Need help with coop very confused!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by llamagirl, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. llamagirl

    llamagirl Out Of The Brooder

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    I will not be getting chicks until the middle of May so I have time to build a Chicken Tractor. I am not a carpenter but, I do have a neighbor who is and he is advising me. I want to move the chickens around with my llamas in hopes that the llamas will add some protection. I have all sorts of pedators here from fox, hawks, possums, raccoons and an occassional coyote. I research BYC everyday for hours on this subject. The problem is making it lightweight enough for me to move by myself on very steep hillsides but sturdy enough for winter. (Maybe I can't have both?)

    Here are my thoughts:
    1.I want to build a modified Chick-N-Barn something I can also keep them in for the winter. I have viewed the ones on BYC including the modified Teacup Pterodactyl Townhouse (which I love). I will only have 3 to 4 standard chickens.

    2.I was thinking to build the frame out of 2"x2"s and build the structure 4'x4' and approximately 40 inches high cutting the front and back from a sheet of plywood like the original, the additional 8 inches would be for the cupola. Put 1/4 inch Luan plywood on the inside, insulation in the middle and 1/4 inch Luan on the outside. I'll cover the outside piece with some pieces of levelor blind material. (plastic cutoffs from my blinds, I hated to waste them.Each one is 3 1/2" wide. Thought I could make it look like siding and protect the wood at the same time.)

    3.The cupola would be vented like the original Chick-N-Barn, the sides would lift up (hinged) for cleaning and I would like to work out a system to use those sides to help vent as well. Maybe putting in a framed screen when the lids were up ( that would latch and I could take them in and out.) The lids would be on a chain that I could pull them up as far as I wanted to.
    (I listen to you Patandchickens)

    4.I would like to add on a 24 inch wide nest box on the back that would also lift up. (divided into 2 nest boxes) Not sure about the dimensions here but I know I need 12x12x12 for each one.

    5.Roofing material would be Ondura (got it cheap because it was damaged)

    6. Roost might be hung on a chain so that it would remain level even if the tractor was on a hill.

    I'll talk about the wheel assembly and run in another post.

    What do ya'll think? Please give me suggestions or concerns because I don't want to waste materials once I get started.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  2. jonesgirl

    jonesgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe you can build a stationary "hen house" and pull the tractor back to the house every night... That way they stay secure when pests are on the prowl...
     
  3. DarkWolf

    DarkWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In terms of keeping it light. Have you considered using hoops instead of 2x material to save weight?

    Be alot like this for the "run" part of the tractor.

    [​IMG]

    My thought on that would be to use the plastic water pipe that comes in coils for the hoops and a stiff PVC pipe for the top support.

    Have the hardware cloth attached with twisted wire to this plastic, and have it go over, under and around the whole thing to keep any predators from getting in.

    I've got plans to tractor mine around, but it will only be dawn to dusk, returning them to the stationary coop each night.

    Really? Dragging anything like the Pterodactyl Townhouse around would blow my mind.. And the thought of you using 4x4 lumber doesn't scream light weight.. Doesn't even whisper it.. [​IMG]

    So my vote is with jonesgirl.
     
  4. llamagirl

    llamagirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Darkwolf, I am making the run out of hoops but, still want the coop a little more substantial for winter. Thanks.[​IMG]

    Jonesgirl, that is a good idea and would be my second option. [​IMG]
     
  5. llamagirl

    llamagirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Darkwolf, is the bottom of your hoop run pvc also? Does it not blow over?[​IMG]
    Also, how do you have it attached on the top?[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I am a bit mystified how you're going to keep them fixed in place properly (overlapping top to bottom, remember, so as to protect the wood rather than accelerate its rot!) -- remember real siding has special fittings and trim designed to cover up the corners etc -- and would suggest putting together a mock-up sample on some scrap something before actually applying to the real coop.

    6. Roost might be hung on a chain so that it would remain level even if the tractor was on a hill.

    They often don't like to use wibbly roosts that are hung, rather than permanently affixed.

    The dimensions and overall design sound reasonable for 4 chickens - a fixed permanent coop for winter use would be a lot better IMHO but you should be able to get this to work more or less - but I am concerned about not just the weight but the 'steep hills' thing you mention. At the very least, I would suggest going to a table of materials weights and actually adding up what your plans will total (and then add 10-20% error margin), and see if that sounds plausible for you to move. And then think hard about tippability and the unlevelness issue.

    The ideal solution to my mind (but it might not suit your situation) would be to have a summer tractor, the coop fairly short ( 3' or less) and detachable from the run, and have separate winter quarters for them (perhaps in the corner of a barn or shed or garage, with a small attached run well-protected from the elements).

    If that is not feasible, making the run separate from the coop would still be worthwhile I think, and you will jsut have to do the best you can with the coop in terms of weight and suitability to 'steep hills' (really not a situation where layer-style tractors work well, honestly) and hope for the best.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  7. DarkWolf

    DarkWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I don't have it built yet.. The above was an example..

    My plan is to lay 2x4's down and lap cut them in the corners, using a nice dose of Gorilla Glue and screws to hold it together and square.

    Then holes will be drilled along the flat base to allow the tubing to be slipped into, secured with a single screw each to keep them in the holes.

    Since you're wanting light weight, you could do the "coop" section framing in 2x2 material with some ply bracing on the inside to keep it square and then use material like coropast to sheet it.. Just seal the ends of the coroplast and it will be self insulating.

    Often times you can get coroplast for free since it's used extensively as advertising backer.

    Easy as crud to find during any local elections. [​IMG]
     
  8. llamagirl

    llamagirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks patandchickens! I still have a lot to consider. I was debating on putting Thompson Waterseal perhaps on LUAN but thought since it is LUAN it might not be necessary with the plastic strips. I know you are right about real vinyl siding having the strips
    that you attach it to etc.
    Didn't know about the roost needing to be fixxed so, that helps me. I also like your idea of adding up the weight prior to the project duh! that makes a lot of sense.
    I was going to make the run detachable in some way. I may have to go back to the drawing board with this whole project but, I still like the Chick-N-Barn. It may turn into a permanent structure now with another type of tractor to move around the property. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  9. llamagirl

    llamagirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2009
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    Oh, so that's what coroplast is...election signs.[​IMG]
    Thanks for the tractor advice, Darkwolf.[​IMG]
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Any plywood, lauan or otherwise, will disintegrate fairly fast when wet (although exterior grade will last longer, the glue being waterproof [the thin plies of wood still rot away, tho] and pressure-treated lasting longest). Because of the natural vulnerability of plywood to dampness, I would for SURE prime and paint under any additional siding you put on, unless you are really quite positive that no moisture will get behind the siding at all.

    It may turn into a permanent structure now with another type of tractor to move around the property. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    For a really hilly property, if you could deal with just having a 'day tractor' that would probably be ideal, b/c it's much easier to build one for those conditions if it doesn't have to be night-safe. Or even if it could be a 24-hr-but-only-summertime tractor, that would somewhat simplify things.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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