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Should we convert into a coop or tear it down? Opinions wanted!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ariana, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Ariana

    Ariana Out Of The Brooder

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    This barn is in a sad state but it seems it's structural goods are still in good shape. Looking at this barn, would you tear it down and start new or would you put on a new roof, clear it out and put up new walls? The people before us seems to have used part of it for storage of unwanted furniture and we plan to haul all that out. There are three rooms to it and a through-way to easily access the other part of the barn and pasture. Since we're in Florida we're thinking of tearing off the walls in one room and sealing it with chicken wire. We would of course put up some walls enough for shelter from wind/rain and for nest boxes. Now we wouldn't seal up the entire thing for chickens, we also would like to raise our rabbits and some quail out there. After I add the photos I'll give you a better idea of what we'd like to do with it's current layout since you'll be more familiar with the structure.

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    East facing side of barn, room 1 on the left, room 2 dead center, through-way then room 3 on the right.
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    Room 1, facing south.
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    Roof in room 1.
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    Western wall with door that has been boarded over on the outside.
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    Northern wall.
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    Eastern wall with another door that has been boarded up from the outside.
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    Room 2 on left, through-way and room 3 on far right.
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    Room 2. It wasn't fully enclosed so it's not technically a room but we're wanting to turn it into one.
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    Southern wall of room 2.
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    Western wall of room 2.
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    Roof in room 2 and through-way.
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    More roof in through-way.
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    Northern wall in through-way.
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    Room 3, facing south-west.
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    Room 3, facing north-west.
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    Northern wall of barn.
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    Northern wall of through-way from the west side of the barn.
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    Through-way, room 2 and part of room 1 from the west.
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    Rest of room 1 from the west.
    [​IMG]
    View of barn from the south.
    [​IMG]
    Extra structure.
    [​IMG]
    Closer view of the extra structure.

    Now for room 1, that would be the chicken coop. We would tear off all the walls and seal it with chicken wire. Room 2 would become our room for rabbits and maybe meet room 2 and 3 in the middle so they both have more space. Room 3 would be used for quail. The entire roof would be replaced and built specifically with a rainwater catchment system in mind.
    Our second structure is near our pond and we were considering clearing it out (chopping down those trees under it) and enclosing it to become a duck house. The structure is sound.

    Now is there anything I'm overlooking here? I'm no expert on coops or buildings and so I'm sure that I am not thinking of this from all possible angles. Should we tear it down and start over or is this salvagable? I would love to hear some opinions from people who have "been there, done that".
    I will be hiring someone qualified to do this, if that matters at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  2. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

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    Since you're hiring someone, find out from them if it's sound or not, or if it meets code. If all it needs is a new roof and some cosmetics, I'm sure it would be quicker and easier to convert it rather than tear it down. You're right, though, right now it looks pretty sad. If you are going to use it, take lots of pictures so we can see the transition from ugly duckling!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. BrickWall Honey

    BrickWall Honey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    if there is no major termite damage in the structure, I'd use it. Remove old siding and roof and go from there.
     
  4. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    Personally if I had the time and money/ resources I would start afresh, especially if it wasn't in my desired location.
    But it is really going to save a lot of time and effort to just take the roof off ( seems to have already done most of this for you ) and all the sides, keep the structural work and then go from their.
    You may even want to keep some of the alright sides and just touch them up.

    Just my 2 cents- Lucas.
     
  5. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Questions to ask your self.
    Does the structure have a straight roof line with little sagging?
    Does the foundation or footing seem sound?
    Is the current sheathing and framework free of rot and insect damage?
    Are there good straight studs and bracing to nail to?
    Are you happy with its current location, size, and design?

    One of the reasons the structure is in poor shape now is because the exterior walls in some places have bracing 4 feet apart.
    In a perfect world bracing on the supporting walls should be 16" centers apart. (I have seen two feet with no issues).

    I would do a wall by wall assessment to evaluate what is needed to be done paying close attention to the foundation and the bottom of the load carrying structure.

    This seems to be built on the pole barn design with no wooden or concrete floor. I would do some research on this type of building to see just how you compare.

