Hoop Greenhouse as a Coop?

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
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New Zealand
Hey Guys!

We're getting out of the city next month to move into our new forever home - a 3.18HA block of hilly pasture and native bush. What does this mean? More room for chickens!

We'd previously been on the city cap of 6 hens and no roosters, but I am now very happy that I can keep all 3 little upstarts in my brooder for breeding my own little muffins next season. They're only 3 1/2 weeks old, but I'm already starting integration with a see but don't touch setup in the middle of my current 5mx6m run. Now this run was built very permanent and was due for renovations before we went into lockdown and buying wood became temporarily impossible. I finished about 4 out of 12 panels before I ran out of supplies :( The coop is 'heavy' and will need some dismantling before being moved. It took 3 of us to get just the framing down the hill before we put all the panels and roof on and due to covid, it looks like there'll only be 3 of us to cart it back up the hill :(

So now, we are looking to move - and it's at least a 2 hour drive to the new homestead.

We have an old green tunnel house (looks to be around 10mx3m or so, just eyeballing it) which we've never put up due to our current home being too slopey and I'd thought to use it as a temporary shelter while we moved the main coop, but now, with the prospect of increasing my flock numbers, I'm thinking it may be best as their new permanent coop. (I also want to add turkey and quail at some point and raise meat birds year round so we can get around 1 bird a week)

The new property can get windy - up to 90kph has been recorded onsite, but I don't know if this is the norm. Our current property is much the same in that it can get some pretty brutal gusts, but not all the time.

So I've seen some people using their hoop-houses as mobile structures, being pulled around a paddock with a tractor, and some being permanent, digging them into the ground...
One thing I haven't seen is people using cinder blocks to secure them - would this work? We'll need something we can set up quick just to get them up to the new property, so was thinking this would be the quickest, easiest course of action while we decide how to set it up for the future.

What do you think would be best? A permanent structure, or could I risk going mobile? Would I be able to properly secure it with cinder blocks across the spans and at the corners (we manage to secure a trampoline with cinder blocks at our current house through some brutal storms that have taken out wooden fences in the area) - moving them out when it's time to relocate, or would I be best digging it under and adding sleeper posts or similar over where the spans would be located?

The poly cover is one of those thicker green partially shaded ones, so likely a bit more robust than just straight poly-film.

Predators I'd need to worry about would be hawks, stoats, and rats for the most part. (no big predators here) I could always upgrade over time - adding aviary wire to the lower spans, add a more permanent doorway than the zipper flap ones in currently etc... to fortify things. If not mobile, I'd want to add a run and have the hoop house pretty much permanently open on one side for free access.

I'm going to be using the old raised coop (designed spacious for 6) for a future bachelor flock setup as I only have 6 girls to 3 baby cockerels and want to control the breeding with 'speed-dating' pairings in a separate enclosure. There's plenty of room to spread out onsite and they shouldn't be ready to breed for a few months yet (though one already has quite a singing voice in the morning).

What do you guys think? Any suggestions or words of advice? Has anyone had luck with this sort of setup? I like giving my babies ample space and the polytunnel seems like a good way to provide that upfront without me having to devote heaps of time or materials into getting it up and running quickly. (because buying property in NZ is expensive and I need to learn how to handle the flock of sheep that come with the property too!)
 

3KillerBs

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If you can provide adequate predator-proofing and adequate ventilation to keep it from turning into a rotisserie oven I don't see why it wouldn't work.

I personally wouldn't want to trust any portable structure with high winds.

You'll want to set up the hoop crosswise to the usual storm winds so that they flow smoothly over the structure rather than battering against the end.

Here in the US there are a number of types of hurricane anchors available: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Shelter...nd-Spinnable-Corkscrew-Design-10075/202719050
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
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New Zealand
If you can provide adequate predator-proofing and adequate ventilation to keep it from turning into a rotisserie oven I don't see why it wouldn't work.

I personally wouldn't want to trust any portable structure with high winds.

You'll want to set up the hoop crosswise to the usual storm winds so that they flow smoothly over the structure rather than battering against the end.

Here in the US there are a number of types of hurricane anchors available: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Shelter...nd-Spinnable-Corkscrew-Design-10075/202719050
I didn't even think of corkscrews - good idea! If we set it up in a permanent location, I'd probably dig in some posts with cement, add a wooden boxframe and lash everything together. Corkscrews would give a bit if extra security for day one though. As we add interior structures, I'll make sure everything's lashed down to increase bulk then.

I do plan on having it crosswise to the wind - am still waiting for all my nitty gritty questions to the current owner to be answered, wind situation included (the joys of buying in lockdown and having other people do your site inspections) but there's also a spanframe onsite which I am assuming is crosswind... plus, with the land contours, I have a general idea of where it'll likely be coming from.

The hoop house itself has several meshed windows - 4 on each side which should provide good airflow aside from the door zips. We're in quite a warm climate, so these can likely be left open pretty much year round or selectively closed to warm a particular section of the house when it turns colder, but we're not talking freezing temps. We don't typically get below freezing here.

