Coop foundation ideas??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickerdoodle, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    My DH and I are going over plans for our coop ( [​IMG] ) and were wondering about the foundation. Its going to be 5x12 footprint with a 4x5 henhouse for 5 hens. It will have a slanted roof that covers the entire setup. As a matter of fact its similar to the one that won the last coop contest https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=32956
    My
    question is what do we need to do to keep it from lifting up on windy days? I don't mean a breezy day but every few years we we get 45 + mph winds. With such a roof I worry it would lift. Haven't read much about secure foundations. Our plan is a cement paver base covered with 6 inches of sand. We were trying to figure a way to attach the base to cement blocks (they'd surround the cement pavers) as we are also trying to lift the wood base above ground to prevent rot and be deep enough for all the sand. Our soil is very hard clay in the area we putting the coop so really tough to dig in it. We were thinking of securing the 4 corners of the wood base into the ground through the cement back with something. Any ideas or is it not necessary? BTW we do have 8ft high bushes around our suburban backyard that may help high winds to some degree.

    Thanks in advance for your ideas!
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    My coop has blocks tamped into the dirt to keep it steady. Then the big boards sit on those blocks that were leveled in place.

    On the coop that you referenced, I wouldn't put the nest boxes on the inside of the run, I'd put them either on the front or a side that you can get to.
     
  3. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Regards nest boxes, Mahonri has a good point. On a small coop try to put the nest boxes in bumpouts that are easy to get to without picking your way thru poop. Security from preds, especially coons, is paramount. Design and build accordingly and pay attention to rain runoff and what it will do to your egg door and you while you are collecting eggs in the rain.[​IMG]

    Regards tie-downs Here is what I did with my 8 x 16 coop:
    A) I set my 6 legs (6" creosote poles) in holes 2 ft deep in cement.
    B) I used steel load/bundle bands that I saved from a large steel building I bought. (You can get them for free at any lumber yard or home improvement store just for asking)
    C) I used 16D fluted masonry nails, visegrips, and a 3 lb hammer to drive them in. They go up and over the sills and extend down the creosote legs a foot or better with a nail every 3" or so. I put the floor decking on afterwards .
    D) When I put the OSB sheathing over the wall studs, I extended it down to where it nailed to the sills as well as the wall framing.

    That way, the whole thing is tied together as one piece and it would take a class 3 tornado to lift it up. My homemade roof trusses are held down with the big diamond-shaped truss clips too. (A thing worth doing is worth doing well) Hurricane clips would be even better. [​IMG]
     
  4. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    Quote:Our plans do have the nest boxes in bump outs outside of the run closest to our house for ease of collecting eggs and the entire coop is in a high area that rain does run away from naturally but hubby is planning on a gutter system too. We also will have doors open on both sides of the hen house to facilitate cleaning and linoleum type flooring covered with a few inches of pine shavings for cushion (when hens jump off roost) and dryness. I also will have a board a few inches high on the inside area (and pop door) once the doors are open to prevent too many shavings from falling out of hen house.

    To answer gsim, we are going to use all 1/2 hardware cloth that will be fastened at close intervals for security--including the windows and screen door. I am looking at locks that should be easy to use yet raccoon proof. I will also keep in mind that we have to get out of the run once we are closed in it too as I read about some other BYCers who got locked in [​IMG] .

    I will pass on your info for securing the coop to my hubby. I bet he won't be too thrilled about having to dig 2 feet down in very hard packed clay [​IMG] !!

    I have to admit I have learned a lot from other's mistakes in this group and am so happy they shared them with us! Thanks a bunch!
     
  5. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I have a similar style coop and put about 3-4" of pea gravel down, leveled it and then installed the coop. It has great drainage. I put sand over the gravel in the run area to make it easy to clean.
     
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:Our plans do have the nest boxes in bump outs outside of the run closest to our house for ease of collecting eggs and the entire coop is in a high area that rain does run away from naturally but hubby is planning on a gutter system too. We also will have doors open on both sides of the hen house to facilitate cleaning and linoleum type flooring covered with a few inches of pine shavings for cushion (when hens jump off roost) and dryness. I also will have a board a few inches high on the inside area (and pop door) once the doors are open to prevent too many shavings from falling out of hen house.

