Turning a shed into a chicken house??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by beedaisy, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. beedaisy

    beedaisy Hatching

    Mar 15, 2007
    I'm planning on getting 3 rescue hens next week but have some work to do on my shed first. I was hoping someone could help by giving me some advice as I'm new to chickens!

    I have very high walls all around my garden and have been told that I don't need a run. I don't mind my garden being messed up and there is concrete around the bottom of the fence to keep foxes out.

    I have a fairly large shed which I plan to convert into the chicken house but I'm a bit worried about a couple of things:

    1) The floor is thin wood and I am worried that this might not be very hygenic and that mice could get in.

    2) The walls are grooved and may be hard to clean. Also there are some small gaps where the wood overlaps and I'm not sure if this a good thing (ventilation) or a bad thing (cold). Is it a good idea to line the inside with plywood or something similar? If so would I need to put a vent in the roof or would small drill holes around the top of the shed provide enough air?

    3) It's not possible for me to put electricity in the shed. Will the hens be warm enough in the winter? (I live in Devon, England). If not, does anyone have any tips on how to keep the shed warm? It's not practical for me to put bales of hay around the shed.

    4) How many nest boxes should I have for 3 hens? There's enough room to build one each but do they need that many?

    Any advice would be much apreciated [​IMG]
  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Welcome to the forum!
    You'll only need one nest for three birds. You can usually do one nest per 4 birds. The only concern I see is, yes, the fox can't get in, but there are also hawks, racoons, etc. that can climb or fly into the run.
    Chickens do much better in the cold than the heat, for the most part. If you get heavily feathered birds, like Cochins, they will be suited well for colder weather.
    As far as the coop, you want ventilation but you don't want a draft, if that makes sense! [​IMG]
  3. KrisRose

    KrisRose Songster

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Hi Beedaisy. I've been working my brains on overtime thinking about how to build a cheap but warm/safe/ dry coop. So many things to consider. Lots of info on this site. Yer lucky to have a shedd. I think your idea of lining with plywood is a good one. I would do both the floor and the walls. But with the walls maybe just go up part way to help get rid of drafts but the gaps could still give you ventilation? Perhaps line with plywood up to 4 to 6 feet, depending on the height of your walls? From what I understand its not the cold so much as the moisture build up from the chickens. I'm not sure were Devon is located but I'm thinking its in the southern part of England, and that moisture and not cold would be more of a problem?? Read some of the post from folks in Canada were the coops have been insulated but not heated. I live in Michigan and got temp's down to -12 this winter so I'm very interested in their posts.
    Also, are you sure about just three chickens? Good luck with that!!
  4. Country Gal

    Country Gal Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Capac, MI
    Krisrose - is your coop insulated? I'm still in the process of building mine, and since I'm in Michigan too, I've been getting conflicting advice on whether or not to insulate...
  5. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    There is nothing wrong with insulating a coop, as long as you still have ventilation. My coop is insulated in every part but the roof, and I have 3" ventilation holes (don't forget to cover them!) all around under the eaves.
    My shed is wood also, and I have lined the entire inside with additional plywood. I've never had a critter try to chew its way in, but I did have a chipmunk that ran in one day and I couldn't get it out before I had to close the coop for the night. In one night, that little thing chewed through over three inches of plywood to escape! I was amazed!
    Have fun with your new birds!
  6. KrisRose

    KrisRose Songster

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Country Gal- No coop yet!!! But I'v been reading posts all winter!! Got a major case of coop fever and I'm planning to go ahead and insulate when I build. I have also seen the conficting info on this subject. I think what helped me decided was the post from Shetland island. They insulated but did not heat. Ventilation is also very important due to the moisture released by the chickens during respiration, and an insulated coop with double walls won't have nearly as many drafts to release that moisture.
    Maybe someone who has chickens in the frozen north will add their 2 cents about their coops?
    I don't think cold would be a problem for beedaisy, I agree with lining the shedd with plywood not to insulate but for easier cleaning and to cut down on the drafts.
  7. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    beedaisy, if you'll check the list of forums on the main page you'll see one called Here Am I, Where Are You. Read through there and find some folks who live on your island. There are several. You could post there and find out what they do.
  8. beedaisy

    beedaisy Hatching

    Mar 15, 2007
    Thank you all for the information, there's so much of it on the web but I've found it quite conflicting. Luckily I don't have to worry about hawks or racoons where I live but they'd be nice to see! Rats and foxes will be my main concern and maybe owls.

    I've managed to persuade some friends to come over at the weekend to help me with the alterations so hopefully it'll all be ready before wednesday. I'm so excited, I've started thinking of names already - Martha, Marion, Betty, Molly, Hatty......decisions, decisions!! What do you call your hens?
  9. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    I'll jump into this if Canada can qualify as the frozen North.

    I would always insulate a coop. They stay cooler in the summer and warm in the winter.

    You do want vents near the top on opposite sides you can open and close for ventilation.

    If you are worried about the floor and cleaning. You can always buy a cheap piece of linoleum and glue it down. Many people around here have done that.

    Rather than line with plywood. You can use coorugated pvc sheeting that is sold at most hardware stores. Cheaper than plywood and easy to wash. Comes in clear, white, red, blue, etc..

    Just a few thoughts.
  10. KrisRose

    KrisRose Songster

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Kstaven- Good idea about the linoleum, I haven't seen PVC sheeting. I'll look next time I'm at Home Depot.
    Yes, Canada and the northern states are what I consider the frozen north. Thats why I read the posts from these areas about coop design.
    I don't take winter very well and it alsways gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see the nasty tem's in Canada!!

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