Comments on my plans for a modified hoop run please


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
Pacific Northwest
Hi, there, got the little chickies
, got the large second hand rabbit hutch (needing some amendments) and now for the run.

I am very interested in the hoop style runs mainly because....well, because my husband and I are kind of right angle challenged.
(thank goodness we don't have many mosquitoes because the screen door he 'built' has gaps a hummingbird could sneak through) And I just know I wouldn't be any better. He has made some hoop and gothic shaped greenhouses though so the hoop run seems a natural.

What we need: a more or less fixed run that has some covering so that there is a dry area and shade for the hutch. This has to be able to hold some snow (and if the farmer's almanac is right, more than we have had in the Pacific Northwest in the past years) but I am willing to go out and sweep it off the way I have to do with my greenhouse and certain tall bushes.

So the plan: I've read about the cattle panel model but we don't have cattle panels available on our island, we have 20ft rebar and hardware cloth. So I am wondering if we can do it using those two ingredients and use the framing wood (or maybe not even, for example pounding pipes into the ground and inserting the rebar) (did I mention that money IS an object?

I am wondering 1. If this will have the strength to hold itself up (imagining that we just stretch some tarp over it for the 'covered' section). We can add some support posts in the middle if that would be a good idea. 2. I am also wondering what size hardware cloth I can get away with i.e. the 1" stuff is seriously pricey ( I am hoping for a generous run about 13ft. by 13 ft or longer as the coop would be inside) and a friend has suggested I could use 2" stucco cloth but he also mentioned that mink have been increasing in the area and I've been reading that they might be able to go through a 1 1/2" space.

My original plan was to use the 2 inch stucco cloth and add something small to the bottom 3ft. of the run.

About raccoons and the rest of predatorville, I was hoping I wouldn't have to bury the hardware cloth but that I could do fold down (and pinned down) sides, i.e. a section all around ....that was in case we thought we would like to move it ....

I have searched the forum for this but have only seen pictures and discussions of pvc ones (which we know from experience doesn't do well with the snow) and the cattle panels but hope someone has some experience with the rebar or something similar.

Your comments and ideas about practicality for snow load and mink imperviousness are awaited
I'm sure someone that knows something about these kind of runs will respond soon. I'm also angle challenged but DH is a great builder. Good luck with the chickens.
hardware cloth will be to lite for what you want. you can mail order panels be they might be pricey. bending rebar also might be a problem, I've used 4x8 sheets of lattice work, stronger than you think, easy to work with and will hold a tarp up great. and can be peiced together well
Are you sure you want to go with the hoop, without having the cattle panels I can't think of a way to make it strong enough. What about using the a frame design? It is very strong and you don't use as much in the way of materials. May be tough to make it the size you want though. Worst case can you just build a standard type fence by sinking posts about every 8' and connecting with a 2x4 top and bottom then putting on the hardware cloth. Fences are easy to build.
Thanks for the input, the A-frame design I think would be a problem with encasing my coop which is about 8ft long and 6 ft wide and opens at the top. and my concern with the fence thing is that the covered roof would need to be something other than flat otherwise it would collapse (which gets us into our lack of building skills problem).

hardware cloth will be to lite for what you want. you can mail order panels be they might be pricey. bending rebar also might be a problem, I've used 4x8 sheets of lattice work, stronger than you think, easy to work with and will hold a tarp up great. and can be peiced together well

Buck Creek what do you mean by lattice, you mean that thin lathe type stuff that is used as a kind of decorative fencing (made of strips of cedar)?

I guess I do have to look into how easy rebar is to bend (not to mention get to my place) but I believe I have seen Eliot Colemen the gardener mention it as a possibility for a hoop greenhouse....hmmmm..... I don't know if I could get the local building supply to bring in cattle panels, is there another name for them as they didn't seem to know what I was talking about?​
yup, it bends a lot easier than you think and it strong, I've use it to make roofs on my portable pens and to keep bunnies out of the garden hoop style. plus you can use dry wall screws to attach it
Dh is the designer here, and he is asleep now, but I remember having a discussion about using re-bar for something, and he said NO!! I don't remember why, but it was something I didn't know about. I will have to ask him tomorrow.

What about old trampoline frames?
We built our first one from them and it is great! Granted, we don't have the snow here.

Well, scratch that idea....DH just woke up and I asked him.
He said you wouldn't get re-bar uniform enough, it can be welded together, but it won't stay together well. He said you would not be happy with it.
He said the trampoline frame with metal on it wouldn't work well, because the metal ridges would hold the snow too much and it would not be stout enough to hold a load of snow.

Now, he has a suggestion, but he said it was too hard to explain, it wasn't hard to do, but he couldn't explain it to me to be able to type it. He said to go somewhere that they have hot houses for plants that are covered in plastic. The kind he is talking about has 2 layers of heavy plastic, with a fan blowing the 2 layers apart, so there is a layer of air there to keep any pockets from forming from rain or snow. It would slide right off. It is a great insulator also.
The fan is a small one, about the size of a hair dryer blower.
He said if you can see one in operation, you can easily build one.

Hope this helps you, or at least gives you an idea.
If we had one, I'd take pictures for you, but we haven't built one yet. If we happen to be around any I will take pictures for you.

I have had experience with mink, though. If you have them in your area, you will have to secure everything tightly. Mink kill just for the thrill of killing, and they can and will destroy every chicken in one night if they can get to them.
It is a good thing they are small, because if they were bigger, they would be very dangerous to every living creature. They are about the meanest things I have ever encountered. They will fight anything, no matter how much bigger it is than them.

I hope you can find a plan that suits you and your chickens.

Thanks for the continued thoughts... this is causing me to think and discuss with my husband and we are now leaning towards the coop being out of the run and attached by a tunnel....that might bring A-frames back into the picture although crawling on my knees in that fabulous um...fertilizer to catch a cornered hen will probably not be as fun as it sounds

Rafter 7... as it happens I do know of the system your husband described (and would love to have it in our greenhouse) but I am hoping to make the run very secure and unless I've missed something in the description I am thinking the critters would have a fine time slicing through that plastic.

I would like to see what you did with old trampoline frames...or do you mean just using the frame as is (2ft. high or so) as once again, the crawling through the muck thing, this case commando style

I don't know if I am misrepresenting our snow. We normally don't get a lot, maybe three falls a winter (except last winter when we all lost count along with our pvc hoop greenhouses). But because it is the west coast it can be heavy......

About the mink, is 2" square too big??? I've seen a pet ferret once (actually it was in a friends car I borrowed, she forgot to mention it was in it....imagine my surprise when a snake with a fur coat lifted its head as I grabbed the gearshift

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