the weight of building materials

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by digitS', Jul 24, 2008.

  1. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
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    When someone starts thinking about "portability" and moving the coop or tractor around the weight of building materials should enter the picture.

    When I built a coop my idea was to be able to move this structure if I moved from this home. I guess that was '96 or '97, and I'm still here. The coop was made to fit in the back of a pickup. I've enjoyed having birds in there and will continue to make use of the coop.

    Recently, I got to thinking (again) about a chicken tractor and keeping my small number of hens moving about the backyard. I think I'll mostly go with free-ranging but might have been better off if I'd gone this tractor route rather than building what is essentially a coop in a permanent location.

    Wheels can handle more weight than a back (especially, my back [​IMG]) but, really, we must think carefully about the placement and quality of wheels. Cheap, tack-on wheels aren't likely to be able to handle much more than what 2 people could pick up and carry.

    And face it, the size of the structure simply can't be very large if 2 people will lift and carry it. Therefore, it cannot shelter many chickens. Just thinking here but this might be an example of where someone could go wrong:

    1. A chicken needs 4 square feet of interior floor space.
    2. Let's say, I want 8 chickens.
    3. They will need (8 x 4 sq ft) a 32 sq ft shelter.
    4. A sheet of plywood is 32 sq ft.
    5. A shelter that is 4 by 8 by 4 feet high should house 8 chickens.
    6. Five one-half inch sheets of plywood would be needed for this shelter.
    7. Those 5 sheets of plywood weigh 227 pounds!
    8. Add 12, 2 by 4's for a frame. They will weigh 123 pounds. The shelter now weighs 350 pounds!!
    9. The 8 chickens themselves probably weigh 50 pounds, so 400 pounds!!!
    10. (This doesn't even include the weight of the frame and wire necessary for an attached pen.)

    Ain't no way DW and I are going to lift a structure large enuf to house 8 hens.

    (I wrote out this little scenario so that I could share this handy little pdf file on the weight of building materials from Penn State University. [​IMG] I hope it is of some help.)

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I left out the weight of floor and roof joists and roofing material. And, according to that pdf file, manure weighs 60 pounds a cubic foot . . . but, oh well . . .
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  3. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    I am in the planning stages of making a chicken tractor.. For only two chickens. I plan to make it 5' x 3.5'. I will use 1" X 2" for the bottom frame, and using recycled fence pickets for uprights. I will cover it with chicken wire. Adding a door to one end. I will put a "skirt of welded wire on the bottom just in case we ever get a preditor in the backyard. Whch is doubtful since we have 6ft to 8 ft fencing back there. I plan to let them out for a few hours each day in the tractor with supervision.

    PVC pipe would be a great framework for a lightweight tractor.

    I started to make a coop that would be part of the tractor... but it was just toooo heavy to move. and it was only 36 inches by 28 inches!! And only about 3.5 feet tall. Now it will be a coop in a small run in the back garden.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  4. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    DigitS', that's great information to have on hand. I am almost "finished" with two 4-x8-foot coops of six modules each. The two can be put together to form one 8-x8-x8-foot coop.

    Like you I designed them so that they can be moved easily and taken away in a pickup truck in case I change my mind about wanting chickens. I had no experience in building anything, so I had no idea of what each 4x8 module was going to weigh... OH MY. Thank God for my strong nephews and their being willing to come help when/if I need them to put one of those six modules in its place after its having been screwd together on the ground.

    It turns out that my "portable coops" will require four men to remove the roof module and two very strong men to move the other five modules of each coop section.

    Dang and oh gawrsh, that ain't how I envisioned costructing and/or later moving my two individual 4x8 coops to make them one 8x8 coop later. It was supposed to be so EASY.

    Something went wrong! Hmmm, wonder what it was?

    Oh, yeah! Those twelve 4x8 modules were supposed to weight about 10% of what they actually do weigh.

    "The best laid plans of mice and men go oft' awry."
     
  5. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    And the RUN between those two sections. Ya should've witnessed my frustration/worrying while driving home from Home Depot yesterday with three ten-foot 4x4's, twelve eight-foot 2x4's, and six sixteen-foot 2x6's in the six-foot bed of my pickup. You'd've loved the parts where the sixteen footers were all of a sudden dragging the ground and my having to get out and redistribute and re-tie everything down.

    I already know that I'm going to have to have help moving those sixteen-foot by four-foot sections with wire attached to the 4x4 posts.

    WHERE WAS YOUR POST BEFORE I STARTED THIS... THIS... THIS CATASTROPHE?
     
  6. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    In fact, WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I STARTED?
    Oh, well, what the heck, never mind answering that; it's a rhetorical question. It's just good to know that I have somebody to blame for everything that's gone wrong these last two months... YOU!
     
  7. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Yeah, and what about that guy who was supposed to disillusion me about COST. Where is/was he when I was planning for this project's being a few hundred dollars to house four or five hens; it's turning out to be more than a couple thousand dollars.
    Yeah, where's he?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2008
  8. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    digitS' :

    I think I left out the weight of floor and roof joists and roofing material. And, according to that pdf file, manure weighs 60 pounds a cubic foot . . . but, oh well . . .

    IF you use as many screws and nails as my DH does when building anything , you can ADD another 100 lbs. [​IMG]
     
  9. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:IF you use as many screws and nails as my DH does when building anything , you can ADD another 100 lbs. [​IMG]

    Ain't it the truth. Doncha luv this post! I showed it to my wife, and she's still gloating when she thinks I'm not looking.
     
  10. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know what my pickup portable weighs. I've never moved it and hope that when I finally turn this home over to someone else - they'll appreciate it being there in the backyard. It is just about 8' by 8', slightly smaller. Half of it is fully insulated so it has interior plywood. I have a suspicion that it weighs more than your standard aluminum pickup camper. And, the darn thing cost 400 dollars 10-12 years ago :eek:!!

    Honestly, honestly, honestly, I believe that a hand-movable shelter should work for 3 & not more, standard-sized hens. Perhaps pvc framing could really make a difference, I don't know. But, if a structure for 3 hens could be done cheaply enuf, I don't see any reason that there couldn't be 2 of that size, especially if there is a sharing of space between the 2. Having a separate nest box could also help ease the weight-moving burden. Just thinking but I'm going to try to come up with what would work for 7 or 8 birds [​IMG].

    Roofing material - - please note in that info from Penn State the difference between asphalt and aluminum roofing. You'll put another 10 pounds on that imagined portable with aluminum compared to 100 pounds with asphalt shingles :eek:.

    Steve
     

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