Well built but FILTHY gross old inherited coop. Am I doing this right?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Gwendylyn, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. Gwendylyn

    Gwendylyn Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2014
    Waller, Washington
    There is a very well built coop we'll be inheriting on a property we're buying & I want to make sure I've got a good plan for the clean out & disinfecting for new birds. It's my understanding that it hasn't been used for 10 - 15 years. That into consideration, I'll be sure to strap on my handy dandy respirator with new filters & wear one of those fancy $15 disposable tyvek suits along with gloves. There are cobwebs, feathers & other grossness’s in this thing that I am certain have to be older than dinosaurs.

    After suited up I plan to sweep out everything I can & bag up for the dump. Pending that doesn’t get everything (I’m thinking cobwebs imbedded in screens/dividers & dusty schmutz in general), I was thinking air compressor to blow the rest out? Once all foreign objects are removed, I was planning on a nice vinegar bath delivered via pressure washer for the whole inside. Once that’s dry & aired out I would paint everything. Should the outside be repainted as well in case there is any funkiness clinging to life? Also, do you think the concrete should be sealed? If so, what would you use? New roosts & nest boxes would be installed.

    Here are a few pictures of the coop inside & out to give you a better idea of what I’m working with...


    Exterior - Obviously the door needs re-installed, new pop doors need to be made, shrub removed from run (?) & all brush taken down.
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    The run... Our plan is to increase the size of the run to give them a more reasonable amount of room when they aren't allowed to free range (which they mostly will be). My first thought was that the shrub/tree thing needs to come out completely but now I'm not sure. What do you think about cutting it way back so we could walk under it but use the upper branches as a sort of canopy so no hawks or eagles get any funny ideas? I kind of like the idea of using it as a canopy but don't know how realistic or practical the idea would be. Would it just be better to remove it & cover the run with tented netting or build a raised canopy (like a gazebo roof) or??? Oh now I'm thinking raised gazebo type roof might be better to help with mud control in the rainy season... (going crossed eyed with options) I need help people! What would you do?
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    And on to the inside... The foundation & risers in the floor are concrete. All of the concrete is in excellent shape under all the gunk.
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    What do you think about removing some of the interior dividers? I would like to keep the brooder box on the right side so I can let a mama hatch babies but I feel like the remaining dividers in there really limit the amount of usable space. What would you do if this is what you had to work with? The overall dimensions of the chicken house are roughly 12' x 12'.

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    I am seriously looking forward to whatever feedback you have. Have an idea for just the concrete sealing? divider removal? sterilizing ideas? I'll read & be appreciative of whatever ideas you have to offer up, however many or few that may be!

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    From the pictures I'm not seeing a the grossness and filth, I'm just seeing your typical old run down, low upkeep farm building that has been sitting unattended... Looks like it might have originally been the wind pump house for the property?

    I appears to have electric, so be very careful with a power washer, at bare minimum turn the power off at the house or where ever it's fed from, take some plastic and cover all electrical boxes/sockets and what not and when you are done washing open all the electrical boxes and give them sufficient time to fully dry before you put the covers back on and restore power...

    To each their own on your protective body gear, I have grown up rural all my life and that just looks like typical barn cleaning and I do that in a t-shirt and jeans, but would probably wear a dust mask initially as I knocked down the obvious dust off the walls as I do have allergies...

    I would likely do as you plan with a power washer with plain water to get the obvious dirt off... Follow that with some soap and hand brush work and a rinse again with the power washer... Once all the obvious dirt was gone, I would take a pump sprayer filled with a solution of 1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon water and spray down all the surfaces, let it sit overnight then give it one more fresh water power spray...

    At that point if you want to scrap and paint, wait a few days until it's fully dry and proceed...

    As for the run, if you leave all that shrub in there it's going to complicate cleaning, you might also want to clean up all the shrub around the outside so that predators are in the open and not on top of the run before they are sighted by the birds, not that birds have much defense but seeing and being able to run inside the coop is better then being blindsided...
     