As mentioned, not too many predators to worry about. Hawks aren't getting through a meshed hoop house and can add aviary wire along the bottom to deter weasels. - if I'm going permanent, might as well do a meshed in 'no dig' border burried around it too. - do you think 2' of skirting would be enough of a deterrent to diggers?
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
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The hoop house itself has several meshed windows - 4 on each side which should provide good airflow aside from the door zips. We're in quite a warm climate, so these can likely be left open pretty much year round or selectively closed to warm a particular section of the house when it turns colder, but we're not talking freezing temps. We don't typically get below freezing here.

I'm in a warm climate too and find that unless I can put a coop into deep, natural shade I need at least double the usual minimum recommended ventilation even without a clear roof. :)

My usual summer weather is 95F(35C), with 95% humidity so I obsess over ventilation.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
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New Zealand
I'm in a warm climate too and find that unless I can put a coop into deep, natural shade I need at least double the usual minimum recommended ventilation even without a clear roof. :)

My usual summer weather is 95F(35C), with 95% humidity so I obsess over ventilation.
Hah, we're quite mild here... I don't think it usually get that high, but there is supposed to be a bit if a microclimate up there and we do have very high humidity - why I want to get a run set up too and leave the doors open for more airflow. Being in NZ, direct sun is a killer, but temps drop off drastically in the shade.

I also like to plant shady shrubs in my runs.

We have one well established kaka beak in their current run which will get cut back and taken with us. - it's about 2-3' tall and has a spread of about 2m. The chickens live in it on most days and it is a great little cover with good airflow. Hope it'll get back to its full glory quickly at the new place, but will probably need to be cloched for a while.

My girls tend to only use their current coop to lay and sleep - I never catch them in there during the day otherwise.
 

Ponypoor

Crowing
May 23, 2021
1,121
6,594
331
Central Ontario, Canada
Hey Guys!

We're getting out of the city next month to move into our new forever home - a 3.18HA block of hilly pasture and native bush. What does this mean? More room for chickens!

We'd previously been on the city cap of 6 hens and no roosters, but I am now very happy that I can keep all 3 little upstarts in my brooder for breeding my own little muffins next season. They're only 3 1/2 weeks old, but I'm already starting integration with a see but don't touch setup in the middle of my current 5mx6m run. Now this run was built very permanent and was due for renovations before we went into lockdown and buying wood became temporarily impossible. I finished about 4 out of 12 panels before I ran out of supplies :( The coop is 'heavy' and will need some dismantling before being moved. It took 3 of us to get just the framing down the hill before we put all the panels and roof on and due to covid, it looks like there'll only be 3 of us to cart it back up the hill :(

So now, we are looking to move - and it's at least a 2 hour drive to the new homestead.

We have an old green tunnel house (looks to be around 10mx3m or so, just eyeballing it) which we've never put up due to our current home being too slopey and I'd thought to use it as a temporary shelter while we moved the main coop, but now, with the prospect of increasing my flock numbers, I'm thinking it may be best as their new permanent coop. (I also want to add turkey and quail at some point and raise meat birds year round so we can get around 1 bird a week)

The new property can get windy - up to 90kph has been recorded onsite, but I don't know if this is the norm. Our current property is much the same in that it can get some pretty brutal gusts, but not all the time.

So I've seen some people using their hoop-houses as mobile structures, being pulled around a paddock with a tractor, and some being permanent, digging them into the ground...
One thing I haven't seen is people using cinder blocks to secure them - would this work? We'll need something we can set up quick just to get them up to the new property, so was thinking this would be the quickest, easiest course of action while we decide how to set it up for the future.

What do you think would be best? A permanent structure, or could I risk going mobile? Would I be able to properly secure it with cinder blocks across the spans and at the corners (we manage to secure a trampoline with cinder blocks at our current house through some brutal storms that have taken out wooden fences in the area) - moving them out when it's time to relocate, or would I be best digging it under and adding sleeper posts or similar over where the spans would be located?

The poly cover is one of those thicker green partially shaded ones, so likely a bit more robust than just straight poly-film.

Predators I'd need to worry about would be hawks, stoats, and rats for the most part. (no big predators here) I could always upgrade over time - adding aviary wire to the lower spans, add a more permanent doorway than the zipper flap ones in currently etc... to fortify things. If not mobile, I'd want to add a run and have the hoop house pretty much permanently open on one side for free access.

I'm going to be using the old raised coop (designed spacious for 6) for a future bachelor flock setup as I only have 6 girls to 3 baby cockerels and want to control the breeding with 'speed-dating' pairings in a separate enclosure. There's plenty of room to spread out onsite and they shouldn't be ready to breed for a few months yet (though one already has quite a singing voice in the morning).

