hoop house using electrical conduit?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TheMatador, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. TheMatador

    TheMatador Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2009
    Upstate, NY
    Hi All,
    Does anyone have experience with building structures with electrical conduit? I've heard it suggested as an alternative to PVC as it is freeze hearty and can be left up all year. I'm interested in constructing a "sunroom" off of the coop to collect a bit of heat during the day and a freestanding greenhouse if all works out well.
     
  2. loonie

    loonie New Egg

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    Jul 21, 2009
    Victoria BC Canada
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  3. BayMinetteChickenMom

    BayMinetteChickenMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2009
    I never made a chicken coop out of electrical conduit, but I did make a medieval pavilion framework out of it. It works fine, is easy to put together, and can be bent into curves as well. Just expect some funny looks and muttered asides from wherever you buy it from. The easiest thing to do is have it cut to length when you purchase it.
     
  4. Poultra

    Poultra Out Of The Brooder

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    May 26, 2008
    Greetings, fellow upstate New Yorker! While I don't have experience with building any hoop house yet (it's on my list of things to do), I do have a concern about using bare metal around birds in wintertime. It's been said to not use bare wire to hold up feeders for wild birds as they can end up touching it with their eyes and they pull their eyeballs out trying to get unstuck. (I know that's [​IMG] , sorry, but apparently it has happened.) While we all love our chickens, otherwise we wouldn't be here on BYC, we also know that that they aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. If you go ahead with it, I would recommend coating the metal with that Plasti-Dip stuff or painting it or something.

    Just my thoughts. Please post pics of your structure when done, I'd love to see how it turns out!
    Katie
     
  5. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Columbus,IN
    Quote:Thank you for posting this .. I was planning to pick up PVC today to start my tractors.. But after seeing this and checking prices, I am going with the electrical conduit.. Here fro the frame is only about $18.00 much cheaper then the pvc..
     
  6. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Your kidding right???? My waterer's are metal, my feeders are metal, my wire is metal..... That's a new one to me.
     
  7. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are you referring to metal conduit or the grey electrical conduit??? The grey plastic is UV resistant and should bend like regular PVC.

    I can't imagine how you would bend the metal conduit. I suppose you could construct a wooden buck to pull the pipe around. Think of a U made of wood blocks screwed to a sheet of plywood (or more sheets depending on the size of the hoop.) You secure the one end to the buck and pull it around the blocks to get your shape.
     
  8. MiniBeesKnees

    MiniBeesKnees Chillin' With My Peeps

    Electrical Conduit is one of my very favorite things. I use the half inch, and I bought a conduit bender, and better than a hacksaw...a pipe cutter. A hacksaw leaves burrs on cut pipe, but the pipe cutter makes a clean cut. If you are going to use conduit connectors they require a clean cut. I've made a whole bunch of what I call fence panels. I make them out of two lengths of conduit, and two straight connectors, and a piece of welded wire fence. I put them together with those zip strips. In the sun, the black ones last longer than the white ones do. You also need a screwdriver for the connectors, and a pair of wire cutters for the fencing.

    I measure in three feet from each end and mark that...then make a ninety degree bend there. The hardest part is making the second bend (you want to be making a U shape out of one length..they are joined in the middle of the panel on the top and the bottom) exactly parallel with the first one. I use a bungee cord to hold the bent side vertical to a fence post when I make the second bend. You attach the two U shaped pieces together. That makes a panel six and a half feet by exactly four feet...so a roll of standard welded wire four feet fits exactly. I cut off a piece six and a half feet long and attach it to the conduit with the zippy things.

    I love these things so much when I moved from Florida to Tennessee...I took down the fence I'd made with them and moved it. Six or eight of them formed in a circle makes a great temporary dog pen. Leave two panels not connected...I use two bungees to close that 'gate'. Formed in a circle they will stand up without posts. I made my fence in Florida by cutting one conduit in half to make two five foot poles...and drove them into the ground two feet...and placed them where two panels came together. This was easy in Florida because the ground is pure sand where I lived. I'd use zippy ties to hold the two panels, and the pole that stuck out of the ground three feet together.

    Since each panel is six and a half feet...four of them make a square that two more panels will make a slanted A roof. Attach a panel to each of two sides, then zip them together where they come together at the top. Since the two are a total of eight feet wide, and the pen is six and a half feet...you create an A so that water...or snow...will not collect. An 8 x 10 tarp covers the roof panels. If you just use a flat panel on top and cover that with a tarp, it collects rain water and will collapse...ask me why I know that.

    I buy the conduit and the connectors at any big box building supply place. Conduit is about two bucks each, and I buy a big box of connectors...fifty I think...for less then twenty bucks. I buy zippy thingies at a local electrical supply place. Rather than look at me funny...they all stood around taking notes on how I made the fence panels and thought the idea rather good. I buy the shorter lengths...six or seven inch ones...a thousand at a time, and the longer ones...14 inches...five hundred at a time. Each of those amounts cost me about 25 bucks. The electric place thought the idea so novel, they gave me a contractor's discount.

    I've also made panels eleven and a half feet by four feet by using one conduit cut in half...and four connectors to a panel. They have less strength on the long side but are good for holding my dogs in...but I have Pugs and Chihuahuas. To hold chickens in I constantly take the panels apart, and reconfigure them. I've used them both vertically (so you can walk around inside a covered pen) and horizontally. Panels placed in a circle generally don't require poles...it just stands there...but square or rectangular ones do need support. Right now I have panels placed so they are six and a half feet high and uncovered for my run. As soon as the weather is nicer, I'll take it apart and make it four feet high since I discovered that chickens can fly up well over six feet anyway...ask me how I know that. I'll be building six breeding pens and when there are babies in there...I'll 'line' the six and a half foot pen with that green plastic fencing with half inch holes so that they can't get out.

    The hardest part was figuring out how to make panels exactly four feet high. If I want shorter (length) panels, I cut off part of the straight parts after I make the U because conduit is cheap. If you cut off a foot from the straight parts of one of the U pieces...then the panel will be five and a half feet wide...one foot off both U pieces will make one four and a half feet...etc. They are amazingly sturdy and can be made by a 65 year old woman without a lot of strength in her hands. They don't weigh much, and are easy to move around.

    Hope this provides a little helpful information.
    Terry in Tennessee
     
  9. MiniBeesKnees

    MiniBeesKnees Chillin' With My Peeps

    I bought my conduit bender in Home Depot some eight years ago and it was 25-30 bucks. Make sure to buy one that fits the size of the conduit you plan to use. Oh, and a square pen using only four panels does not need support either.
     
  10. omelay

    omelay Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 13, 2010
    SW Missouri

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