Storage and Chick Brooder Space in a Coop?

pkarkos

Songster
Jul 9, 2017
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I have some questions for those of you who have large(ish) coops with storage space inside for feed, bedding, and brooder space for chicks inside (or who want such a setup and have ideas) that you have built yourselves or had built. I am planning on building a coop this summer. The space I have set aside is about 10 by 16 feet. I was planning on having the coop be about 8x10 or 8x12 depending on how much lumber I can afford to get and probably 7 to 8 feet high with a peaked roof. That would probably give me enough space for 25 or 20 birds (including space I would have to set aside for storage which would leave some less space) and I doubt I would be brooding more than 8 chicks at a time for the foreseeable future.
What do you all think about coops with storage space inside? What kind of materials do you have separating the coop from the storage space? Can you safely have a heat lamp for chicks in an outdoor building? How much brooder space do you set aside? What sort of flooring would you recommend in the storage space and in the coop? Does anyone have plans for such a coop? (I have found plans that I could alter to have a storage space, but it would be nice to have a complete plan.) Anything else that I am not thinking of?
Thank you all for your advice!
 
Last edited:

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,256
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Southeast Louisiana
I closed off the end of a building to make my 8' x 12' coop so a different situation than you face. So no plans. Still, I'll make some comments.

What do you plan to store? The chickens will create a lot of dust. Expect that dust to coat everything it can get to. To me that determines if you need a solid wall between what you are storing or can use a fenced in area. My storage was in the other part of that building, chicken feed in two metal garbage cans and a lot of stuff on shelves. I built a brooder in my coop so stuff associated with that. A couple of live traps, one sized for raccoons the other for rats. Some mouse snap traps. Various seasonal feeding and watering dishes. Zip ties for their legs. Some stuff for butchering. All kind of things but nothing that the dust would bother. But it was still stuff I did not want them climbing on or pooping on. Whether you need a solid wall or a wire wall depends on how you feel about that dust.

People often like photos so I'll include one of my built-in brooder. The top acts as a droppings board to conserve space. The floor is wire and it's elevated so the poop drops on through which makes it easy to keep dry and clean. Since it's a wire bottom it can be used as a broody buster if it is empty. When I brood chicks in here in winter I put a piece of plywood on the floor to help it hold heat and just tilt the plywood to get rid of the poop. In summer I just leave the bottom open. In winter I wrap the whole thing in plastic, in summer not so much. So I need a place to store that plastic.

Brooder.JPG


I find the biggest issue in brooding outside is the temperature swings. I've seen it go from below freezing to the 70's F in 36 hours. Your brooder needs to keep one area warm enough in the coldest temperatures and cool enough in the warmest temperatures. This one is 3' x 6', big enough to manage that. Some winter mornings the far side might have frost in it while the other end is toasty warm.

I use a heat lamp. No matter what heating method you use you have some risks that have to be managed. I wire my heat lamp in place. Not string that can burn or plastic that can melt, but wire. I toss that clamp that comes with it, I consider that unreliable. With the brooder wire floor instead of bedding it doesn't have fuel for a fire that available anyway. The wires running to this are protected from the adults outside the brooder from trying to roost on them or otherwise cause harm. I'm pretty happy with how I manage the fire risk.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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My Coop
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but it would be nice to have a complete plan
Get out your graph paper. ;) Sketch out a few layouts.
You could find plans for a shed if you need construction plans.

What do you all think about coops with storage space inside?
I love mine....except for the copious dust that gathers on stuff infrequently used.

Pics of my coop and brooder area(4x6 with separate run) in my articles.
 

pkarkos

Songster
Jul 9, 2017
123
92
131
I closed off the end of a building to make my 8' x 12' coop so a different situation than you face. So no plans. Still, I'll make some comments.

What do you plan to store? The chickens will create a lot of dust. Expect that dust to coat everything it can get to. To me that determines if you need a solid wall between what you are storing or can use a fenced in area. My storage was in the other part of that building, chicken feed in two metal garbage cans and a lot of stuff on shelves. I built a brooder in my coop so stuff associated with that. A couple of live traps, one sized for raccoons the other for rats. Some mouse snap traps. Various seasonal feeding and watering dishes. Zip ties for their legs. Some stuff for butchering. All kind of things but nothing that the dust would bother. But it was still stuff I did not want them climbing on or pooping on. Whether you need a solid wall or a wire wall depends on how you feel about that dust.

People often like photos so I'll include one of my built-in brooder. The top acts as a droppings board to conserve space. The floor is wire and it's elevated so the poop drops on through which makes it easy to keep dry and clean. Since it's a wire bottom it can be used as a broody buster if it is empty. When I brood chicks in here in winter I put a piece of plywood on the floor to help it hold heat and just tilt the plywood to get rid of the poop. In summer I just leave the bottom open. In winter I wrap the whole thing in plastic, in summer not so much. So I need a place to store that plastic.

