Will this work?


9 Years
Feb 21, 2010
Independence, La.
Hello all,

I love this forum, lots of great stories and advice.

Have moved to a new place in the country and one of the structures on the site is a former small greenhouse.

We've been wanting to have some chickens around here and this looks like it could be converted easily enough.

Because our summers here in south Louisiana are brutally hot and humid, I am considering an open coop design which would allow lots of air flow.
I figured I could roof a third of the structure (with it's hanger shape roofing it would go all the way to the ground on both sides) with a wide strip of roof down the middle the rest of the way, to give some more shade. It's too far away from the nearest tree to get any shade that way.

It has water and electricity in it already. Dimensions are 14'Lx10'Wx6.5'H.

Think this is doable? We are only planning on about 6 birds.

This is what it currently looks like:

That looks like it has a whole lot of potential.
What I've discovered in a year is that chickens will live anywhere, lay eggs no matter what, and try to raise chicks even if they don't have access to a rooster.
If you put a cardboard box down on the ground and put straw in it, the chickens will put eggs in it. Anything fancier is for our benefit...for cleaner eggs, easier to collect eggs, to keep the birds from breaking or eating them, or to keep them from freezing.
They will roost on anything as far up as they can get. When they roost, they will poop. Roost design is almost always to make it easier for us to keep the coop clean.
It only makes sense to put food and water in something that the chicks won't drown, and that the food and water stays clean. Almost all food and water setups are for ease of refilling food and water, and filling less often and to limit waste.
Chickens will tolerate an amazing range of heat and cold. Drafts and humidity are bigger concerns.
Chickens are pretty defenseless. You can go to great extremes to protect them. It is a lot easier to keep them in than it is to keep predators out. It is almost impossible to protect them against all predators. You can go to some pretty expensive extremes with protection which may or may not work against a determined, large predator. Or the neighbor's dog. Everyone has to decide for themselves if they want to spend five hundred bucks on a system to protect a two dollar chicken.
With rare expectations roosters will fight. They will also tear each other apart through a fence. They won't if they can't see one another.
It is really great you already have water and electricity. A tarp, a few cardboard boxes, some chicken wire, and some tree branches in there will suit the chickens just fine.
Everything else will be an improvement.

Terry in TN
6 birds
thats what we ALL said or something to that effect
but anyway ya i think itl work, i retrofitted a garden shed to make my coop and its worked out well (i would show a pic but im on my roomates spare computer cuz mine crashed
) i had lots of fun making mine and you will too! just make sure nothing can dig under to get in, bury some wire all around or maybe lay down some cement pavers to prevent digging, otherwise the monsters get in
also since you have power you can use a fan to move bad air cuz its muggy down there, i run a fan in my coop 24/7 unless its really cold, oh and also be sure to think everything out before you begin you will be glad you did! have fun and good luck! make sure you update us.
Oh, I'm jealous! That's exactly the kind of set up I'd like to have for my next coop! It should be very easy to put hardware cloth over that, running lengthwise over the top, and the only fiddly part will be putting wire on the ends and sealing the seams. Nice, very nice.

And water and electricity already! Wow.

Take a look at my page; I did something similar with a wood frame. A metal frame is going to be much better, though.
I think your idea will work just fine.

Here's the version that I'm using:



Mine are portable chicken tractors, but there's no reason a stationary one won't work. Note the wire laying flat on the ground. It's very important for keeping predators out.

First of all...
That is very doable. I would be on the way to get some hardware cloth right now. I recently just completed my hoop coop and am very pleased with it. I'm actually thinking about building another one(or two). Right now I'm working on a step by step guide and materials list for my BYC page to assist others who may want to get Ideas in building one. Below is the thread of mine with pics.

What a great set up. Have you thought about building a raised wall parallel to your back wall possibly 3 feet apart? By doing so, you could build in a nice enclosed area where they can get protection at night and also lay their eggs. You could even cut in some doors for nesting boxes for easy access to the eggs from the back of the coop. I like the light set up too. I would recommend setting up one of the lights on the outside and have it motion activated to deter predators. Also since you have access to water in the coop, there are some great ideas in the Watering and Feeding section on byc.com on how to set up a float for your waterer. What this means for you is that water will be added automatically when the water level drops either due to your birds drinking it or it evaporating in the summer heat. You won't have to keep adding water daily. You can get all the supplies at your local hardware store where they keep the parts for toilets.

Keep us all posted on your progress.
My plan (at the moment anyway) was to roof over the back part and build a shelf X feet off the ground. That shelf would have a row of nest boxes and maybe box in some space for holding feed, etc. (There would be a door on that space of course. Don't want the ladies getting into it.). The nest boxes would be roofed with a poopboard ( I figured to cover that with a piece of countertop material for ease of cleaning) and above that would be a series of roosts going up.

This would not be enclosed with a wall front and back but open to the front. Would allow air flow and be very easy to walk in and collect eggs, clean, etc. It doesn't normally get cold enough or stay cold long enough for me to feel like I really need to box in the whole nesting/roosting area.

The ground in the greenhouse/coop is gravel right now.

I'd ask how high the nest boxes should be from the ground but I'm sure I can find that here somewhere.

Since I plan for it to be open across the front, do I need a ladder board for them to walk up to the nest boxes and roost areas or can they flap up that high?

I like the idea of the auto waterer. I'll look into that.

I will definitely bury wire around the outsides of the coop. I have already seen a raccoon (it comes to visit the deer feeder) and we've smelled skunk in the air on occasion.
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