Farming forum: Need help turning old smokehouse into chicken coop

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Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Jan 1, 2016 5:55 PM CST
Years ago we turned an old smokehouse into a coop. Someone offered my husband some bantam/game chickens so we put did what we could. There were already holes from rot or age so we made one of them bigger so the chickens could go in the yard area. We put rocks & chunks of concrete where we saw other holes. We fenced one side of the building.

The chickens eventually died out & the smokehouse/coop hasn't been used since. We made obvious (now) mistakes. There wasn't a door for the yard part so no way to get in there. The holes in the fence were too big, allowing chicks to run in & out.

I need to take the whole thing down & start all over. I just don't know what to do next!!! I'm hoping to find an old screen door & getting smaller fencing. Chickens will free range & only roost in the coop so the yard will stay small but I may make it bigger than what it is now.

The building is about 6 feet by 6 feet. Height inside is 7 or 8 feet tall. The floor is hard packed dirt. I'm wondering if I should make the floor concrete & have a pipe going out one of the holes for easy clean up? Just spray it down with a water hose & everything goes out the pipe.

My husband is disabled & won't be able to help with anything but he really wants chickens again. And that'll give him something to do & a reason to get up. I'm going to set him up some chairs close by but since they'll be loose, not too sure how it's going to work.

Can someone give me step by step instructions? I'll be doing most of the work myself but as I get the money (& find reliable help), I'll get help.

I haven't made up my mind on what breed. We both like bantams because they're small & manageable. But we're wanting egg layers so the regular size might be best. How many adults will fit in the coop do you think?


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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jan 1, 2016 7:09 PM CST
I don't think I would tear the whole house down, but you definitely need a floor of some type for predator-proofing. The "yard' seems rather useless if they are going to free range and possibly not worth fixing. The best wire for keeping out predators is hardware cloth or the similar 1"x1/2" screen. Could you post pictures of the inside? It sounds like a fun project and need not be very expensive.
Porkpal
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Jan 2, 2016 1:52 PM CST
I worded it wrong I guess. I don't want to tear the building down but I want to reenforce it to keep the chickens safe. This is what I could take of the inside.


Left side of coop. Hole is where chicks go out into the fenced in part.
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Bottom part, middle of building. Shelf is where we had the nesting boxes.

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Top part/ceiling

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Right side of building

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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jan 3, 2016 9:51 AM CST
I think that the easiest and cheapest solution would be to install a raised, tightly constructed wood floor which would solve the problem of the decayed boards at the bottom. Holes in the wall can be covered with hardware cloth - windows! If there are spaces under the eaves between the roof and walls, they will need to be covered too. The end result would not be scenic, perhaps, but it would be made safe from predators. Add roosts and nest boxes and the chickens will be content.
Porkpal
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Jan 23, 2016 4:07 PM CST
Older picture

Thumb of 2016-01-23/Kathy547/6de638

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jan 23, 2016 4:25 PM CST
It will make a lovely rustic coop.
Porkpal
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Feb 23, 2016 1:27 PM CST
Any progress on this fun project? Photos?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Feb 23, 2016 1:39 PM CST
Yes, please keep us up to date on your progress.
Porkpal
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Feb 24, 2016 10:11 AM CST
No progress yet, sorry!!! Hoping to get started soon.
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
May 22, 2016 7:30 AM CST
porkpal said:I think that the easiest and cheapest solution would be to install a raised, tightly constructed wood floor which would solve the problem of the decayed boards at the bottom. Holes in the wall can be covered with hardware cloth - windows! If there are spaces under the eaves between the roof and walls, they will need to be covered too. The end result would not be scenic, perhaps, but it would be made safe from predators. Add roosts and nest boxes and the chickens will be content.


I agree With porkpal, keep the great old look of the barn and install a solid wood subfloor.
Thomas75
Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
May 24, 2016 10:33 PM CST
Sounds like a great project. I agree that making it predator proof is a priority. A solid floor is a must. I saw a coop that used sheet vinyl over the plywood for easier cleanup - seemed like it would be too slick surface.

I made nesting boxes out of used clean 5gallon buckets, an old door, a 2x4 and some brackets: cheap, easy to clean and an easy build.

Cat
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
May 25, 2016 7:41 AM CST
We have used sheet vinyl in our coop for the past few years, with no issues. We do cover the floor with wood shavings, to absorb some of the odor and wetness which also makes it easier to pull out the droppings when the coop is cleaned.
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
May 25, 2016 9:21 AM CST
I agree with the vinyl on the floor. In addition to being much easier to clean (whether one uses shavings or other bedding material), it also protects the wood from potential rot. I cut a piece to fit my coop but didn't nail it down and then was unhappy with the sides curling, so took it out. Now wish I would have left it in, as it will take a hot spell to thoroughly dry out the plywood floor sufficiently enough to lay more vinyl. I think this time I will use stick-em vinyl so I can get a better fit. My thought is to post a 'looking for' ad on my local buy-sell site to try to pick up random extras folks may have laying around.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
May 25, 2016 11:37 AM CST
Excellent idea to ask for extra scraps. always good to keep things out of the landfill!
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
May 26, 2016 10:13 AM CST
Still no progress as I've had to put this on the back burner. Several of you have suggested laying a wooden floor. Is this better than pouring a cement floor? Would love to hear pros & cons.
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
May 26, 2016 12:05 PM CST
A cement floor with an outside drain would be easier to just hose off. I currently have vinyl but still have to scrape the droppings off it with a hoe and when I hit it with a hose, I have to be careful it doesn't get under the vinyl and rot the floor.
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 26, 2016 4:07 PM CST
Kathy547 said: ... Several of you have suggested laying a wooden floor. Is this better than pouring a cement floor? Would love to hear pros & cons.


Would the concrete need supports like pillars, or could the concrete be poured directly onto the ground?

Either way, the concrete floor will out-last the rest of the structure! Maybe plan ahead for when the wooden walls decay entirely, like by embedding beams or posts in the floor, to support the next barn or coop. Or just bolts ... I don't know how to construct a building on a concrete pad.

Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
May 28, 2016 9:34 AM CST
I have concrete floors in my coop and it is convenient but I don't hose it out until the first part of summer and before the fall freeze. You could probably anchor a metal shed onto the concrete pad but I've no idea how to secure your current building to a newly poured pad. Good Luck!
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
May 28, 2016 10:46 AM CST
RickCorey said:

Would the concrete need supports like pillars, or could the concrete be poured directly onto the ground?

Either way, the concrete floor will out-last the rest of the structure! Maybe plan ahead for when the wooden walls decay entirely, like by embedding beams or posts in the floor, to support the next barn or coop. Or just bolts ... I don't know how to construct a building on a concrete pad.



Yes it would be best. You can use a post hole digger to dig down at least a 18-inches deep in all four corners and connect them with a shallow ditch. Ditch to be the width of the hole and 6 to 10-inches deep will act as beams. Then lay in some wire as reinforcement, like cattle panels cut to fit. Thumbs up
Thomas75
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
May 28, 2016 12:04 PM CST
Or save yourself a lot of time and money and just put in a wood floor. I keep a flock of chickens in coops with wood floors and find them to completely satisfactory. I find no need to hose down or scrape the floors as long as they are covered with sawdust or wood shavings.
Porkpal

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