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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lpyrbby, Apr 16, 2016.
Both look great!
I've found that the whole "pen" becomes the coop and all you need to provide are the roosts and the nesting boxes. We haven't roofed ours yet with a permanent roof - silver, metal tin has been ruled out though because of how hot it gets under it here in NC. I've had tin roofed sheds and barns and didn't like them. I don't feel that I've needed an actual enclosed smaller area for them - yet.
There are quite a few different designs for the hoop coops. For us, we found that the cattle panels were cheaper and easier to work with than the pvc pipe. I've now done 3 different style backs to the hoop coops that we built and we have some new ideas we want to try out. Our originals were built in a hurry - using things we had on hand due to moving when we weren't expecting to.
Our 3 hoop coop "tractors" (HEAVY - especially the one built from 2x6) have survived two winters and 2 property moves going 7 miles on the first move and 25 on the 2nd - 2 on a flat bed trailer and 1 balanced on the 8' bed of a truck. The birds kept in the tarp roofed and backed hoop coops did better than the ones kept in a wooden coop when the temps dropped to the single digits in both 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. We are in the process of taking out the lower parts of the wood coop (bare ground - DLM used with leaves, pine straw & grass clippings) now and putting hardware cloth on it for extra ventilation and to match what we have going on with the hoop coops.
Here are some pics of our "hoops". The 2 pullets in the back right are BAs, the PVC pipe above them was the roost at the time. The small chicks on the left are actually in a dog Xpen covered in chicken wire. The blue bucket on the front of this pen can have the lid put on the front and the rear/bottom of the bucket removed - making a tunnel door for the chickens to get in/out of. Maybe not as pretty as a traditional door, but a great way to use either free buckets (from a local deli/bakery) or to reuse ones that have split when frozen w/ water in them over the winter. We just used chicken wire and have had no predator problems at any of the places we've been. Soon, I will have 2 buckets in the 2x4 square to the left of the door - they will be the nesting boxes. My hens all seem to like to lay closer to the ground and I never get nests used that are above the ground.
I did find that between the barn and the pony wagon and the 2 horse trailers, the wind was channeled, so I used feed bags (reusing what I can) stitched together in a line and then attached like a tarp to the bottom of the pen. That kept the birds comfy and everyone seemed happy - even when we had all that ice in January. I don't have any pics, but also have the roost itself blocked from the wind. Now that the chicks are mature, we need to add a "real" roost of 2x4. We now have a hanging waterer next to the hanging feeder. Instead of the heat lamp, we will use a MHP for the next batch of chicks.
In this one, the blue bucket (upright) is holding water (just a feed pan waterer for now). The red bucket w/ lid - holds 1/2 a bag of feed which I then pour into another bucket feeder for them. Eventually the bucket will have the PVC elbows to eat directly from them & the blue one will be a hanging nipple waterer, but haven't done those projects yet. The roosts are now above the bottoms of the tarps. The chickens in these two coops, after going out to free range in the AM, were the ones that were decimated. Out of 12 pullets & 9 roosters, I have 2 pullets and 3 roosters left now. I kept them locked up in these hoop coops for a while - they weren't happy and neither was I. They are back to free ranging during the day. The two older pullets and the young chicks in the hoop by the barn - never bothered.
I haven't had any problems with predators IN our pony pasture (where these coops are) messing with the coops but have once the chickens were free ranging. I had some starving "neighbor" dogs (not from any of the homes directly on our private road) dig under our perimeter fencing - chasing and mutilating birds they caught w/o eating them. I chased the dogs off when I caught them trying to dig in again (didn't have a gun on me - headed to town to meet my family for a family breakfast after they got off the "grave yard" shifts at their jobs). We have 7 acres perimeter fenced and 21 acres total. Our dogs will dig out of the pasture if I leave them in it... Right now our perimeter fence is not hot wired, but will be eventually.
You stated that you are filling holes? Too funny - the birds will dig more! Even after you get your DLM built up (if that is what you are doing). Some of mine dig more than others. Haven't figured it out yet, LOL. I would let your new chicks do the roto tilling. They LOVE doing that and they do a GREAT Job. If you do a hoop coop you can move, they can do it in sections for you - doing better and digging deeper as they mature.