View attachment 2166405

I find the biggest issue in brooding outside is the temperature swings. I've seen it go from below freezing to the 70's F in 36 hours. Your brooder needs to keep one area warm enough in the coldest temperatures and cool enough in the warmest temperatures. This one is 3' x 6', big enough to manage that. Some winter mornings the far side might have frost in it while the other end is toasty warm.

I use a heat lamp. No matter what heating method you use you have some risks that have to be managed. I wire my heat lamp in place. Not string that can burn or plastic that can melt, but wire. I toss that clamp that comes with it, I consider that unreliable. With the brooder wire floor instead of bedding it doesn't have fuel for a fire that available anyway. The wires running to this are protected from the adults outside the brooder from trying to roost on them or otherwise cause harm. I'm pretty happy with how I manage the fire risk.
I was only planning on storing stuff for the chickens in the storage space (feed in steel bins, excess waterers and heat lamps, bales of shavings, and maybe some cleaning tools) so the dust issue probably wouldn't matter too much and if it did end up bothering me I could just replace whatever I use to be solid.
I think I would want to have the brooder separate from the main coop in the storage area so I don't have to worry about poo on top of the brooder. But it looks like you only have wire separating the chicks from the rest of the flock? I was wondering if the adults birds might try to peck chicks through wire.
I hadn't considered the temperature fluctuations so that is good to know. I think I would really only have chicks in the spring so I don't have to worry about summer temperatures. I usually have my heat lamps on dimmer switches so I can gradually change the temperature so I could just turn them up at night.
Thank you for all this information! Quick question though, how many birds do you keep in the 8x12 space and in the brooder? For that space, I would assume up to 25 birds, but I was wondering how many they seem comfortable with.
 

pkarkos

Songster
Jul 9, 2017
123
92
131
Get out your graph paper. ;) Sketch out a few layouts.
You could find plans for a shed if you need construction plans.

I love mine....except for the copious dust that gathers on stuff infrequently used.

Pics of my coop and brooder area(4x6 with separate run) in my articles.
Yeah, I have been sketching them out in a CAD, but unfortunately, lumber isn't precise and often plans account for that, but I'll try some graph paper.

I love that coop! Is that vinyl flooring? Is that holding up? I really like having something between the animals and wood flooring because it rots so easily and I have used stall mats in the past but those are kind of expensive.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,043
125,768
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Yeah, I have been sketching them out in a CAD, but unfortunately, lumber isn't precise and often plans account for that, but I'll try some graph paper.

I love that coop! Is that vinyl flooring? Is that holding up? I really like having something between the animals and wood flooring because it rots so easily and I have used stall mats in the past but those are kind of expensive.
CAD should be better than graph paper....depending on the program and your savvy with it.

Vinyl wasn't cheap, heavy duty foam backed stuff.
Tested by bending corners of various kinds.
Don't have an exact price because I did some bartering.
It's held up well for 6 years now.
Even used to it line the poop boards.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,256
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Southeast Louisiana
I think I would want to have the brooder separate from the main coop in the storage area so I don't have to worry about poo on top of the brooder.

What is your concern with poo on top of the brooder? Why would you consider that a problem? The chicks underneath won't have a clue what's on top of it.

Chickens poop a lot at night on the roosts so the poop can build up pretty thickly under the roosts. Many of us use droppings boards to remove that poop from the coop to reduce how often the coop needs to be cleaned. There are many different styles of droppings boards. I use a flat surface and scrape the poop off so I have pure poop to go in my compost pile. I use wood, some put linoleum over that wood to give a surface that is easier to scrape. Some people build trays and fill those with sand, PDZ. wood shavings or some other bedding. You can use bins that set under the roosts. Just all kinds of ways to use droppings boards.

But it looks like you only have wire separating the chicks from the rest of the flock? I was wondering if the adults birds might try to peck chicks through wire.

I use wire so the chicks and adults can see each other. Pecking is not a problem, even through 1" hardware cloth. Since they can see each other the chicks essentially grow up with the flock. That makes integration tremendously easier.

Quick question though, how many birds do you keep in the 8x12 space

I don't keep them in an 8x12 space. I keep them in an 8x12 coop, a 4x8 "grow-out" coop, a 4x8 shelter in the netting area, a 12x32 main run, and an area about 45' x 60' inside electric netting. I have the weather that all this space is available practically all day every day so they are not confined in that 8x12 coop only for long periods of time. Chickens do not distinguish between coop space or run space. If they need room they just know if they have enough or not. All that space outside doesn't make any difference if it is not available when they need it so how you manage them is important. The main purpose of the grow-out coop and shelter in the run is for sleep space.