    I never built a pole barn to be honest.
    I think it would be easier and cheaper to build from what I do know about them.

    Check out the link:
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/pole-barn-building-zmaz09djzraw.aspx?PageId=2
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  6. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd probably start fresh. Not because it can't be done, but because it will probably will involve the same amount of materials and time (or it could be more). Generally speaking, most renovated barns turned hen house don't work out. Maybe you could recycle materials from this structure to use in a new one? I say this because barns usually are not chicken predator proof, and unless it is SOLID built with wooden floors, boxed in, etc. it will take some time to fully proof it. I know from experience.

    If you DO build a coop here are few things I learned we needed:
    **If you plan on having 20 birds to start with, plan on ending with 35 to 40 birds. Usually you figure out we need this bird, and that one.
    **Build your roosts higher than your nest boxes. They love to poop in them. It makes egg collection aggravating.
    **Build your nest boxes as enclosed structures. Just one side open. They enjoy enclosed laces to lay their eggs.
    **Have a place built to house broody hens. Makes everything nicer on everyone.
    **Store your feed in your coop in metal trash cans. Makes chores a heck of a lot easier.
    **Unless you have bad predator problems, build a temporary run. Plan on letting them free range, it makes them nicer quality and healthier.

    Hope this helps!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    These are great points to consider.

    If the structure passes muster and it's where you want it...go for it.

    One thing that struck me that I haven't seen mentioned....chicken wire is for keeping chickens where you want (or don't want) them....but it is not worth beans to keep predators away from your chickens. 1/2" hardware cloth will almost always keep everything away from your chickens.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop


    These are really good points and questions to ask. A perfect guideline to follow.


    Personally, I would start fresh and repurpose as much of the old material as possible.
     
  9. Ariana

    Ariana Out Of The Brooder

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    Grant, Florida
    Thanks everyone for your invaluable advice and insight! This isn't our first time raising chickens, but it will be our first time designing an enclosure for a flock. We have used our garage in the past for our flocks as it's comfortable and climate-controlled (and we just use the carport for our vehicles) but we really want to use this structure for something or salvage what we can and rebuild.
    We plan to stick to free ranging our birds but we wanted a nice airy feel to the coop so that they could get a nice breeze on the crazy hot and humid nights here. We would give them an area in which to get away from the elements though. When I say chicken wire I mean the 1x1 fencing - is that not enough to keep away predators? I'm glad I'm finding out now. 1/2" hardware cloth will be on my buy list instead.
    As far as I can tell, I don't see any termite damage but I'm not sure of the signs to look for. The wood doesn't seem eaten up, just broken in some places - but I'll definitely get a couple experts' opinions. I just wanted to know if other chicken owners thought this would be a worthy project. BarredBuff is right, you expect 20 chickens and then all of a sudden you end up with double that. I have adopted a few too many unwanted flocks from the city in the past.
    As for a place for the broody hens - should I build that entirely separate from the main coop? Or should I keep the broody coop (is there an actual word for this? Brooder?) close by so she sees her flock and maintains constant to them so the re-integration is easier? I have never had a hen hatch out eggs (only time I had a hen go broody it was on unfertilized eggs) so I'm not sure the process there with re-integration. I do intend to get a few silkies this go around to hatch out some babies the natural way so if I need to build this separately I would like some pointers if anyone has some!
    I love the location of this barn as it's smack dab in the middle of the pasture so the birds would have a place to run to hide from hawks.
    I would need to build a floor, correct? To ensure that predators don't dig in? Is there a low-cost way of doing that? I'm not afraid of investing money into the safety of my flocks as it will (should) last for years but I do have to be practical. What about digging down a few inches around and burying the fencing a bit? Would that help?
    Maybe I need to go look at more coop photos to get a better idea for this. I want a large room to house a bunch of chickens at night but I'm just not sure how to go about that for this structure.

    I suppose if all is lost on this barn I'll tear it down, salvage what I can, build a large well-ventilated coop in it's place and raise the quail and rabbits under my carport. I was just so tickled with installing a large rainwater catchment system solely for use by the animals.
     
  10. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014

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