free floating run in Minnesota?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tandpmiller, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. tandpmiller

    tandpmiller Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2011
    Minnesota
    We are planning out our run and anticipating problems with digging post holes because of tree roots.

    We're thinking of having a free floating run with landscaping timbers or 4x4's for posts. 2x4's along the top and bottom for stability and to hold the hardware cloth firm, as well as hardware cloth for the skirting.

    Our main concern is the frost and upheaval issues come spring thaw. If we did dig post holes we'd be needing to go down about 4 ft. to get beneath the frost line.

    Does anyone have a free-floating run (in an area with significant ground frost)? Did the thaw cause damage to the run? What would you change if you could go back and do it again? We want to do it 'right' so we don't have to rebuild it again next year, but a free floating run sounds a lot easier. [​IMG]

    Thanks!
     
  2. goldtopper

    goldtopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2010
    Near Bert Blyleven
    I can't see a reason to go down 4 feet. Like any fencepost, just go down 2 feet or less and quick-crete them in. I live in MN and none of my posts have heaved.
     
  3. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think it's a great idea. Same concept as a panelized dog run or temporary lots built with cattle panels.

    You could build wood frames with 2x4 AllWeather wood on the long sides for ground contact and basically wire or bolt and wingnut them together, The top could even fit over like the lid on a shoe box, be reinforced for snowload, provide shade and snow/rain cover and provide additional overall stability. Be sure each panel has a section of skirting attached to it (hog rings work great and allow the skirt to hinge up if you move the panels to another spot)so any holes or low spots does not create a access hole for predators to crawl onder.

    This design would allow you to either set the coop inside or fasten it to the outside. Would allow you to easily expand if "chicken math" occurs, and let's one person move the whole thing piece by piece to another location if need be.
     
  4. tandpmiller

    tandpmiller Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2011
    Minnesota
    Called my cty environmental office today and the guy there suggested between 4'-6'. Looked it up online and it says 5.8' for my area. Ugh, that's even deeper than we thought!

    Hmm, I'd like to go 2' as goldtopper did but the thought of having to redo it doesn't appeal to my busy husband. It's enough to do it the first time!

    Thanks for your suggestions bryan99705, I'll let DH read it and go from there. It sounds doable. . . [​IMG]

    Thanks to you both for your input!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
  5. HarryBun12

    HarryBun12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2009
    I have a playhouse coop and another coop and run that just sit on the ground without posts in the ground here in WI. I have heavy fencing dug down about 18" for an apron to prevent digging predators from getting in. My first coop is sitting on a frame of cedar 2x6's directly on the ground. The second run I built I put concrete pavers down around the outside perimeter first as a sort of foundation. It's been over 3 years and I've not had any problems so far with freezing/heaving at all. If I did another one (which my husband assures me I am NOT) I would lay concrete blocks down again before putting the run in place. I'm sure your setup will be fine as you have it planned. 6 foot deep holes for posts? That would be a LOT of digging- plus tree roots? No thanks
     
  6. goldtopper

    goldtopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2010
    Near Bert Blyleven
    Quote:He may have suggested that depth, but it's not even close to practical. In fact, he may be just quoting the depth for a frost line, without consideration of what you are doing- I dunno. That depth would be fine for foundations, pilings, phone poles, etc, but a run or fence? Two feet is MORE than deep enough. I've had a 6' cedar fence around my yard for 20 years with posts every 6' and it hasn't budged. Unless you live on a tectonic plate, you'll be fine.
     
  7. Urbanchickenranchers

    Urbanchickenranchers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2011
    Rochester, MN
    Hey tandpmiller...6ft sounds awefully deep! I don't think even deck posts are dug that deep here in mn.

    I am in the process of building my coop and went with the following design:

    1. The run is boxed with 4x4 treated posts 10ftx6ft.
    2. I buried the upright posts 1 ft and then lagged them into the box much like others have suggested.
    3. The high point of the roof is attached to an existing playhouse and slopes to the upright posts that are dug and lagged into the box.

    Another thought is to set your posts on pavers and lag them into a box much like I did. It will take a little effort in getting them level in all directions though.
     
  8. tandpmiller

    tandpmiller Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2011
    Minnesota
    Quote:Can you explain what you mean by "lagged them into a box"?
     
  9. Urbanchickenranchers

    Urbanchickenranchers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2011
    Rochester, MN
    Ill try...it would be better if I could post pics but need to build my post count. I have a 10ftx6ft "box" made of 4x4 posts thst are leveled in the ground. The posts that are verticle that the roof mounts to are then lagged or screwed (6" screws) into the box 10ftx6ft box.

    I will post pics once my post count is good.
     
  10. I wish you the best on your project. I personally would not go any deeper than 2' with my posts even with your frost layer. 2' will be sufficient with some crete. In addition I would question the 6' deep recomendations as most post are made 6' or 8' long thus that would leave you with very litlle to work with above ground. Just saying common sense does come into play even when encounter freezing issues that you are combatting. When living in Indiana the ground would move and swell due to the cold but our fence posts were stilll just 18'' in the ground with crete added and the fence is still there today.
     

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