Building the Chicken McMansion (Part 3) https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=283812 One of the design goals for this project was to install a rainwater collection system to help ensure a steady supply of water for the chooks as well as to provide rinse water in the run for cleaning. I have a rainwater collection system on my shop that fills four barrels to water my garden, but this system will have just one barral, at least for now. I live 50 miles South of what's left of Mt. St. Helens; and while we are in no danger of a volcanic eruption any time soon, earthquakes are not uncommon out here; so if you think my reinforcements are a but much, I assure you they are not. I have a local source for food grade white plastic 55 gallon barrels, and they usually run about $25 each out here. Here is out local Building Inspector, Gus, checking the barrel for leaks... Water weighs about 1 pound per pint, or about 8 pounds per Gallon, so that means a full barrel weighs in at around 440 lbs. In order to be able to do any useful work with stored water, it needs to be up high enough to produce a "head". To preserve the integrity of the barrel itself, I choose to pipe into it through the plastic bungs, as opposed to drilling into the side. That means the construction of this project must be as robust as possible. I used a variety of hardware to reinforce this to make it as strong as possible. This will also be a job for the air impact gun too... I started with my favorite standard, green Doug Fir 4x4s. I measured and cut everything to length, and then pre-bored three holes in each upright piece that is to be attached to the back of the coop. I have a 1 1/2 counter bore and a 3/8" long auger bit that I use for this. I added a plywood spacer to the back of each 4x4 coop post to match up with the siding, then positioned each upright, and drove 6" long 3/8" diameter lag screws 9with flat washers) through each hole and into the 4x4 posts. I impact drove them home until they were as tight as possible. I coated each side of the matching cutouts on the uprights and horizontal pieces with Gorilla Glue, assembled them and tacked them together (squarely) with 3" construction screws. I then added steel side reinforcements, and a 90 degree steel reinforcement plate under the joint. All were assembled with Gold Screws. I also drilled a 1/8" hole precisely where I wanted it, then drove in an 8" long 1/4" lag screw diagonally down through the top bar, through the upright and into the 4x4 post, as additional insurance that the top of this can never sag away from the wall. Next I measured and cut two 45 degree diagonal pieces, attached them with multiple screws and 2 steel reinforcing plates. A pair of 2x4 rails on top, and it is ready to receive the barrel. A coat of stain and it's about ready to go. Next steps include strapping the barrel down with steel strapping so it cannot move, and installing a gutter and downspout. I have a line on a downspout valve ($20) that directs water to your barrel when it rains, and once the barrel is full it diverts the water back to the downspout. The piping for this will be pretty simple, primarily consisting of 1/2" "funny pipe" that I use for my drip irrigation system. A few fittings and we will be set. The other advantage to this system is that it will be completely mosquito proof. I can get away with this being out in the open here because we get so little below freezing weather. I will be asking our BYC friend Scott to take a look at this and recommend a solar heater that I can turn on in the winter months to gently heat the water enough to prevent freezing all together. Which brings up another point for you do-it-yourselfers...water makes an excellent thermal mass for storing heat. If you can get the water warm it will radiate that heat pretty slowly, enough to keep your coop warm overnight perhaps...the possibilities are nearly endless. these barrels are very versatile and nearly indestructible; just be sure that you use a "food grade" barrel (this one had molassas in it originally...). It will be some time before I get this completely commissioned, but I will ad pics as I make significant additions to show you how I am hooking this up. Cheers!