Materials question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Fenika, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 25, 2010
    Okay, I went to Lowes today and have some questions:

    1. Hardware cloth. All the 1/2x1/2 inch was 20 or 19 gauge. Don't I need 16? What's up with that? The 1/2 x 1 inch stuff (bunny fence) looked to be about 16 or 14 gauge but didn't say what gauge.

    2. Plywood- the 1/4" thickness was MUCH lighter than the .3 stuff. It looked sturdy enough that a fox wasn't going to scratch or karate kick a hole in it. Any problems with 1/4" aside from maybe warping?

    3. Wood braces- the 2x2 pine looked good for most my needs. Is there a better choice than pine? I know I read something around here but now I've lost it.

    4. Primer/finish- I did a search and found some suggestions for painting everything at the end, but does anyone else want to weigh in on this? I am keeping my eyes open for freebies but there's enough on sale right now that I can afford to buy if I must. I'm guessing the 5+ year old stuff in the closet isn't going to cut it, or can I try it on a piece of scrap wood and see how it dries?

    5. The nice employee gave me the idea of lining the inside of the rafters with heavy duty plastic to save on cost and weight. There is one area by the roosts they could reach though. I'm thinking maybe a bit of old tarp instead? Any other ideas for a light but insulated roof? I'm thinking a metal top to reflect the sun. (North Carolina- so heat is the big concern.)

    Any random suggestions? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    3. Are you building a coop you can walk in? Usually 2x4's are needed, or more, depending on what the roof/base is. Or are you planning one of those 3' or 4' tall cops? I would think carefully about doing that in a warm climate. Down here they really don't need anything but a roof and a good windbreak around the roosting area. You might check out some warm weather coop threads; lots of wonderful ideas.

    4. The five year old stuff in the closet is fine if it's still liquid and can be mixed and maybe thinned. Just depends how much it dried out; that's the only thing that goes bad about paint.

    5. I have a metal roof with no insulation or condensation barrier. One day in two years, it got wet in there from condensation. They go in there when it's 100 degrees for the shade and breeze; on really bad days I hose the roof off. I have about 1/4 of the walls made of wire so there is plenty of breeze. In really cold weather, I sometimes put some plastic over some of the wire to cut down on the cold air movement.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2010
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Dawn, for the answers and the link [​IMG]

    To answer your question in #3- I was originally planning a tractor-coop (no solid floor) with thin walls up to 4 feet, then screen. 6' in the front, 4' in the back. So something I could walk in while stooping (I'm 5'10"). However, even though I think I could do this, I'm starting to rethink it. Again. Argh. But I'm still trying to plan things out.

    Plus your reply and link gave me some more ideas to kick around [​IMG]
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Nothing wrong with that! Much better to build what will be acceptable to you for a long time than start over. Spoken with the voice of experience and several different flocks in different locations over the years.

    Things I will not do without:

    A coop the size of a small shed with people-sized ceiling height
    Room to store feed and litter in the coop (metal garbage can works great for feed, lasts for years, rat proof)
    Large areas of wire walls for ample breeze in the summer (easy to cover with clear plastic for the little bit of winter we get here.) My coop has a corner with solid walls on two sides where the roosts are, so I didn't even bother with the plastic last year, as winter never got very bad. They don't care if it's cold, they have nice warm down coats under those feathers. It's just the toes and combs. I've never seen a frostbitten comb or toe because there is so much air flow in there, and they can sit on their feet because I have wide roosts.

    It costs little more to build an 8'x8' coop than a 4x8, and wastes less materials.

    Truth is, the easiest floor to take care of is dirt. I've never had any other kind. It's not that hard to lay a barrier over the ground along the outside, say 2' out, to prevent critters from digging under. The poop eventually dries and turns to powder and becomes part of the dirt. If you want the poop for your garden, over half their poop is left at night, so a poop board or tray solves that quite simply. I don't even worry about predators, I have trained the dogs to leave the chickens alone (the chickens train the cats to leave them alone) and the dogs keep the foxes, etc. away. I have a beautiful large fenced chicken yard, maybe 60'x80', but I have gone back to free range; my 18 birds have cleaned the fenced yard out of all grasses.

    BTW, I see nothing wrong with 1/4" plywood. I used metal because we already had it, for roof and what walls there are.
     
  6. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for another detailed post [​IMG]

    I'm considering building my 6x6 tractor coop, but with no plywood sides. It can be a non-winter coop (or converted with plastic, as you mention) and I can use it down the line for overflow and a broody area and whatnot. It never hurts to have a nice tractor around [​IMG]

    What type/thickness of plastic do you use?
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:Could be a great thing to have. It's always handy to have a place to isolate a chicken, for one thing. They do better when just about anything happens to them, if they can rest, be safe from pecking, etc. I have a chicken wire room inside my coop, and have used it several times, but I have a large coop, something like 12'x14'.

    We buy the plastic in rolls at Home Depot or Lowe's for other things around here. It's a lot of plastic, about 9' or 12' wide and many feet long, something like $30. I think it's 3 or 4 mils, fairly substantial stuff as plastic goes. In a pinch you could probably use heavier garbage (lawn/leaf or contractor's) bags.
     

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