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  3. Eagleeyeice

    Eagleeyeice Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't know what this building was built for but I think that Meep Beeps suggestions were good. I don't get all the raised cement dividers. If it was a chicken coop wouldn't there be roosts?
    I suppose once you get it cleaned up, you could look at it in a different light.
    Maybe one of the divided areas could be used for feed etc.

    As far as the run, that bush seems to be overgrown and in the way, but again, once you get the run area cleaned up you might have a better idea on what to do with it.

    Looks like a great start to me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    That is why I suggest it might have been a pump house, it looks very similar (and same relative size) to the pump house on my property that is still standing next to the windmill (mine is actually in great shape and being used as a storage shed for pools supplies) and although mine doesn't have as many cement dividers it does have a similar divider where the gears, pumps and what not were originally housed... The additional partitions in this one might have originally been water troughs, or some other sort of 'sink/washtub/shower'? Just a guess of course...
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  5. pigpen

    pigpen Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2014
    maine
    Looks like it also could have been a kennel...the ones around here have raised partitions so you can wash down each section separately
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Are there any drains in the concrete floor?

    I'd just go at it with a shop vac...keep it dry unless you can drain and dry it well.

    If it's been empty for 15 years any organisms/parasites are probably long dead, tho wetting them may cause regrowth.
     
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    The reason I recommend the power spray followed by the diluted bleach is to remove any potentially dangerous mould and mildew that might be in there since it was sitting for so long...
     
  8. Gwendylyn

    Gwendylyn Out Of The Brooder

    34
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    Oct 13, 2014
    Waller, Washington
    My goodness! Thank you all so much for your input!

    If they were my own chickens & I knew exactly what was in there, I wouldn't bother with a suit & respirator. I would likely just use a dust mask. I just don't know what's been in there & there is a lot of funky things to catch out there. Erring on the side of caution for the initial clean up.

    It does smell a bit musty, possibly moldy in there. I want to sterilize it to the best of my ability to make sure that I'm starting with a completely clean slate. The entry door of the coop was removed (who knows how long ago) and there is a birds nest in there, a decomposed bird or two, feathers, poo, what looks like vermin droppings & ooooooh the cobwebs. It must have been "cleaned out" after they stopped keeping chickens but it has been sitting open for quite some time & who knows how many of what creatures have called it home since then. It will give me the heebie jeebies every time I go in there if I don't wash it down after sweeping/shop vacuuming out.

    Great points about the run. I think with the info you guys added I am just going to take everything out of (& around) the run. What do you think about covering it? What would you use? Just tented netting or a structure? I'm a little worried about ending up with a mud pit & think a structure over it would be the way to go. BUT you guys are the ones with everyday experience & your opinions hold more value than what I "think" might be better :)

    The lady we're purchasing from told us that it was in fact built as a chicken coop. They built it to replace the one they had used previously which she grew tired of predators & vermin breaking into. She & her husband also used to breed dogs on the property & built it as they would have a breeding kennel for security of their flock as well as ease of cleaning. Good eye guys! The roosts & nest boxes that were in there were at some point removed & are in the run area now. There are also feeders, waterers, & what I'm guessing is a metal trash can/feed container in the run area. I didn't notice if there was a floor drain but would of course make sure it was completely dried & aired out before adding bedding & chickie babes to it.

    Thanks again for all of the great tips & ideas guys! I'm looking forward to being able to share more pictures & my experiences once we get all set up!!!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oxine might work better than bleach for disinfecting.

    Covering the run with mesh would be a good idea for aerial predators, tho the chain link is susceptible to night predators in the corners.
    ....and maybe solid roofing for winter weather if you live in a snowy area.

    What is your climate? Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better suggestions.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Curlyginger

    Curlyginger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All the clean up suggestions are really great. My only suggestion would be to NOT use bleach unless it is going to air out for a good long while before any chickens ever live in it. Bleach and ammonia (from chicken droppings) is a toxic combo.
     
    1 person likes this.

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