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Coop design advice needed - Page 2

post #11 of 54

You are drowning in information and advice! It can be so overwhelming that you become paralysed. 


Have any of your neighbours got any outbuildings in their yards or on their land that are a similar size to what you want to build? How are they secured to the ground? Even if you are in an area that gets high winds, the particular place that you want to site the coop might be sheltered?


Just decide on a plan and then enjoy the learning process of building it!


I have just completed building a log cabin (not for chickens) and it has been a fantastic adventure. I have done anything like it before. 

Read my "Ultimate Guide to Broody Hens"


61 FAQs. 6000 words.


Read my "Ultimate Guide to Broody Hens"


61 FAQs. 6000 words.

post #12 of 54
Actually there is another reason you might consider cementing posts in, overturning moment. If you have a wind area (like the coop) up on legs the wind is going to try to turn the coop over. Of course there are a lot of things that affect it, the weight of the coop and legs, the size of the coop for wind area, the strength of the wind, how high above the ground the coop is, how deep the legs are buried, how wide apart the legs are, and the type of soils it is in. Loose soils at the surface aren’t good, whether clay or sand.

The upwind legs will try to pull out of the ground. I can’t tell you whether you need to cement the legs in or not, there are too many variables. But think of it as a tall narrow box. Push at the top of the box. If it’s heavy enough you might not be able to move it. If it is wide enough it may try to slide along the ground. But it may very well turn over, the side nearest where you are pushing pulling up off the ground, just like the upwind legs will try to do.

I am an engineer. I designed a lot of heavy steel structures in my day. Uplift on these legs is something we worried about and designed for.

Even if I knew about your particulars it would be real hard to say whether or not you need to cement those legs in. If it is heavy enough it’s not a big deal. The wider the footprint in the wind direction the less of a worry it is. When I build something like this I want the building firmly attached to the foundation and I don’t want that foundation going anywhere. In the coop you pictured I don’t consider this a huge problem, you won’t have a lot of wind area compared to how wide the legs are spread out. But how hard is it to make sure?

I think your biggest risk is the roof blowing off. Make sure you attach all parts of that roof well.

I really think a lot of the rest is more of a philosophical discussion.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.


 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

post #13 of 54
Originally Posted by makadiwal View Post

All the local chicken people I've spoken to so far are telling me not to worry so much about securing the coop to the ground or the foundation and that the style of roof doesn't matter, but I try to look up things like local wind maps and find that in NJ they can exceed 100mph! Now I haven't experienced that sort myself in the time I've been here, but there are some days, albeit rare, that it gets pretty **** windy and I really dont want to take the risk.


I'm thinking of sinking the corner posts in at least 12"-18" into the ground at the very least. Will this be enough or should I pour concrete down there too?


My coop weathered some nasty storms before getting blown over, so it really might have been a freak thing.  Plus my farm is wide open with no trees or anything to break up the wind.  I would think that sinking the posts would be enough, although if adding some cement isn't too much trouble, my thought would be that it couldn't hurt.  I haven't done that before though, so I'm talking out of my tail feathers there lol.  We decided that we did not want to sink posts, so my new coop simply will not have a covered run.  One problem solved, a million more created I'm sure... :lol:

post #14 of 54
Thread Starter 
Wow, great discussion this. I'm learning a lot thanks to you guys.

I guess I'm more inclined to having the roof come off than the whole coop. The back of the coop is 4' away from the neighbors fence which is about 5' high, so same height as the coop. I guess I don't have to worry about winds from the back or sides at least, only the front.

Will making it a gable roof make a difference? Or I could just cover the coop and leave the run open too. I'd have to at least cover it with wire. The place I got my chicks recommended chain link fence as a cheap solution for above and below the coop to protect from predators and hardware cloth for sides.
post #15 of 54
So I'm no help on the gable question, but I finally figured out how to post pictures from my phone.

Actually it survived that. It was the flipping back over that kicked it.

post #16 of 54

I built a coop for my chickens, and I'm working on a duck hut now. Honestly, it's never "simple" but there were ways to simplify it so to speak.

