How to Turn a Horse Stall Into a Chicken Coop
Chicken coops can come in all shapes and sizes. In our Coop Tour series, we have shown you chicken tractors, using a high tunnel for a farmstead brooder, and how to predator proof your coop. In this post, we are going to show you how you can turn a horse stall into a chicken coop.
When building a chicken coop, the hardest and most expensive part is usually building the structure itself. The size of the coop, location, materials available, and your budget all need to be taken into consideration when building a new coop. When converting a horse stall into a chicken coop, this hard part is mostly all already done!
Every coop needs just a few basic things: roosting bars, nesting boxes, feeders, waterers, security, and good ventilation. Planning a coop can be overwhelming with all the different options available, but turning a horse stall into a chicken coop gives you some set parameters to help narrow down your choices and make it easier to design.
You will want to work with the current stall door opening to be your coop opening to save on time, cost, and structural integrity of the stall. If the stall has a sliding door, you can use this for your coop door (with a few modifications) since sliding stall doors usually close pretty tightly to the wall. You would want to add chicken wire or welded wire hardware cloth over the bars or openings of the stall door to make it more predator proof and secure for your chickens inside, and make sure the door has a good latch. If the stall has a swinging gate, you can either leave this up as an extra layer of security or remove it to make room for a chicken coop appropriate door.
Next, you will want to make sure the entire stall is predator proof by covering any openings with chicken wire or welded wire hardware cloth. Even with large horses in the barn near the coop, predators like raccoons and opossums may still come into the barn looking for leftover feed. I go over the whole stall from top to bottom to make sure every opening is covered for the safety of the chickens. Even if the stall has bars on the dividers, you should still cover those with chicken wire or welded wire hardware cloth to make sure nothing can reach in between the bars.
Now that the horse stall is secure with a chicken coop appropriate door and the openings are covered, you can plan the layout of the stall to work best for you as a chicken coop. I like using 2x4s turned wide side up as roosting bars so the chickens can get their whole foot on the roost and then will be covered when they settle down to roost, which protects their toes from frostbite in cold temperatures. You can attach roosting bars along the length of the center stall divider wall using support braces to keep your ground clearance open and make it easier to clean underneath the roosts.
Nesting boxes are another place where you can get creative in your coop. You can buy ready-made nesting boxes, build your own with wood, or use things like feed buckets turned on their side and filled with bedding. These turf pads make it easy to clean out nesting boxes and sprinkling some of these nesting box herbs can help keep nesting boxes clean and your hens happy.
I recommend hanging your feeder to keep waste and debris out of the feed. There are mixed reviews about keeping waterers inside the coop, mainly because the added moisture in the winter can increase the chances of frostbite in the winter, but this will be up to your own personal opinion and situation. I have my waterer inside my coop during the day and dump out the water at night because we don’t have a connected run on our stall coop (if I did I would have the water outside).
Another thing you will want to consider when turning a horse stall into a chicken coop is will horses or other animals still be in the barn and if so, how close will they be to the coop? Horses especially create a lot of ammonia in their manure and urine so you will want to take extra measures to protect the air quality inside the barn by keeping the other stalls and horse areas clean and using ammonia and moisture absorbing products like Sweet PDZ.
If you have an extra horse stall in your barn, turning it into your chicken coop can be a great way to utilize the space! If you have a horse stall coop, we would love to see pictures! Tag Meyer Hatchery in your photos on social media for us to repost!
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