questions re: pressure treated wood/ materials for coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by swoop, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. swoop

    swoop Out Of The Brooder

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    hi all
    i am new to all this and was wondering if there is any issue using pressure treated wood for a coop - i have raised organic veg. beds and only use untreated wood - my dh is concerned plain wood wont hold up - we have lots of carpenter ants and wood really takes a beating here (even though we live in burbs of nyc). so what is safe in terms of material for a coop - im also assuming that cedar shingle is bad being that fumes from cedar bedding is so toxic to some animals. i am so excited i ordered my first chicks! grateful for any advice.

    thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Cedar shingles or posts are FINE -- cedar is only an issue when you have fresh cedar in an enclosed insufficiently-ventilated indoor area.

    Opinions differ on when/whether to use pressure-treated wood. certainly it is less an issue for chickens than for most other livestock, since chickens do not peck/chew wood.

    Several other often-unappreciated disadvantages of p/t wood are that it costs more, is heavier, is usually crappier lumber (more apt to twist and split), and you MUST use coated or stainless-steel fasteners/hardware.

    Some people use it for any ole thing; others won't use it no matter *what*; most are somewhere in between. Certainly the more p/t wood you use in your coop, the more you are encouraging its manufacture and creating potential disposal problems 'eventually'.

    Personally I use it for ground contact wood -- posts sunk in ground, and grade boards. If you want to avoid p/t, use cedar (or on the west coast possibly redwood) instead, tho they won't necessarily last quite as long.

    I am not sure whether p/t wood has any large advantage over untreated vs carpenter ants (??).

    Another option if you like spending money would be the recycled-plastic stuff like Trex. It is bendier and less strong, and if you want 4x4 posts they're usually special-order only, and is roughly twice the cost of cedar (i.e. potentially about 4x the cost of plain spruce lumber), but pretty rot-resistant and at present believed to be pretty chemically inert.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Tn Gamebirds

    Tn Gamebirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pressure treated wood wont harm your chickens. I've used it all my life to build cages and coops with never a problem.

    Have you ever seen a chicken eat a 2x4??????? [​IMG]
     
  4. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel like a broken record on this subject, but here I go again:

    The names woods are marketed under can be misleading and confusing.

    The kind of cedar that some people say may be toxic to chickens is the kind used for shavings, which is Eastern Red Cedar, or Aromatic Cedar. It's actually not a cedar, it's a juniper - Juniperus virginiana.

    Siding and shingles are made of Western Red Cedar, a different species, Thuja plicata. It's not a true cedar, either, but'll last longer than you will, and like a good wife it's light and stable.

    There won't be a toxicity problem with cedar shingles. Western Red Cedar doesn't give off the fumes that Eastern Cedar does. Besides, shingles don't have nearly as much surface area as shavings do, and they'll probably be sealed for weather protection anyway.


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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  5. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2007
    Ontario
    Years ago when we lived in the city hubby and I built our first veggie garden and we put pressure treated wood around it...like build walls..so kids could not get in and the dogs etc....twas beautiful...$$$$....we were proud...veggies were growing and I was a couple months pregnant with our first child....when we told the gardener from our company we worked for about our beautiful garden ..I think his eyes popped out....he's a graduate of the University of Guelph with alot of credentails ....he told us to remove the treated wood and remove the dirt touching the wood and place it in our perrenial gardens because of all the chemicals that seep into the dirt etc..which the plant roots would touch ..we did...

    and I have noticed that all the school..park play grounds for children have been changed or removed that were built from pressure treated wood...
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    [​IMG] I used pressure treated for my under part of my coops and southern yellow pine for the studs and roosts, and plywood floors, walls, and roof. I primed and painted the outsides. I painted part of the insides and the floor in one of the coops. I used leftover materials, primer and paint from other projects. The key is good and plenty of ventilation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  7. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use pressure treated wood for anything in ground contact. The newer stuff is supposedly less toxic than the old, but the warnings to wear gloves and avoid breathing the sawdust still give me pause.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    BTW for those concerned about stuff leaching out of the wood into surrounding earth (which I suppose could thereby theoretically get into chickens, as they eat bugs and dirt and so forth), putting a coat of pretty much anything on the p/t wood has been shown to radically decrease leaching. So, like, polyurethane, stain, paint, whatever.

    Thanks to Oblio for the correction re: 'cedar' sources, I always forget that [​IMG] and it's an important point.

    Pat
     
  9. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    [​IMG]

    Treated wood is really very good to build a chicken coop with, and if you concern about the chemicals they use for treated lumber, just make sure that you insulate the inside with normal lumber and paint it.

    Omran
     
  10. swoop

    swoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 2, 2009
    nyc
    thank you all so much - so much great info - now at least i feel like i can come up with a plan. [​IMG]
     

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