You will need to cover the plywood with something. If you can get your hands on free/cheap shingles you can go with that. If not, but you can find some scrap metal that's great choice. You can then tar over the roof to secure any holes/leaks (but you'd be better off going with the grey roofing tar than the black).


Let me see if I can explain how I cemented mine. I had 4 corner posts to cement. Then I needed supports for front wall and rear wall (we ran supports 2 feet out from each corner post for front and rear walls). I cemented each wall support in too. So I had a total of 8 holes dug about 2 ft apart for the front and for the rear (picture a line, mark 2ft 4ft 6ft and 8ft). I built the rest of my supports onto that after it dried. So I put all my wall framing supports up after the cement dried. Then I had ceiling supports to put in, then window supports.


After all of my supports were put in then I had to put up walls and roof. I have a roof that slants from south to north so water won't stand. I used metal from a dilapidated camper to make my walls and sides. I used windows (2) from the dilapidated camper for ventilation on top. I have ventilation on the bottom too. Then for my door I used the door from the camper too. Basically, I recycled all the materials for the coop except for any and all framing work. :) I'm in NC so typically the weather doesn't get too crazy (as you can see in the pic, our rare snow did happen, not a common thing here though).

Here's a pic of my coop during the winter. I had tossed a tarp on the top to help with a leak at the time on the roof (I still need to tar, but I have since fixed the leak).

post #17 of 54

looks like what happened to mine before we had thought to secure it ....chicks are needing to get out of brooder....have feathers acclimated to 75 right now...but getting feisty and flighty....we ended up extending a 2/4 wooden patio secured to our previous owners screwed up patio..secured with brackets and attached directly to the coop...mine started as a precision coop (never again) with the wind /rain/ etc I explained its better to have at least 4 walls entries and vents etc and a large run vs and for heavens sake.....he is to make a dyi self feeder for the girls as well as a nipple waterer....another post had the link to u tube....mine did crack at seams when we flipped it back up...but still usable....sad thing is we could have home built for less as now this modification to our 299.00 coop is now making it into a 5-600 dollar investment....however since the deck is the more expensive end ....we do have room for a diy addition to attach to modified precision coop....

unfortunately hubby wont listen to me....he's going to his home boys for info...which of course is just what I tell him but I guess with belt buckle and cowboy hats...


I will have insulated panels that are removable for summer/spring early fall to help with keeping the girls warm....providing the homeboys agree with my suggestions therefore my hubby will birds are trying to fly out of brooder every time I open to clean or feed/water...and yet I iwll get that auto self feeder made with bucket and pvc piping.....I have seen the waste of poop/pee feed....and frankly not liking as easy as it is I should be able to make myself providing my arm works that day...


good luck it move it cause from what i understand it freaks the girls out if they feel its not stable within ....per good old boys with belt buckles and cowboy hats

post #18 of 54

we ended up building the deck and using cement pylons....pardon the spelling  and puttng 4x4 treated to additionally support the attachment to the cement patio messup they did....our next big question is .....where to place a feed water center...since precision coop doesnt provide much roost/nest box area....and since slide out poop tray has no support spots and its completely open to the elements for rain etc til we get the additional walls up....any ideas?

post #19 of 54

I bought shelving brackets, mounted one in the corner of the coop (on a support beam and the bottom nesting shelf) low to the ground where I could hang the waterer, and then one near center of the coop (on a support beam and the nesting shelf) where I could hang the feeder. I used a key chain ring to secure one and a clip with a key chain ring attached to secure the other. It works well here.

post #20 of 54

If you want to keep the option of portability open for your coop, you can get "hurricane" anchors from most bigger hardware stores, Home Depot or Lowes. They are basically augers, with a long upper shaft. I recommend putting them in well before you actually start building your coop. It will make them way easier to screw into the ground, without the building in the way.

You might also consider using rafter straps( metal bands) to secure the roof to the frame. You can find them the same places. Well worth the effort to put them on and they are not expensive.

I would also stress to everyone reading this thread and considering a build to, use quality fasteners. Don't skimp on your framing joints and stay away from pressure treated wood for exposed framing. It will twist and crack when exposed to the elements.


BTW, I have been a carpenter for 30 plus years and have learned plenty from my own mistakes, experiments and shortcuts. Paying it forward.

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