Has anyone built a permanent "chunnel" using livestock panels?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by suburbanhomesteader, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. I went to Tractor Supply today to look at really strong materials with which I might build a new run. I found heavy, 10ga panels which are 5' x 16', with a 2"x4" wire pattern. I don't think even a pit bull can chew through these.


    I played with one and made it into an arch; at 5'9" tall (I'm 5'7", so I can walk in it without doing a Quasimodo imitation), it was 9.5' wide at the base; I had wanted it to be 10' wide, but I think that's close enough.

    I'm thinking I could anchor a series of panels to a 20' long 4x4 which is spiked into the ground with 18" rebar. I would attach the hoops to each other with Jclips or hog rings, and attach the chunnel (chicken tunnel) to a new coop I'm designing right now.

    This would only hold birds at least 9 weeks old, so I probably wouldn't put any other wire at the base (although I could; I found some 1x1 welded wire which is 2' tall x 15' long, and I could attach that around the base of the chunnel.

    If it turned out to not be as laterally stable as I hope, I can always attach EMT (electical mechanical tubing) along the "peak" of the chunnel, so it could not be compressed and wouldn't "sway" from side to side. I might need to make it 6' tall (which would take the width to 9') if I added the centerline stablizer.

    By building in an arch configuration, I wouldn't need to worry about a separate cover for the chunnel, and I wouldn't need to worry about sagging joists (the main problem with the coop which was on the property when I moved in) supporting the cover.

    Can anyone think of a downside to this, other than the expense? The panels with a 2x4 grid are $48. The neat thing is, I could add to them as I get more money; I want the chunnel to eventually be 40' long. I could save money by using the 4"x4" grid panels, which are only $31, but then I would definitely have to use other wire around the bottom, because I think a cat can pass through a 4"x4" square.

    I really want to get this done soon, and I want it to be able to hold off a pit bull attack.

    A young friend of mine was raising geese, ducks, and chickens; he had over 20 birds, and came home yesterday to find 2 pit bulls in his back yard, and all birds except his geese were dead, spread around the back yard in a gruesome, "killing-field" kind of way. :mad:

    I do not want that to happen to Bo and the Production Reds (minus one). I thought his dad was going to shoot the dogs, and I would not have blamed him if he had, but the son couldn't bear to see the dogs killed, too, so the owners were called.

    Thanks for your input!!
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  2. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    What an excellent idea! I think that it would be fantastic! I don't see how they could chew through it, it would be too strong. I do think it would be good to take the 2' panels you mentioned and put them along the base on the outside, laid on the ground toed out securely attached to the 4x4 base. This way nothing could dig under your anchored 4x4 and still get in. I would also put 2' chicken wire on the inside to keep coons (yes, they do come out during the day) from reaching through the 2x4 wire and grabbing one. When there's a preditor about most chickens will congregate in a corner and huddle with each other instead of going in their safe coop. So those of us who use 2x4 wire put chicken wire, with as small a holes as possible, on the inside to keep the coons from reaching the birds. One question I do have, if the dogs, especially more than one, were to jump against your chunnel would it be strong enough and put together well enough to keep it from bouncing around and coming apart?
  3. chicks rule

    chicks rule Songster

    Apr 10, 2007
    SW MO
    I bought some guinea keets last weekend from a guy and most of his pens were built this way and covered with chicken wire, no coop just tarps for shelter. I bought three of the cattle panels for my run in which the fourth side will attach to my coop. Then I will cover that with chicken wire and welded wire around the bottom 1/2 of the run.
  4. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    To tell the truth I've been thinking of doing the same thing. I am currently using PVC pipe (10' length makes about a 4' tall arch with the bottom 5' wide) with 2x4" welded wire over it. Because of the height of the run I cant get into it to rake it out or shoo the turkeys into their house.
    I have seen the panels your talking about and they look like they would work great. There is also a concrete reinforcing wire mesh you can get at steel supply or home improvement warehouse's that may be a bit cheaper I think the holes are 4x4 or 6x6 but if cheeper a person could always overlap 2 layers of them to reduce the hole size.
    I like the idea of being able to add on as money allows.
  5. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Songster

    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    I think this is a fascinating idea! We're building our coop right now and it's been exhausting, and the thought of building our run makes me tired just thinking about it. Your run idea sounds simple!

    What are hog rings and J clips? And as you start putting this together (if you do!) can you put up some pictures for us to see?

  6. Quote:LOL! Yup, you can see my portable tractor photos on the 4th or 5th page of the permanent thread at the top of this topic. I used the 10' PVC and I can now duck walk! (had to put the feeder under the tarped area so the feed would stay dry).

    Someone asked: one question I do have, if the dogs, especially more than one, were to jump against your chunnel would it be strong enough and put together well enough to keep it from bouncing around and coming apart?

    It's raining too hard to get the 16' trailer out of the field, but I used a panel I had on hand, which has a mesh gradient (going from 3"x8" to 6"x 8") as a test. It vibrated, but didn't seem like it was going to come down, if it was well-anchored on the bottom. I am seriously thinking about adding a "ridge support" to the structure, probably using inexpensive 10' galvanized electrical tubing. With ridge support, I think the chunnel could support over 100lbs without flexing or swaying laterally.

    With all the danged rain, I may not get this up until next weekend, but I'll definitely take photos when I do it. I spent another couple of hours at Home Depot and Lowe's this evening, and I just can't find anything that will go up as quickly and easily, and be as strong. The concrete wire I found in rolls was not nearly as thick as the panels are; it might be 2 or even 4 ga different.

    Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions!
  7. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Just wanted to share, since I was considering doing something very similar for a coop. There's a photo and article here http://www.plamondon.com/hoop-coop.html and slightly more detailed plans here
    http://www.plamondon.com/hoophouse.pdf I hadn't thought of using 4 x 4's (I was planning on the 2 x 4's) but one major change I was planning to make that I THINK would make it much more stable and also easier to put together was to place the corner braces on the bottom so that I could attach the livestock panels *inside* of the frame instead of outside.

    I would think (I hope I am right) that that would make it more stable as far as big dogs hitting it. This wire (at least what I saw) is pretty strong stuff, and if you anchor it well on both sides and attach the panels to each other well, I can't see how any dog could possibly break into it. A bear maybe, but probably nothing smaller!

    Good luck, I hope your chunnel goes well. These look like great building materials for chickens!

  8. JFL1950

    JFL1950 In the Brooder

    May 31, 2007
    Jacksonville, Texas
    I just built one this weekend had the wife help me get it up you can't do it by yourself very easy.
    I place chicken wire over the cattle panel and use the plastic ties got like 150 for $1.00 at the $1.00 store here in town used them all. I also added two wheels to the front where the door is. I did like he said and pulled the tarp over to one side where the rain comes from that also cuts down on the sun and heat. have to figure a way to add one to the back also. All in all it went rather fast took a day to build. that night it rained here 2 1/2" inches the treated lumber I used got wet and the the door was hard to open so I will need to trim it some.
    Before we made that tractor we went to wal-mart and for $35.00 they had a screened in tent we got and used it works out pretty good except when it rains so we put the ducks in it since they like water and don't mind the rain.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2007
  9. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Works for me !


    My hoop coop is four cattle panels (4x20 size) long and 12 feet wide. My husband is 5'10" and can stand upright in it. Although everything is welded, attaching the panels to 2x4s or 2x6s works just as well. It would attach easily to a permanent coop. You can make the base wider for more floor space, but it would lower the height.
  10. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Quote:Click on pix to enlarge...


    Using J-clips to attach wire to cattle panels...


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