I can't wait to see your finished design and what you do with your hoop coop. On BYC, there are a couple that I really like and they are featured on the BYC Coops pages.
I agree with not having them enclosed, I turned my hoop coop into a pig house for this summer so have to build a different one, I currently only use hoop coop for meat birds and layers are in the shed coop, if I ever move (hopefully) to a bigger place with some good pasture area I'm going to get one of those all metal carports you can buy for like 3 grand and get it large enough so one end is a chicken coop and the other is a pig house and then I'll be able to just use my tractor to clean it out. My next hoop coop will have a means of either easily lifting with the tractor to move our else a wheel system so I can just pull it away and leave the mess to scrape up or till in. I am considering going with angle iron frame and welding it all together as well
Husband wanted to use PVC to begin with. He actually wanted to harvest things from our inherited coop, but I know PVC can tend to respond negatively to the sun (and being in the south, we get plenty!) Once I showed him the plans for the cattle panel coop, he relented. I really do think it was a better choice overall. We're going to test out the metal roof (only on half the whole pen). He's going to set the nest boxes outside of the back wall for easier access for collection. I've been researching brooder box and roost ideas to try to figure out how we're going to handle that. I really want a special section in the pen for newbies or broody mamas (I'd like to have some hatched babies <3 )
I've suggested the tarps to him, but he's against it. I'm willing to see how the metal functions in our chosen location, and we'll go from there. We aren't planning to really close off a "house" portion for them. It'll be a coop/run combo that they can come and go as they please (which will be useful since I'm kinda lazy and don't want them squalling because I wanted another 30 mins of sleep on the weekends lol). I really like that bucket passage way idea!
I also like these panels so much that we'll probably use them for when we get ready to add other livestock (goats, donkeys, horses?). We can easily make a "run-thru" type enclosure for them. I also would really like to get my property fence up before I let the birds roam the land while we're out. I know it won't serve to contain them, but it'll be nice to have an extra barrier between them and the roaming dogs and other ground critters out here.
We're optimistic to get back to building tomorrow. We still have to put the back wall on (plywood), cut a hole for the nest boxes, put on the roof, and build out the door. I was REALLY hoping we'd be done with it this weekend, but it's not looking possible. I'm dying to go pick up some pullets (with maybe a rooster or two) from a lady nearby who has several of the birds we wanted to start with.
I'll post back with photos when we have more to share! I'm so ready!
With livestock panel hoop houses, do you overlap the panels or butt the edges together?
I've looked at a bunch of them and never saw that detail....so thought I'd ask here.
I'll take some photos tomorrow, for reference. The cheaper panels at TSC are 16' x 50" so he overlapped them by one rectangle (about 2") and used galvanized wire to secure them to one another. It may be overkill, but...they're gonna stay put! Doing that brings the width of the panels down to 16' x 4' which means with the 4 of them, we'll have 16' of length. What I wish we would have known more on is that the hoops will only be tall enough for tall people if you do a 6' width. Since we went with an 8' width, I can only walk down the center of the coop and not have to duck (I'm 5'9"). If we had gone with a 6' width, I would have plenty of clearance in the coop. It'll work though, I'll just have to be mindful of where I stoop down LOL
The photos will help. Husband requested and chalk line so he could get centered on the bottom wood frame and keep the panels straight. I think he used the fence post staples and hammered them into the boards while they laid flat. Then to get them righted, with the panels on the inside of the frame, he tied one of the frame boards off to a nearby tree and a cinder block, to keep that side in one spot, and used his truck to pull the hoop over itself lol. It hooped right up
If you're worried about losing floor space, maybe add another panel length (4')? Or, if you're good with having a center post, you could always use some extra plywood at the base to help give it the height. It would need some more bracing, I think, but not impossible.
Something else I'm thinking about is making a "free-standing" roost. Since we are going to be putting the nest box on the only solid wall of the coop, I've been trying to figure out how to manage roosts as well as add the coop brooder section. I came across an image of a 4x4 in the ground with smaller posts jutting out from each of the 4 sides at varying heights. Since we're putting hardware cloth on the ground for a coop base, I'd rather have something that doesn't have to be buried.
I was thinking to just attach roosts to the panels.
Will your hoop coop be mobile?