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Using PVC for a hoop house?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I'm looking into building a (cheap/recycled) tractor with a semi-permanent coop in the back.  I like the idea of the hoop house since it seems to be a good size for me and it doesn't seem to require a ton of materials. I had originally looked into buying a few cattle panels and covering them in hardware cloth/chicken wire, but they're like $25/each! Ouch.. So I did a little more research and found something like this: http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/83702_tractor72.jpg

It looks to me like they used PVC and hardware cloth.. but can you bend PVC like that? I'm not very familiar with it. Also, I'm wondering about the cost of PVC.. in the long run will I be better off using a wood frame, or the cattle panels?

In my dreams my tractor would look like this:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/83702_67931715_16-raised-garden-beds-and-chicken-coop-and-chicken-tractors-buckner.jpg

But like I said, this is going to have to be a scraps tractor. I do want to have a little 'condo' in the back like this one has though. Any thoughts? This is going to be a tractor/coop combo for my young birds, before they get to live in the barn and free range the yard with the adults tongue I feel like I've hit a brick wall and if I want to have some sort of plan before I start.

Ugh I'm so torn! I want to build cheaply but don't want to sacrifice a ton of quality. I'm also considering a design like this: http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/83702_tractor76.jpg but on a much larger scale. TOO MANY CHOICES!! hide

There is something so sacred and absolutely wonderful about the relationship between an animal and a human.. The bond I feel with my animals is unlike anything else in this world. It's amazing how one gesture, one peck, one nuzzle, one cluck, can convey more feeling than 10,000 words.
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There is something so sacred and absolutely wonderful about the relationship between an animal and a human.. The bond I feel with my animals is unlike anything else in this world. It's amazing how one gesture, one peck, one nuzzle, one cluck, can convey more feeling than 10,000 words.
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post #2 of 12

Depends on the size of PVC. 1/2" bends pretty well. The you have the connectors at the top to hold them all together. It isn't going to bend all the way, but you need that middle brace anyway.

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Learn About The Egg Train!   Egg Train State Coordinators  Join The Egg Train
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post #3 of 12

What about using 3/4" galvinized electrical conduit and bending it with a pipe bender. It would be sturdier and less inclined to snapin colder weather or becomebrittle from UV rays (like PVC can)?

 

                                                           "...and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life...."
 

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                                                           "...and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life...."
 

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post #4 of 12

You can make hoops without using pvc or any interior suports.  I used 2"x4" 12.5 gauge 60" fencing.  If you use fencing on each end of the arch, tie it to the arch, you can make modular pieces that end up being very strong.  I built 500 sq. ft. of coops and runs for around $400 and its very portable even with only one person moving it, because each piece is only 5'x5'.

post #5 of 12

you can use 3/4 PVC and bend it just as they have done.(please note: I am in Florida and snow load are not a problem.) Our first hoop house is 10x80 and I used 3/4 thick walled pvc with a 1 1/4 in pvc ridge on top. It is covered with welded wire fencing (we had on hand). secured with wire lacing( found in home improvement store in the hardware section for hanging pictures. 100 ft roll about $2.00) I also added 4ft chicken wire to the bottom because I  have chicks inside. One end is covered with old sign banner material, as I used to work for a sign company and I had this laying around. As our farm sports 23 wild peacocks anything I can do to keep them from poking holes into the plastic was a bonus!. On top is also the 100 ft of 4 mil clear plastic.  the side walls were aluminum tubing scraps (from somewhere?? )about 5 ft long , set in the ground 2 ft down. I have loose sand for ground, no dirt just sand so 2 ft isn't really enough but worked for this.

 

All other pens have been just  electrical (grey) pvc and syp strips ( 1x4) 14Ft long ( cost about $3.00  each) to eliminate the need for connectors which greatly increase the cost. covered with chicken wire attached by staples to the wood. If kept low to the ground, even our Florida wind isn't a problem-( rivals the wind in Kansas any day! but is NOT tornado proof)

The reason for electrical pvc is for the UV resistance that the white does not have.

you can build a 8x6 or 4x10 with 3 syp strips, one roll of 3 or 4 ft chciken wire and 6 pvc pipes - cost around $50 -that is portable and easily managed by one woman without dollys or wheels.  After my chicks are too big for hawks I start to let them out to day graze each day. all layers are day grazed and penned at night.

 

Colleen

Pan Eden Farm

Central Florida

post #6 of 12

Yes, pvc does bend, and so many people have used it for beautiful hoop houses.  I'm always a little jealous because this is what happened to me.  Guess I bent it too much or something.  I used 3/4" regular old white pvc on a 4x8 foot base.  It was cold (below freezing overnight) here in PA when I tried this last year.

 

LLLL

2 backyard birds since Spring 2011:  Tetra Tint and Amber Link

2 new chicks in March 2013: Buff Orpington and Americauna

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2 backyard birds since Spring 2011:  Tetra Tint and Amber Link

2 new chicks in March 2013: Buff Orpington and Americauna

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post #7 of 12

I have a large coop build from PVC and wood.  At some point the PVC will become brittle and we'll have to rebuild the whole thing.  Wood is much more durable and it's also more expensive.  I'm hoping by the time this coop wears out I'll have the money to build a nicer coop (the way things are going that doesn't look good).  We used green house plans and instead of wrapping it in plastic, we wrapped it in 1" galvanized poultry  netting (chicken wire).  It works very well for our climate and doesn't look half bad. 

 

BTW, the corrugated panels now go to the ground, I just don't have a recent picture.  We also don't get more than a few inches of snow at a time which melts quickly.  The weight of more than a few inches of snow would surely crush this coop. 

 

5802183

post #8 of 12

If you "reinforce" the pvc pipe that helps.  Fiberglass rods (expensive) or wood dowel rods inserted inside the PVC help prevent cracking.  If you go the fiberglass rod route, make sure you wrap the rod with tape to keep it from splintering when bent.  You could also try PEX instead of PVC as PEX is designed to be more flexible.

post #9 of 12

I'm with native beauty on the use of conduit rather than PVC. 

 

First off, PVC has some nasty environmental consequences in it's manufacturing.  Second, it's not UV resistant so it will break down over time when exposed to sunlight (though I can't say how long it will take).  Third, it's ugly.  Forth it's not intended as a structural material and is not that strong, and if you do over-bend it it will snap.

 

EMT, electrical metal conduit, is pretty cheap stuff, similar cost per linear foot to PVC, maybe a little more, can't say off hand.  It is carbon steel with a galvanized coating to protect it from rust.  It's actually a pretty decent structural steel.  I've welded it together to make bike trailers, and yes you can bend it and it will accept the bend gladly and will actually stay bent, and maintain it's structural integrity, as opposed to the pvc which will want to spring back when bent. 

 

You can bend conduit with a conduit bender, but at the radius you need for a hoop house, you don't need a bender.  Hammer some wood stakes in the ground in the arch that has a slightly tighter radius than the arch you want to create (to account for a little spring back), and bend the conduit around the stakes.  Or, you may just be able to bend it by hand and let it find it's natural arch when you fasten the ends down.

 

Just my two cents.

 

-todd

 

 

post #10 of 12
Cheap, and strong, would be fibreglass tent poles. Dirt cheap especially second hand. They overcome all the worries of a pipe (kinking etc) and if wind or snow pushes it simply recoils back.
Frances (Shaver), Elsie & Gladys (Barnevelders) and Bell'n'Ginger (Rhode Island Reds, we can't tell apart)
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Frances (Shaver), Elsie & Gladys (Barnevelders) and Bell'n'Ginger (Rhode Island Reds, we can't tell apart)
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