What do you guys think? Any suggestions or words of advice? Has anyone had luck with this sort of setup? I like giving my babies ample space and the polytunnel seems like a good way to provide that upfront without me having to devote heaps of time or materials into getting it up and running quickly. (because buying property in NZ is expensive and I need to learn how to handle the flock of sheep that come with the property too!)
Many use hoop houses as coops here in Canada, very convenient and set up is fast and simple.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
1,847
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New Zealand
Many use hoop houses as coops here in Canada, very convenient and set up is fast and simple.
That's what I'm hoping is a quick setup. Will take it up the day we settle and see if I can get it popped up fast, so we can bring the hens on the next trip and have them out of the way so we can start breaking down the coop and run here. Hoping to have them all integrated by then. 3 weeks left till settlement day!

The little 3 1/2 week old stinkers were out in the run yesterday for about 5 hours or so - have had them out there all day today too in their little pen made of 7 600mm square panels (I love those little portable panels, which I've popped a top on to provide some shade and keep the girls from being naughty.) Thankfully, it's quite warm at the moment and they're already pretty well feathered. The big girls think they are the most interesting thing at the moment.
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
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Jul 26, 2008
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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What do you think would be best? A permanent structure, or could I risk going mobile? Would I be able to properly secure it with cinder blocks across the spans and at the corners (we manage to secure a trampoline with cinder blocks at our current house through some brutal storms that have taken out wooden fences in the area) - moving them out when it's time to relocate, or would I be best digging it under and adding sleeper posts or similar over where the spans would be located?
I think the key with high winds is that everything is TIGHT. So, no flapping of anything.

Yes, weight and tie downs can help, but if you set it up so the wind can't grab at anything, it should be fine.
Predators I'd need to worry about would be hawks, stoats, and rats for the most part. (no big predators here
Rats and stoats I would think you need to spend money on quality strong hardware cloth. Both of those are smart, determined, climb and chew. Also they dig... rats more than stoats,but the stoats will follow the rat tunnels. So, I would make sure you put a wire apron around the coop.

for a future bachelor flock setup as I only have 6 girls to 3 baby cockerels and want to control the breeding with 'speed-dating' pairings in a separate enclosure.
Remember it takes at least 4 weeks for the sperm to clear out
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
1,847
251
New Zealand
Yup.. we've pretty much made rats lose interest in our current setup thanks to treadle feeders and I prefer aviary wire, though it's expensive and I won't be as restrictive on space at the new place, but would like things contained.

I've seen a stoat crossing the road here on its way to the horse fields, but have never found them in our backyard or near our run. I'm sure up north will be different, but we're next to reserve land, so active trapping for rats, possums(the Aus ones) and stoats will be in all the areas bordering us.

I've never had a rat attack any of my birds, though I wouldn't put it past them if the opportunity arises. In the worst of it, they were coming and going in the run as the old skirting had degraded and they were tunneling under. They ignored the chickens and the chicken ignored them. Wish my SLW would eat them like I've seen her snatch up a mouse before. Would really help.

They'll be set up on short pasture away from structures and treelines, so may take some time for predators to find them ... Still trying to decide where from my site pics, but probably won't have a definitive space picked out till we get up there.

We'll see with the wind too - the cover is a manufactured cover, which seems to not be very tight-fitting in general - will definitely be putting blocks over top of the cover skirting and pulling it taunt.

I'm thinking, bury the framing and leave myself just enough head clearance in the centre for a start with blocks over the cover and poles to start.

I'll have a good 4 weeks off work over Christmas as that's our shut-down period, so will probably pull everything up, add some aviary wire to the bottom 900mm of the frame, rebury with cinder blocks in the corners and key span sections, maybe add plywood walls and doors to the entrances. (Though we don't have a farm truck or car with a towbar to haul supplies yet... May be relying on friends for that).

I'm not sure if skirting the run will be feasible depending on how much space they end up with and post-house deposit funding. Property is soooo expensive here! And building materials too! Cheap crap wood can easily run $5-10 a metre and a coil of aviary wire 900mm x 30m, is usually around $200-300 bucks. There's a big housing shortage and lots of new builds running up material costs, but there's a lumber mill nearby, so maybe we can get some gate prices.

I like to keep my runs walk-height with netting over the top, so that will be priority as will setting up the old coop and run as a bachelor pad for our 3 little roos. They're just under 4 weeks, so I've got time to sort that too.

I want turkey at some point too, so trying to future-plan as much as possible. I'm still really tempted to get hatching eggs before the move since they're currently nearby and I could pick-up while we're still in the area. Haven't been able to convince my other half though. He wants to err on the side of caution before I start bringing in other animals. (As there are sheep there we need to figure out how to manage). I want to start raising some chickens specifically for meat, turkey, quail, and get set up for a few goats for next year... Kune kune in there somewhere too. We'll see how we get on.
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
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All sounds good to me.

And I know most places are more restrictive than where I am...

But here you can get good quality building supplies from the construction trash area at the dump. You could also ask at any construction sites for their trash.

Any place that replaces windows should have fogged windows for free.

The boat supply yard has free old net, usually excellent quality for bird runs or garden fence.

Our local tv satellite instalation place generates pallets that they offer to free for whoever wants them.

But yes, usually quality wire you must pay good money for.

You could spend money on a super secure coop and run, that then connects to a much less secure run.
 

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