Need help designing an irregular-shaped covered run

K0k0shka

Songster
Jul 24, 2019
744
1,575
197
Boston Area, MA
That's code depth in my area. You'd have to ask what the code depth is in your area.
Does the code account for differences in the type of structure, or is the depth the same for everything? I’ve been trying to find more specific information online, but all I find is requirements for building houses, retaining walls and other such things... which have got to have different needs than a chicken run, right?
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium member
Jul 23, 2018
14,443
108,910
1,492
Apalachin, NY
My Coop
My Coop
Does the code account for differences in the type of structure, or is the depth the same for everything? I’ve been trying to find more specific information online, but all I find is requirements for building houses, retaining walls and other such things... which have got to have different needs than a chicken run, right?
It has to do with the depth the frost typically penetrates the soil. It has to do with the potential for frost to get under the footers and heave them up.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,648
81,417
1,607
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
@DobieLover one more question for you, since you have wood chips and a covered run (aart's run isn't covered so her situation is different). How does poop decomposition work out in the run if it's kept dry? From what I understand, the idea is to mix the wood chips, poop, grass clippings and other yard scraps and, with the rain water and the birds turning it over, it composts and there's no smell. But what happens when you remove water from the equation? Or will I need to water it?
I was wondering about this too...but I know she's very busy.


That's code depth in my area. You'd have to ask what the code depth is in your area.
When you install the footer you want it flared at the base to resist frost heave.
Probably close to same in MA, but for a run?
I'd go a couple feet ....and the flare is a very good idea.
 

K0k0shka

Songster
Jul 24, 2019
744
1,575
197
Boston Area, MA
I was wondering about this too...but I know she's very busy.
Yeah, I'm very curious and I can't find anything with the search feature, but this isn't urgent so I'll wait.

Probably close to same in MA, but for a run?
I'd go a couple feet ....and the flare is a very good idea.
I just checked, the frost line for MA is 30 inches. Not as bad - wohoo! Still very deep though. Now I understand the reasoning behind it and it makes sense... but damn, that's gonna be a lot of digging! I'm curious to see how deep other people's footings are, just for the run, and how they've held up over time. Hard to find such specific information with the search feature though. Maybe I'll start a new thread to ask...
 

Wee Farmer Sarah

Free Ranging
Oct 8, 2018
2,605
13,823
692
North Central Massachusetts
You might consider hiring a professional fencer to assist. One of the biggest problems in digging holes in New England is the bounty of rocks. I've installed my own fences and sometimes they were easy, but then sometimes after digging down 18 inches you hit a rock the size of a Volkswagen. As for the deck anchors you showed, if you use them a) they will not go through a large boulder and b) they come in two sizes at least, the short one is about 24 inches and I have experienced heaving with the short one and c) once pounded into the ground you will likely not be able to pull them out. Good luck with your run. :)
 

K0k0shka

Songster
Jul 24, 2019
744
1,575
197
Boston Area, MA
You might consider hiring a professional fencer to assist. One of the biggest problems in digging holes in New England is the bounty of rocks. I've installed my own fences and sometimes they were easy, but then sometimes after digging down 18 inches you hit a rock the size of a Volkswagen. As for the deck anchors you showed, if you use them a) they will not go through a large boulder and b) they come in two sizes at least, the short one is about 24 inches and I have experienced heaving with the short one and c) once pounded into the ground you will likely not be able to pull them out. Good luck with your run. :)
Yes, the rocks! I wonder if I can hire somebody to just dig the holes for me... hmm. Trying to keep cost down but this might end up being necessary.
I've given up on the anchors... Holes it is then!
 

Wee Farmer Sarah

Free Ranging
Oct 8, 2018
2,605
13,823
692
North Central Massachusetts
Yes, the rocks! I wonder if I can hire somebody to just dig the holes for me... hmm. Trying to keep cost down but this might end up being necessary.
I've given up on the anchors... Holes it is then!
You could try speaking to a small, local contractor and see if they can help you. The professional installers have specialized equipment that can drill through the boulders.
 

AgnesGray

Songster
Mar 8, 2019
238
817
126
Ohio, US
My Coop
My Coop
I just discovered this amazing-looking back-saver that I can rent from Home Depot!!!
https://www.homedepot.com/tool-truck-rental/1-Man-Auger/M240H/index.html
Wohooo! I won't need to bust myself with a shovel and a hole digger!
I was just going to suggest an auger. We ended up buying on on Amazon for about the same $$. You know... just in case we need to expand down the road. ;)

We're working on our abnormally-shaped run right now as well and doing a tinted polycarbonate roof on some of it. We're also running gutters under the ends of them to feed a rain barrel waterer. It gets tricky when they're not square, but we do what we have to do. I love the design you made!
 

K0k0shka

Songster
Jul 24, 2019
744
1,575
197
Boston Area, MA
I was just going to suggest an auger. We ended up buying on on Amazon for about the same $$. You know... just in case we need to expand down the road. ;)

We're working on our abnormally-shaped run right now as well and doing a tinted polycarbonate roof on some of it. We're also running gutters under the ends of them to feed a rain barrel waterer. It gets tricky when they're not square, but we do what we have to do. I love the design you made!
Thanks! I would love to see your irregular-shaped design/build if you have pictures! I haven't completely given up on the idea of making it an irregular shape, though I admit it will make my life easier if I just do two rectangles instead... Seeing other irregular runs that have worked out would be very useful!

Are you happy with the auger? I'm trying to figure out whether it would be better to buy one as well. I'll have a lot of holes to dig for the chicken run, and in addition to that, we're building grapevine supports (the overhead kind) this spring as well, so that's a whole bunch more holes to be dug, and at the end of the day, it might end up cheaper to buy the auger...
 
Top Bottom