lightweight coop design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by muddstopper, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ran across this today while surfing and thought some of you might find it of interest.
    http://www.simplifiedbuilding.com/pvc/PoultryPen.pdf
    and where to get the parts.
    http://www.simplifiedbuilding.com/pvc_fittings.php

    I dont know if anyone here has tried using pvc for pen and coop design before, but it would seem to me a material that would allow construction of a lightweight tractor for mobility, yet large enough to house several birds without breaking your back everytime you need to move it. It also shouldnt take a lot of power tools to build. A good hacksaw or pvc cutter and some glue and maybe a drill and your set.

    Anyway, I am interested in seeing what you people can do with this construction material and I am makeing plans for myself.
     
  2. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Its been done for a long time, now. It has advantages and disadvantages, as do all things. For example:

    PVC is lightweight and not overly expensive. It can be erected in a short time without a lot of site preparation.
    It is also not very predator proof. It tends to move around too easily if not heavily weighted or staked. It isnt really cheap and it certainly isn't eco-friendly.

    Wanna see some really cool shelters? Visit bobplamondon.com and look up his hoop houses.
    Or check out Harvey Ussery's pasture shelters here:
    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Building+a+Pasture+Shelter.html
     
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We could debate the eco frendly part of your statement considering that most chicken owners are buying geneticly modified feed to feed their birds. Grown using carbon fuel sources to cultivate the fields and sprayed with massive amounts of herbicides and fertilizers that eventually end up in our ground water. Since letting flocks free range is out of the question for a lot of people, the use of a tractor that is light weight enough to be moved everyday or so by the phycially handicaped, that dont have the strength to drag around something that is heavy, the use of light weight PVC would seem to be a even tradeoff to reduce the amount of commercial feed needed to feed a flock. You build a coop and use it for years, you buy feed this week, and next, and next, and next.

    My current setup is quite heavy and built on a skid, and I move it using a 75hp tractor. I was looking for a material that would be quite a bit lighter that would allow me to split my flock into smaller groups and could be moved by hand. After posting this thread, I searched the forum and found several references to coop and runs constructed using PVC. I am planning on constructing something simiar in size to my current tractor and incoporating vinyl siding for the coop part and sytrofoam for insulation and poly carbonate for roofing. Yep, a lot of hydrocarbons and maybe not eco freindly, but I will be growing my own feed and composting the manures, collecting rainwater from the roof, and using solar power for lights and electic fenceing.
     
  4. DarkWolf

    DarkWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'll agree with that. Besides, nothing is ever truly green. Unless you're buying your wood from a river powered saw mill who employs big burly men with huge hand saws.. [​IMG]

    Quote:Would love to see pics. I'm still working out how to best do a smaller tractor for our place. I don't need mega mobile, can just drag it with the riding mower.

    Quote:Translation: "Carbon credits"... [​IMG] You might have a high footprint to start, but the minimal footprint after credits in. Considering a PVC coop will last a lifetime (pending hail or tornado) you'd actually be doing less damage to the environment that way. It's all together possible that a PVC tractor on pressure treated skids will last a good 50+ years if built well.
     
  5. Kmoore

    Kmoore New Egg

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    This is exactly the kind of thing I was sitting down to design...after losing 6 free-range chickens in 6 months to roaming dogs. =/ (Plus losing half my tomatoes last summer to roaming chickens getting over the garden fence!!!) I'm wondering about nest boxes - just put some straw-filled crates in there? Also - we don't have much level ground and I'm wondering if that will be a problem.
     
  6. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Bear in mind, oh pedantic debaters of the world, you cannot escape your "footprint" any way you go. Your actions will have an impact, period. Keep it simple, I say.

    I mentioned only a few of the possible benefits and detractions from the use of PVC... on both sides of the line. I've tried it for a few things, found it wanting and left it behind. Experimentation isn't a bad thing, and it sounds as if you are predisposed to PVC construction already.

    If you are impressed with PVC construction by all means, have at it. You will hardly change the course of human events for giving it a go. I myself would prefer to see you use recycled/renewable construction materials, thus the other links I provided.

    But it is up to you to make up your own mind.
     
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Quote:You may wish to try wing clipping and evaluating your yard set up before building another structure. Even clipped birds can get over a fence if shrubs or other items afford them a perch to leap up from. Don't ask me how I know this!

    Free ranging as a mangement tool is such a misused concept, as you have found out. "Be free, you chickens!..." is nice in the cartoons, but reality is something else.

    You will want to look into some dog deterrents/controls before embarking on any further construction project, PVC or otherwise. Now that the dogs know where a chicken dinner is, they'll come back. A PVC structure is hardly proof against a determined dog.
    This is another one of those, "been there, done that - trust me on this" situations.

    If you go ahead with it, crates with straw will be fine as nests.
    But you will need to stake or otherwise secure your PVC "run" on a slope, as it has a nasty tendency to slide around.
     
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Davidroo, you say keep it simple, yet use words like pedantic.

    pe⋅dan⋅tic   /pəˈdæntɪk/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [puh-dan-tik] Show IPA
    –adjective 1. ostentatious in one's learning.
    2. overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, esp. in teaching.


    Oh well, except for the pedantic remark, you bring up some good points. No matter what we choose to use as a coop material, you will leave a footprint on this planet. And dogs like chicken too. In my situation, my dog keeps other predators at bay. I also believe my dog would kill a chicken if given a chance. I often take her into the run with me just to observe her behavior and I dont trust her alone with the birds. Still she doesnt try to get in the pen and has now gotten used to the birds being around. My biggest concern would probably be the wind. I have already had to replace the plastic on my green house, and its got another big tear in it now. I theroize that concrete filled wheels would provide sufficient weight to prevent the coop/run design from blowing over, without making the thing to hard to tow around. And depending on whether its needed, One could use timber skids to mount the whole thing on. My concern is keep it light enough to move, but heavy enough so as to not blow away.
     
  9. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Quote:...after reading that long list of concerns, I think you see why I suggest keeping it simple. But it sounds like you are on your way to sorting out your problem. I like the notion of cement wheels. That has real possibilites.
    ============================================
    BTW, a basic word like 'pedantic' doesn't make a thing more complicated. Truth is, the use of one word where ten might be used seems a good bit simpler, to me.
     

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