because the layout drawing looks like a robot.

    Comments/questions/suggestions?
     
  2. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2008
    Nebraska
    I'm still a newbie too so don't have much help on your questions, your plan to me looks great. One thing I noticed though is you said you want 5-20 chickens and only have a 5x10 coop, which is 50sq ft and they say to allow each chicken 4sq ft which would mean 13 would be the max. So I don't know if that will change your coop plans! I'm sure the others will respond with more help! [​IMG]
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi, welcome to BYC [​IMG]

    That looks like a good plan in general. Here are a few things to consider, mostly in answer to your questions:

    As long as the wood floor of the shed is sound, I don't think it's worth putting wire under the linoleum unless you have a known rat problem. Also bear in mind that on a linoleum floor you will not get all the old-timey benefits of 'real' deep litter, i.e. no heating or serious composting. (Not arguing against doing it though - it's certainly a convenience! [​IMG])

    You probably won't want the waterer and feeder right where they're located on the diagram - they'll tend to get nailed by chickens flying down off the roost. Better to have them somewhere more out of the way of up/down traffic [​IMG] But this will be real easy to fiddle around with once you actually have chickens, not reallys omething you have to work out right now.

    If you're going to wrap the run around the top and left sides of the coop, you might want to put the outside-access nestboxes so the 'outside' access is from within the tool part of the shed. Otherwise it kind of defeats the no-pooey-shoes purpose of exterior nestboxes! [​IMG]

    I'm not entirely clear on the reason for a ramp to the garden, if you just want to shove used bedding out and let the chickens into the garden. A fold-down ramp will get bedding caught in the hinge part and jam frequently, which is annoying. Fixed or none would be better IMO.

    Yes, I think you DEFINITELY need stuff to exclude raccoons and groundhogs from getting under the shed. YOu'll need to keep them from digging into the run as well. (Esp. with groundhogs around, this will require some real effort! but even if the groundhogs don't bother your chickens, raccoons going thru weak places made by groundhogs *will*)

    And you'll want to be hacking a whole lot of ventilatio openings in the shed [​IMG] Windows and screen door (needs to be really predatorproof!) and gable vents are not bad for the summertime, assuming windows are BIIIIG, but for winter ventilation you will really want to have some thing(s) high up on each of the walls, right under the eaves. So you can get warm humid air removed without drafts on chickens. Might be good to have one of that sort of vent into the tool part of shed too, as sometimes it may be real useful to buffer incoming air by ventilating it through there. Make GOOD SIZED vents, not something where a hole saw is involved [​IMG] -- like 6-12" high and as many feet long as you have room for. Hinged flaps or sliders will allow you to adjust how much of which sides' ventilation is open, depending on the weather.

    Good luck, have fun! [​IMG]

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  4. simple

    simple New Egg

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    Feb 5, 2009
    Thanks for the suggestions, Pat! I will definitely put the nesting boxes on either the garden wall or opening into the shed so I don't have to step on chicken poo to get eggs.

    The idea of just having a removable panel instead of a hinged ramp is also excellent!

    Thanks for the advance tip on the feeder and waterer, too, though these will be easily moved to wherever is most convenient for us and the flock.

    The wood floor is sound, and we don't have any rats that I've seen, though the mice and squirrels are plentiful. Critter proofing the run will be a bit tricky. We've had a groundhog momma raise a litter of baby groundhog poofballs under our shed in the past... It is a pretty attractive spot to them, I'm sure. We've done ok so far keeping them out of the garden, so I'll take a shot at this with burying the fencing and crossing my fingers. Sounds like many people recommend the extra expense of heavy duty hardware cloth over poultry netting, at least on the coop.
     

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