It's that time of year. I don't have chickens. Feed stores and the like do. And it's hard to be on 4 acres and want chickens!
I'm still deliberating on whether I can squeeze in the time for them right now, but eventually, it'll happen. I've been searching tonight for cost effective coop ideas, and I think I like the idea of a hoop house the most. After talking it over with my husband, he has ideas that I'm not sure will fly (see what I did there?) and wanted to pose them to you all, who are far more knowledgeable on things chicken.
First, this is my inspiration: http://littlecountryhouse.blogspot.com/2014/09/diy-chicken-tractor.html Their build was for a chicken tractor which turned out too heavy for them. At least heavier than what they expected. I'm not interested in this being a chicken tractor. Maybe one of those will come later.
I want to use 4x8 sheets of plywood around the coop section. I'll use wood for the front and back. The back, will have the nest boxes with the outside door access. The front will have your standard human access. I'm thinking we'll dig a trench around the base and drop in some ready mix and add water to help keep critters out. I want a dirt floor to do the deep litter method. I want to use the actual cattle panels for the hoop.
Question 1 - Corrugated metal seems to be the most sensible option for the roof - flexibility and ease of obtaining. I live 50 miles from Charleston, SC. It's hot and humid down here. How likely is it that this will cook my birds? Is there something else I should consider? I'm not totally keen on using tarps but if I need to, I will. Cheaper anyway I think.
Question 2 - Husband would rather use PVC. I'm fine with that for the run section, but not so much for the actual house. He'd rather use the PVC to build the hoops and use chicken wire + poultry netting and NOT the cattle panels. Opinions? Pros/cons?
Question 3 - Does anyone have any real world experience in stretching out bent wire, such as chain link fencing? We have some around the property but it's kinda bent in all different directions. I'm of the opinion that cattle panel will be easier, especially at $20 a panel. He's being a good husband and doing thrifty thinking in trying to reuse what's here. I think it's going to be more hassle than it's worth.
We do have a coop on the property already, with a hoop run. The coop though needs some attention that I don't think we're willing to deal with (roof leak, floor rot from roof leak, further away from the house than I prefer). We can harvest the nesting boxes from it, as well as some wood, possibly. There's also some PVC/conduit from the current run that could be reused. I think he's wanting to try to reuse the wire from that as well.
I'm not opposed to reusing what we have, but I don't want to plan on reusing materials that aren't reusing.