In winter my main breeding/laying flock is one rooster and 6 to 8 hens. At the peak in summer I may have over 50 chickens, mostly younger ones growing to butcher age. When it is crowded I may have a broody hen and her chicks sleeping in that shelter in the netting area until she weans them and just the chicks for a while after she leaves the on their own. During the day they roam with the rest. I might have a dozen or so juveniles sleeping in that grow-out coop but they also roam with the rest during the day. The rest sleep in the main coop, various ages and sometimes another broody hen with chicks.

I know you see those 4 and 10 square feet numbers for coop and run all over this forum. Those numbers aren't that bad for a flock of 4 to 6 mature hens already integrated in a backyard coop and run, especially if they have access to that run practically every day. Those numbers break down pretty quickly when the number of chickens change much, when you mix ages and sexes, when you integrate, or when you have a broody raise chicks with the flock.

and in the brooder?

A lot of this depends on what age you take them out of the brooder. They grow pretty fast and in just a few days they can go from plenty of room to it's getting crowded. I regularly have 20 to 25 chicks in this 3' x 6' brooder until they are 5 weeks old. Plenty of room.

My first brooder was a 3' x 5'. I kept 28 chicks (mostly female) in it until they were 5 weeks old. It was starting to look pretty crowded. I kept 21 chicks in it (mostly male) until they were 5 weeks old, they were also starting to look pretty crowded. These were all dual purpose chicks, no bantams.

I believe you mentioned 8 chicks at a time. I'd build it bigger so you have flexibility in case the occasion comes up. You will need room for food and water which cuts into any square feet per chick numbers, especially when those chick numbers are low. If you are using a heat lamp or similar method build it big enough so you can heat one end and let the far end cool off to manage temperature swings. If you are using a heat plate or heating pad you don't have to worry so much about overheating them in warmer weather but still give them plenty of room to grow.
 

pkarkos

Songster
Jul 9, 2017
123
92
131
CAD should be better than graph paper....depending on the program and your savvy with it.

Vinyl wasn't cheap, heavy duty foam backed stuff.
Tested by bending corners of various kinds.
Don't have an exact price because I did some bartering.
It's held up well for 6 years now.
Even used to it line the poop boards.
Glad to hear that it held up!
 

pkarkos

Songster
Jul 9, 2017
123
92
131
What is your concern with poo on top of the brooder? Why would you consider that a problem? The chicks underneath won't have a clue what's on top of it.

I know it might not bother them, but it will bother me, haha. I am trying to make this coop as easy as possible to clean and that would just be one more thing to scrap poo off of. I am planning on using linoleum or vinyl flooring which will be easier to clean so the build-up under the roosts won't be such an issue.

Thank you for the information on the numbers for the brooder and coop.
 

Sahraschweiss

Songster
Apr 9, 2020
353
801
176
Wildwood, Missouri
I just started with chickens this year and I'm still in the process of coop and run building. Right now I have 12 11 week pullets in the coop and run. Run is 20 by 25. Coop is 12 by 8 total, but divided into coop and storage space. Chicken side is 7 x 8 and storage is 5 x 8. Ceiling is 8 ft and have pitched roof with attic space. There is also a 4 ft over hang/porch cover on the long side with a 36in wide outside door. The interior coop door separating storage and coop is 36 in. I didn't want to bang my knuckles on door jams when carrying things.

Although the girls are in the coop, it is still under construction. Coop is wired for electric. Walls have spray foam insulation. Attic has batting r30. The are 2 windows and two attic fans. One fan runs 24/7 and has 70 cfm and can circulate the entire coop air every 20 minutes. The large secondary fan is 800 cfm and kicks on at 85 degrees. Coop has lights, outlets, low volt for automation devices, temperature sensors, and electric fencing. Floor is vinyl and walls are masonite. The coop dividing wall is 2 x 4 with chicken wire to help with air circulation. I will probably cover the bottom 2 feet in masonite because bedding gets kicked into the storage side.


Siding needs to be finished on the outside, and inside needs shelves, roosting bars, nesting boxes, and brooder/isolation box. Right now the girls are happy with 2x4s attached to saw horses for roosting.

We decided to get more chicks, so we have 8 4week old chicks in the office. Because of this we need a way to integrate the new chicks with the older ones.

We decided to use part of the space for nesters as brooder/isolation pin. Brooder will have a 3 x4 foot print under the nesters. It will be 2 1/2 to 3 ft high. Nesters will be beside and over it. The top will have plywood covered in formica top access door. Formica so I can scrap off poop when it gets gross. We are adding a second pop door going into the run. There is a small portion of the run that is netted off too. Think small coop and run within the larger. As this comes together, I will post pictures.

I went this direction because the yard layout didn't make a secondary coop/run feasible. It would be too close to or in the way of something. Also, we put a lot of thought and money into electric and air circulation and didn't want to spend that again on a smaller sometimes coop.

Now, remember, I am a first time chicken person. What I designed could be dumb; however, it seems to make sense in the moment.
 

MANNA-PRO

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