Preparing My Pre-Fab Coop? (Wood Treatment & Pavers)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by OhThePlaces, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    Apr 9, 2012
    Hi everyone! My husband and I are brand new to the world of chickens... we just purchased our first three bantam chicks earlier this week.

    We also purchased a pre-fab coop. Thankfully we found it locally and only paid $200. http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog...ursquare-Coop-with-Run-3-4-chickens-p720.aspx

    I've read through this forum and realize that this coop isn't ideal, but I'm hopeful that it will fit our needs well. We live in the 'burbs, so we needed something that is visually pleasing, small in stature, and the price was right. The description says that it can hold up to 4 standard-size chickens, but looking at it's size, I couldn't imagine them piling in there, so that's why we chose 3 bantams.

    Anyway, a couple of questions!

    Before we assemble it, we're wondering if we should treat the wood? I believe it's made of cedar and the decription says that a "non-toxic wood sealer" has been used. Is that enough? If we should treat it with something, does anyone have a safe and effective recommendation?

    I've been trying to do a search, but haven't come up with much... We're wondering if, instead of digging a trench and burying hardware cloth underneith, would using pavers be a bad idea? How would that work, could we make a little paver-patio under and a foot or so surrounding the coop? Would we want to still place hardware cloth under the pavers? Would this effectively keep predators from digging under? We live in a neighborhood and have a 6 foot privacy fence, so I'm mostly worried about cats, raccoons and maybe possoms.

    I apologize if I sound totally clueless, it's because I am! I just want to figure all of this out and provide a safe home for our babies once they're ready to go outside.

    TIA!! :)
     
  2. Leahs Mom

    Leahs Mom Chicken Obsessed

    10,291
    2,403
    421
    Feb 9, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    I am also working on finishing up some details on our hen house. I have this great idea to paint a few surfaces - like the newly made nest boxes - for the purpose of ease of cleaning so I'll be watching for answers on this too with one more thing I'd like to hear from folks:

    Would regular alkyd or acrylic paint be toxic to use on the wood?
     
  3. joan1708

    joan1708 Chillin' With My Peeps

    797
    23
    156
    May 14, 2011
    DFW - mid cities, Tx
    paver-patio sounds good. probably would want hardware cloth at least partway under the pavers, and secured with stakes. Would make sure each paver is heavy enough that predators can't move them out of the way. Make sure doors are strong enough, latches are complex enough that predators can't open them, feed is only available to chickens (unavailable to predators/rats/mice).
     
  4. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

    76
    1
    29
    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    I'll venture some answers here.

    1. As to wood protectants, what they used was probably a water seal, similar to Thompson's water seal. These protectants generally do two things; help the wood shed water and slows UV deterioration. While cedar wood is weather resistant, it is not weather proof and that is why they seal the wood, to extend the life. Water creates all kinds of problems in wood and will eventually lead to rot, even in cedar. UV light's effect on wood can be seen as it slowly turns gray. Most sealants block some UV to extend the new look of the cedar wood. If you want additional sealant it won't hurt anything, but it probably won't help that much if the wood was sealed at the factory. The most benefit comes when you use something like Thompson's water seal in about a year, when the factory applied sealant starts to break down and fail. All sealants break down with time and exposure. If you are not trying to preserve the natural wood look, then paint with an exterior rated paint, there are numerous ones at the hardware/lumber stores (aka big boy toy stores). Just ask the paint department help and usually they will steer you to a good exterior quality paint.

    2. As to fortifying your run, that depends on how you manage your chooks. If they are locked inside the coop each and every night, then fortifying the run won't provide much protection, as most digging predators roam at night, the notable exception being dogs. If your chooks will not be secured in the coop each night (I see your coop has that ability) then you should consider fortifying the run to deter diggers.

    Just my 2 cents worth. HTH!
     
  5. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

    76
    1
    29
    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    Either Alkyd or Acrylic are good, as both are inert once they have dried. Note, they can be toxic before they have dried. Consider this, paints available to consumers are good for use on a child's crib, so I'm gonna venture a guess here that they could be used on a chicken coop without any concern about toxicity. (remember back to kindergarten, while the weird kid in class would eat glue? Yetch! I can't help but wonder what ever happened to him. While building my chicken tractor I discovered my chooks love wet glue, back in the brooder they went!)

    One thing I would suggest is to use a good quality exterior grade paint, alkyd based or acrylic, that is semi-gloss, and not flat finish. The semi-gloss is easier to clean than is flat paint. IF you can find gloss exterior then I would use it, but most exterior gloss finishes are limited to trim paints available in the quart sizes and not found often in the gallon sizes.

    HTH!
     
  6. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    Apr 9, 2012
    Thank you so much for your replies! I talked it over with my husband and he agrees with the advice to leave the wood alone for now since it's already been treated at the factory, and then in a year or so we'll treat it with a water seal and/or paint it with a semi-gloss.

    As for the coop and run's foundation: My husband and 3 year old made a trip to Home Depot this morning and picked up large cement pavers (they are each 1 square foot in size and almost 2 inches thick). He also picked up several bags of the gravel and sand to lay down under the pavers in order to level/settle the ground. Although he didn't pick up hardware cloth, the pavers will extend several inches around the coop and I feel confident that they'll be safe from digging predators in our suburban neighborhood. Oh and we do plan to close their coop at night.

    Here comes my next question though.... How the heck are we supposed to secure the coop to the concrete pavers?? It didn't occur to me until he began digging the area out. Again, here's the photo of our coop: http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog...ursquare-Coop-with-Run-3-4-chickens-p720.aspx Is it going to be heavy enough that we don't need to worry about it being blown or knocked over off the cement? Is there some way to secure it that I'm totally missing? Totally clueless here! [​IMG]
     
  7. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

    76
    1
    29
    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    On the paint, use semi-gloss or gloss only on those surfaces you intend to clean often. Otherwise go with the standard exterior flat, eggshell or satin finish. The reason I had suggested a semi-gloss or gloss finish was that she wanted to make the nest boxes easier to clean. Flat paint holds stains and is not as easy as a semigloss for cleaning.

    The chances of that coop sliding off the pavers is pretty remote. If you are worried (I, personally, wouldn't) then you could anchor each side to a paver with a Tapcon type screw (Home Depot and Lowes, look in the hardware section). These are made to bite into the concrete. The only difficult part is that you will need a concrete bit to drill the pilot hole into the concrete blocks before setting the screw. The method would be 1) drill the pilot hole through the base plate of the coop with a wood bit, stopping at the concrete; 2) switch to a masonry bit and finish the pilot hole into the concrete block, making sure the hole is deeper than the screw is long; 3) switch to the bit needed to drive the Tapcon screw (they vary) and drive the screw through the wood into the pilot hole in the concrete block. Note that you do not need to set the screw tight into the wood. You only need to secure it into the concrete block as you are trying to keep it from sliding off the block, and not lift off the block. If you get winds great enough to lift that coop off the blocks you are going to have too many other concerns to worry about the coop. I wouldn't anchor the coop's base plate to each paver, as that is a bit overkill. I'd just secure each side to a paver. Again, I don't believe this is needed, but could provide peace of mind if you are concerned about it. These screws are a bit brittle, so if one breaks off while driving it in just start another instead.

    HTH!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by