Choice of framing wood for coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sudz28, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. sudz28

    sudz28 New Egg

    Apr 30, 2009
    I'm getting ready to start purchasing the wood I'll use for framing and building my chicken tractor, and I'm wondering if it matters much what type of wood I use for the framing. I want to use non-treated wood, and it sounds like Western Cedar is a good choice for it's resistance to rot and insects, but of course it's a fairly expensive type of wood. Does anyone have any particular recommendations on what kinds of wood to either consider or avoid? I've never really built anything before, so I'm not as knowledgeable about these things as I wish I was :)
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If the bottom of the frame will be on the ground, I would consider treated wood for at least that part. Can't help with the rest, as we just used plain old cheap 2x4s for the framing...
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    You can use treated wood if you want to...your chickens won't be gnawing on it. I just wouldn't use treated wood for their perches. I used treated wood in all of my construction; I just sealed/painted it before I let the chickens in.

    You do need to sweep up the sawdust from treated wood, though. You would not want your chickens pecking that up.
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Treated will last virtually forever.
    Anything else is short term or high maintenance
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  5. Jeff in Colorado

    Jeff in Colorado Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 29, 2009
    Lumber Species is rated in the quality of wood. A typical 2x4 at the lumber yard is rated #2 spf. SPF stands for spruce/pine/fir... meaning it can be either species when it's milled and doesn't really matter as it is a 2nd grade general construction lumber. Whether it is rated #1 or #2 generally refers to how many knots and the graining of the wood. Lumber with few knots is #1 and the grain tends to be straighter and less likely to twist. #2 has more knots and the grain has more of a tendancy to twist.

    Treated lumber is good for wood that will be in contact with the soil. The chemicals help stop rot. The chemicals are only on the outside skin of the lumber, so you cannot mill it or rip it without exposing the untreated core of the lumber.

    Cedar and Redwood are good as they naturally resist rotting and can be milled easier than SPF. It cuts better and doesn't compromise its rot proofing capabilities. The cost can get expensive, however since you don't have to paint it or treat it after the project is complete, it may be less expensive in the long run. I do suggest using a water repellant treatment like Thompson's water seal or the like.

    I don't know what you have planned, but most projects can be done with typical #2 spf as long as your expectations are realistic on what you are working with.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Cedar is only particularly rot-resistant if it is the dark-colored heartwood (significantly more expensive to buy than just 'hey it's cedar' with the pieces consisting of mostly the lighter colored outer wood). But, if you are determined to avoid p/t wood then you DO probably want something good 'n' rot-resistant like that for the parts that rest on the ground. (I would use p/t myself though)

    FOr the entire rest of the structure there is no particular reason to use anything special, generic spruce/pine/fir lumber will be just fine presuming you prime and paint it well (i.e. several thin coats, not one thick coat)

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    Are you going to move this tractor? Weight will be an issue and PT is heavier. I don't know about cedar. I don't know if you are trying to be simply utilitarian or want to make something very visually appealing. In general, the frame has to be sturdy, but not resistant to rot. It should not get wet. Members that will touch the ground should be PT. You can use cheap 2x3 or 2x4 for the frame, it is only a chicken tractor. [​IMG] If you want something visually appealing, then spend money on nicer siding or paint.
  8. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Try Using Bamboo stalks, depending on where you are, you might be able to find someone who has bamboo is growing out of control.

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