Building a Chicken Coop Inside Your Barn: A Practical Guide

Already have a barn or pole barn on your property? Don’t overthink it! You may have the perfect spot to build a chicken coop. In this guide, we’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of building a chicken coop inside a barn and provide you with the essential steps to get started. Let’s dive in!

Why Build a Chicken Coop Inside Your Barn?

When faced with the daunting task of choosing a coop design for our chickens, we found ourselves overwhelmed by the options. That’s when we turned to our existing pole barn. With ample space available, we decided to build our chicken coop inside it. And let me tell you, it was a decision we’re glad we made!

Important Considerations Before Building

Before we jump into the “how-to” part, there are a few key factors to consider when planning your chicken coop inside a barn.

Predator Proofing

Predator proofing is essential for any coop design. Ensure all six sides of your coop are secure: top, bottom, and the four sides. For the top, use plywood, boards, or metal panels. When it comes to the sides, consider building partial walls covered with plywood and secure the rest with chicken wire. For the base, dig a trench where the walls of the coop will sit and line it with concrete blocks to prevent predators from digging underneath.

Location/Layout

Spend time envisioning the best location for your coop within the barn. Consider how it will interact with other activities in the barn, access to sunlight and ventilation, and the practicality of bringing materials in and out.

Size

Determine the desired size of your laying flock and whether you plan to let them free range. Plan accordingly, allocating at least 3-4 square feet per chicken in the coop. If chickens won’t have access to the outdoors, additional space may be required.

Further reading:  Why Chickens Sometimes Lay Eggs Without Shells

Design

Align your coop’s walls with the existing poles or posts in your barn, typically spaced 8 feet apart. This makes purchasing materials easier and more cost-effective. Consider the height of the walls for proper ventilation and visibility. Opt for walls that are 2-4 feet high with chicken wire or hardware cloth above for airflow.

Storage

If storage space is a concern, leave some space between the top of the coop and the roof trusses. This allows for the storage of supplies, such as fencing, hoses, and spare lumber. Build a sturdy ceiling using a center beam and joists to create a storage surface.

Materials

Whenever possible, repurpose materials for your coop to keep costs down. Look for used lumber, doors, and concrete blocks on platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. These materials can add character to your coop and save you money.

How To Build a Chicken Coop in Your Barn

Building a chicken coop inside your barn requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you create your own coop:

Step 1 – Install Your Foundation

If your barn doesn’t have a concrete floor already, you’ll need to install a solid foundation. This will also serve as a predator-proofing measure. Dig trenches for the walls, deep enough for concrete blocks to sit with 1-2 inches exposed above ground level. Compact the trench, add a layer of sand, and install the concrete blocks, leveling them as you go.

Step 2 – Build Your Walls

Construct your coop’s walls on the ground before moving them into place. Use treated 2x4s for the bottom plate and standard construction lumber for the rest of the walls. Space the studs 24 inches apart or 48 inches for greater visibility. Frame out your doors during this step.

Step 3 – Install Chicken Wire

Install chicken wire on the walls before setting them in place. Staple chicken wire to the top or bottom of your wall panels, pulling it tight as you go. This step is much easier with an air compressor and a brad nailer, but a mechanical stapler will also work.

Step 4 – Assemble Your Walls

Move the walls onto your foundation, ensuring they are level vertically. Screw the wall panels together every few feet where they meet to secure them. Optionally, install Tapcon screws to secure the wall sections to the foundation.

Further reading:  Chicken Marsala: A Delightful Dish with Perfect Wine Pairings

Step 5 – Build Your Ceiling

To create a sturdy ceiling capable of storing materials, install a double 2×6 beam along the center of your coop. Hang 2×4 joists off the beam every 24 inches and secure them to the side walls using metal joist hangers or ledgers. Finish the ceiling with 1/2-inch plywood sheets.

Step 6 – Add Your Finishes

Finish the walls of your coop with plywood or paneling. Use exterior-grade plywood for the exterior walls and interior-grade plywood for the interior walls. Be creative with repurposed materials to add character to your coop. Install the door(s) at this stage.

Step 7 – Make It Chicken Friendly!

Now that your coop is built, it’s time to add essentials for your feathered friends. Install feeders, waterers, laying boxes, and a roost. Use a basic feeder and waterer from your local farm supply store. Laying boxes can be as simple as plywood sheets or repurposed drawers. For a roost, collect tree branches and create a ladder-like structure against the wall. Don’t forget to add bedding material to the coop floor.

Chicken Coop Inside Barn – Advantages & Disadvantages

Building a chicken coop inside your barn offers several advantages, along with a few disadvantages. Let’s take a look!

Advantages

  • Stays dry: Your coop benefits from the barn’s solid roof and walls, keeping it dry and reducing the need for extensive weatherproofing.
  • Extra protection: Coops within barns provide an additional layer of protection against predators.
  • Convenient access to water and supplies: Most barns already have a water and electrical supply, making chores easier. You can also repurpose storage spaces for feed and other supplies.
  • Ventilation in summer: By opening barn doors, you can create cross ventilation to keep the coop comfortable during hot summer months.
  • Warmth in winter: Barns can be closed up to retain heat, eliminating the need for additional heating sources.

Disadvantages

  • Lose barn space: Building a coop in your barn means sacrificing some storage space, which might be a concern for those with limited square footage.
  • Dust: Chickens stir up dust, which can be problematic if you use your barn for other activities that don’t mix well with dust.
  • Poop: If your chickens have free reign of the whole barn, be prepared for increased cleaning as chicken poop tends to be ubiquitous.
  • Sunlight: Depending on your barn’s design, limited sunlight may be a concern. Consider adding windows for extra light and ventilation.
Further reading:  "An In-Depth Review: Kevin's Teriyaki-Style Chicken Stir-Fry"

FAQs

Q: Can I build a chicken coop inside any type of barn?

A: Yes, you can build a chicken coop inside various types of barns, including pole barns and traditional barns. The key is to ensure the location and layout are suitable for accommodating a coop and that the barn provides adequate protection from the elements and predators.

Q: How many chickens can I accommodate in a coop built inside a barn?

A: The number of chickens you can accommodate depends on the size of your coop and your chickens’ free-ranging habits. Plan for at least 3-4 square feet per chicken in the coop. If chickens won’t have access to the outdoors, consider increasing the space allocation.

Q: Do I need to modify the barn’s structure to accommodate the coop?

A: In most cases, you won’t need to modify the barn’s structure. However, if you want to add insulation or windows to improve the coop’s climate control and lighting, you may need to frame out sections of the barn’s walls inside the coop area.

Q: How can I keep the coop clean and odor-free?

A: Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining a clean and odor-free coop. Remove soiled bedding regularly, provide proper ventilation, and use absorbent materials like straw, wood chips, or wood shavings as bedding.

Conclusion

Building a chicken coop inside your barn offers numerous advantages in terms of convenience, protection, and climate control. By following our step-by-step guide and considering the important factors we’ve outlined, you can create a functional and cozy coop for your feathered friends. Get ready to enjoy the rewards of having your chickens thrive in their new home!

To learn more about Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ and discover other exciting cooking tips, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.