    To answer gsim, we are going to use all 1/2 hardware cloth that will be fastened at close intervals for security--including the windows and screen door. I am looking at locks that should be easy to use yet raccoon proof. I will also keep in mind that we have to get out of the run once we are closed in it too as I read about some other BYCers who got locked in [​IMG] .

    I will pass on your info for securing the coop to my hubby. I bet he won't be too thrilled about having to dig 2 feet down in very hard packed clay [​IMG] !!

    I have to admit I have learned a lot from other's mistakes in this group and am so happy they shared them with us! Thanks a bunch!

    EAsy way to dig those holes if you do not have a powered auger is to take a roundpoint shovel and start the hole, then add
    water. Go to next, and next, and next, etc and repeat. Then take post hole digger and dig a little and then add water, and repeat from hole to hole. It is easier. If it really gets tough, switch to a digging bar to break the rock that the post hole digger is bouncing off of. I am 67 years old and did 12 of those (6 for pen, 6 for coop), so if I can, so can he. [​IMG]
     
  7. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jacksonville
    I live in a manufactured home with a roof rated for 120 mph winds - part of that is due to the house literally being tied down. Not that you would necessarily go to all that trouble but you could do a cement pad with rebar and tie down the structure to the pad. We have clay soil with sand. They used drilles to drill down the ties. You could do something similar plus a cement pad is easier to hose off when necessary for cleaning. You could still use deep litter but when you need to clean - you could do a bang up job that is less labor intensive.


    Not sure if that was your plan.

    Caroline
     
  8. Laurieks

    Laurieks Where did the time go???

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    Sonoma County, CA
    I put 'U-posts' at corners, just like a t-post but with holes for mounting, and mid-wall, and screwed everything onto them. I think we pounded them into the adobe about 2 feet, in April, before it dried out too much.
    Happy building!
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  9. TheMatador

    TheMatador Out Of The Brooder

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    Upstate, NY
    my two cents:

    Build forms and pour a 6" thick pad over a stone dust base, above ground.

    Use lots of rebar, wire mesh, old coathangers, ect to ensure it holds together (cut expansion joints as well to minimize damage in the event of a crack)

    Pour lengths of thread stock, sticking up vertically, into the slab along the perimeter.

    When you build, drill holes in your sill plate, slip it down over the thread stock and crank it down with nuts and a big ole wrench.


    Not sure how "handy" you are but there's nothing about this approach that an average do it yourselfer cant do. The actual mixing/pouring of the slab is a lot of work, but nothing you cant handle.
     
  10. Jeff in Colorado

    Jeff in Colorado Out Of The Brooder

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    Carbondale
    Quote:I agree. The ideas of putting in concrete "footings" or concrete corner posts are great, but being that this chicken coop is already built needs an easy "add on" that doesn't require redoing the work they already put into it. I was going to suggest concrete form stakes. They come in several different lengths (16" and 24" are common) and are basically just round steel stakes about 3/4" diameter. The stakes have holes predrilled so that you can drive nails or screws through the stakes into your wood frame. This way you stake the 4 corners to the ground so it can't tip over in the wind. I would put two at each corner, if you drive them in with a sledgehammer at an angle it would be very easy to do.

    Another option would be to use "earth screws". Not really sure exactly what they are called, but are used commonly with greenhouses where large metal screws are screwed into the ground and attached to the bottom of the greenhouse. Very similar to the screw stakes sold at Walmart for tying your dog outside in the yard. I think these would be harder to install after the fact, but have a much better holding in the dirt.

    One other comment... Your latch that you have a closeup on your pics should be mounted to a longer block of wood. Cut a piece about 12" long and mount it in the same place, but with the grain going vertical. Screwing into the endgrain is only going to split out the wood after a little while and since it critical that that latch holds to keep your chickens in and other critters out you may want to do this before it fails.
     

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