Building a chicken coop into existing outbuilding

2 Jul 2018
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United Kingdom
Hi! I'm looking to convert part of our existing outbuilding into a chicken coop. I was initially thinking of simply adding a partition wall but I think that would be a waste of space. Instead I want to build in a chicken coop into the building, essentially a large box raised off the floor with an access door and poop tray. The idea is that we can then store things around it/underneath.

I've made some rough plans and I've got an idea of what I want in terms of size and functionality but unsure of exactly how to attach it to the existing building to ensure it's solid. The existing outbuilding is concrete block and the front of the building is half brick and half stud with cladding on the front. I plan to build the sides out of plywood or OSB. I'm going to add new cladding in the future as its looking a bit old!

Also, not sure what we're doing about the window yet, whether to leave it there or remove it. Will also need to add ventilation holes.

Here's some pictures of what we're working with. Any advice would be hugely appreciated!

Rough Plan Inside.png
Inside Outbuilding.jpeg
Outside Outbuilding.jpeg
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Charlie Gordon, good evening.

Been there had hens in the rear yard for several years. We had a "modified - - Enlarged - - commercially available stand alone Coupe"

In no particular order

Suggest externally you fit a ramp, with some sort of platform at the entrance to the door, will assist in allowing movement of the birds] Also some sort of a door is a must ! ! We had a sliding door, but if it works and is a door then OK just make sure it is easy for you to use? After all it is really cold in the winter.

How many birds?

Can Foxes access this area? if so then the window will have to go, or get heavy mesh protection, but if the birds see the fox it will alarm them and they can go off lay??

If you can provide a waterproof base to the main area but whatever it is it has to be "peck proof" also I assume there will be internal access for cleaning and changing the straw in this area, if you can avoid a "lip" at the access / cleaning door., to allow you to quickly clear and re-fill the area with straw, a fast shovel scrape out of the old straw, emptied direct into a bin or similar?

Hens love to "roost" and will do so overnight, provide roosting perches, fixed above the floor level of the main area, something like Dia. doweling or X if you can round off the top of the latter material easier for them to "grab" [and they have a really strong grip]

In most coups, there tends to be a "nest box" attached to the rear of the "run" it is an extension, this "extension" generally has a lift up lid, that way you can access the eggs.

As for fixing the main timbers to the existing structure, use rawlplugs and suitably sized screws. legs to the ground will take the load applied.

There are several "keeping Hens" web sites, you may get more information on them?

Hi Ken, thanks for your detailed reply. Looks like I’ve got most of those boxes ticked in my plan. We used to keep a couple when I was younger. We’re planning to get 3 or 4 maximum so only a small flock.

My main question was really more detail around how exactly I should attach it to the existing structure so ensure it’s strength. As you can see in the pictures it’s a mix of blockwork and stud wall.

I’m now thinking of using 100mm fence posts to create a corner leg and an additional one for support at the back centre, secured to the concrete floor with post shoes and have my coop stud walls sitting on the legs. The sides of the coop near walls can be secured there without the need for more legs. Does it sound like this will be strong enough?
Charlie Gordon, good morning

Proposals sound fine, suggest you internally clad the area below the window, even introduce some form of Insulation it will assist in keeping cold spot away from the main internal run

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Just my opinion, don't keep the hens there, seems a waste of a good building, will end up with dust and chicken poop everywhere.

Easy enough to build them a freestanding house outside, plywood is ideal, less crevices for redmite.
I agree with build it outside, 4 posts plywood box 1m high of the ground, Use the shed just to store straw and feed.
You don't want them inside, they are messy. My chickens do fine in the winter don't need insulation, they just huddle together and grow more feathers. I don't know get any eggs in the winter though.....
Hi everyone, thanks for your responses. The main reason for making it part of the outbuilding is to conserve valuable space in the garden really, and the leftover shed space is plenty for us. I like the idea of it all being integrated.

Does it look like this would be strong enough? I will use this as a base to build the walls off.

Would you change the orientation of the frame studs to make it possible to attach walls on top or would you add a bottom plate on top of this frame? Any thoughts appreciated as I've never done something like this before so want to get it right. It's raised off the floor so I can store stuff underneath.

In the picture I've used material patterns to show what the existing structure is made of, brickwork or stud walls. Was planning to use 38x80mm CLS for the frame and 75x75mm fence posts for the supporting legs shown.


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Charlie Gordon, good evening again.

General principles are fine, there is not a huge load being applied

A couple of things.
Consider using a ply base, over clad with metal? the metal makes scraping out easier, and no lip at the door.
make sure your proposed door is large enough so you can comfortably get in to clean out.
The Coup does not have to be all that tall, as before suggest you install cross bars as perches
if the overall height is [fairly] low then storage is possible on the roof.
As before, some sort of a sliding door to the outside, and an external platform with access ramp, the ramp may need bars across to assist upward movement by the birds.


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