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Critique my hoop coop design!

Guarren cito


Joined: Aug 24, 2012
Posts: 77
Location: Zone 4A
    
    1
Chicken Coop Idea

Use four 4x16’ stock panels to make a “hoop coop” that is attached to a 2x4 frame 8x12’ in dimension. The finished height inside the coop will be roughly 7 feet tall.

Use 1 stock panel to make the end walls. The front will be able to fold up to be accessed. The back will have a long door that runs the width of the coop at high waist height that folds down to open. Inside this door are the nest boxes. The nest boxes are 5 gallon buckets that have a semi circle cut out of the bottom base. They are resting on a 2x4 frame and tilted back a little to conserve the bedding.
Inside the coop there is the food and water hanging next to each other closest to the front end, next are the roosting bars in the middle of the coop, and at the back there are the nest boxes up at high waist level; these are accessible from outside of the coop.

Another detail is that there will be a stock panel wall on the inside of the coop that runs from the floor to the top flush with the 5 gallon bucket openings. This prevents the chickens from sleeping on top of the nest boxes.

Questions:

How to make it predator proof : Use barbed wire/pricker and thorn branches on edges to prevent animal from digging in. I plan on moving this often so a buried fence isn't really an option. Also a stock panel flooring is hard on the chicken's feet.
How to make it attractive : Instead of a tarp use duck cloth. Use clear plastic on the end walls to let in light. This will be close to the house most of the time and needs to look decent.
Will stock panelling bend under the weight of a waterer? : Hang food and water on the “crease” which is where the stock panels overlap each other by 1 foot.
Anything else?

Thanks!



[hoop coop 1.jpg]


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[hoop coop 3.jpg]

Alder Burns
pollinator

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 940
Location: northern California
    
  29
I have found that electric fencing is the only way to reliably keep critters out of a poultry pen. To that end, I use plastic or nylon netting instead of chicken or other wire mesh for the main layer, because this won't ground out the hot wires if they touch. Just outside of this I rig four or five strands of electric on fiberglass stakes about two inches apart, sometimes with a grounded wire at the bottom. Beware it sparking in high fire danger areas and seasons. Since adopting this system I have not lost one bird in ten years, and only an occasional snake has managed to slither in after eggs.


Alder Burns (adiantum)
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
Love the coop...I'm a fan of cattle panel hoop coops and built one myself this past spring for a smaller flock. I'm using the hay bales as an insulator also.

How to make it predator proof : Use barbed wire/pricker and thorn branches on edges to prevent animal from digging in. I plan on moving this often so a buried fence isn't really an option. Also a stock panel flooring is hard on the chicken's feet. Fool proof, stands the test of time and only cost me dog food....his house is next to the coop and he will work for food...




How to make it attractive : Instead of a tarp use duck cloth. Use clear plastic on the end walls to let in light. This will be close to the house most of the time and needs to look decent. I'm using the clear plastic right now and it does let in light. Here's a pic or two of my hoop coop before applying the plastic end caps:











Will stock panelling bend under the weight of a waterer? No..it won't. Hang food and water on the “crease” which is where the stock panels overlap each other by 1 foot. If your arch is right, it will bear wt just fine and won't need the overlap for strength...I can hang a whole 5 gal. bucket of wet, fermented feed off of mine without worrying about where to place the rope.
Anything else?
Cj Verde
pollinator

Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  54
Jay Green wrote:
Anything else?


Yes. What are your dimensions?
Do you move yours? If so, by yourself?
Is it just cattle panels & plastic?

I bought a few panels to make one of these a few weeks ago but then stole them to make a new feeder for my cows and sheep so I'm back to the planning stage.


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Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
Cj Verde wrote:
Jay Green wrote:
Anything else?


Yes. What are your dimensions?
Do you move yours? If so, by yourself?
Is it just cattle panels & plastic?

I bought a few panels to make one of these a few weeks ago but then stole them to make a new feeder for my cows and sheep so I'm back to the planning stage.


Mine is 8 x 10 and I did move it but since I free range out of it, found it not really necessary to move the coop...I like to do deep litter. After adding the doors and wood on the end caps, it became too heavy to move by hand, so is moved by truck.

Cattle panels, plastic cap under the tarp, tarp and a plastic mesh overlay. The cattle panels are held together with zip ties, fastened to the treated base with steeples. The firring strips keep the tarp down tight and are on the inside and out. Here's a pic of the plastic cap under the tarp:



The nest boxes are plastic totes and the lumber for the bracing is 2xs and some scrap tomato stakes. The door framing on the outside access on the nest boxes are made from scrap tongue in groove flooring. The nest boxes are insulated for summer heat and winter cold with heavy duty cardboard, even the sliding door has a cardboard liner. The screen door is a knock downed to size cheapy from Lowes. Working a few hours here and there each day it took me about 10 days to complete this and one person can build this by themselves. Total material costs~ $205

Here's a link to the build pics: webpage

Cj Verde
pollinator

Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  54
What's to stop the chickens from going right through the panels?
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
Green plastic mesh overlay...as mentioned. Cheap, easy to apply and secure with zip ties. As mentioned, I don't really have to worry about predators here unless the dog dies. Then I have to make a choice to invest in another free or cheap dog or get some electric poultry netting.
Cj Verde
pollinator

Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  54
You mentioned the mesh but it wasn't in the pics so I thought I'd ask.

I have 4 dogs (3 true LGDs) so we've got predators pretty well covered.

I'm tempted to try some egg layers in a movable hoop house that are not free range because they hide sooooo many eggs on me. I've got 16 surviving poults from various hidden clutches.
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
You could just try training them to the coop nests ever once in awhile and start culling for birds that won't conform. When my birds have forgotten where they are supposed to lay or roost, I just confine them for a week until they get it..and this usually works for a long time. Any bird that stubbornly refuses to lay in the coop after training is soon culled. We can make more chickens to make more eggs as long as you keep a broody or two on hand, so culling for specific traits is important when free ranging all the time.

The mesh is on the coop pics in the finished pics....the upper pics. You can just see it if you look closely.
Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
Great coops!

I love the nest boxes, and I am glad to see someone has tried straw bales as insulation, as that is what we are planning to do this winter.

I built a hoop coop this Spring and we have been using it all summer for our first flock of Chickens. A mix of Auracauna, Rhode Island Reds, and Red Star Pullets. I put wheels on it and with the help of my very crafty father, devised a hitch system to move it around.



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Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
Here is the finished pen. The trailer dolly was a gift from my dad, he wasn't using it and came up with the idea while we were discussing my tractor design. I am really proud of the hitch, as it is my first ever welding fabrication. I have been learning how, but this is the first useful thing I have produced. The bottom pic shows the wheels in the down position, as well as the skirt of 2" hardware cloth I put down to deter preditors from digging. All summer we have moved the pen daily. As long as I don't let the grass get too long, it is easy for one person to do. We haven't sprayed our lawn, and have a nice mix of dandelions, plantain, mallow, purslane, and various grasses. Good forage, and best of all the manure is spread in a thin layer that quickly breaks down and I don't have to shovel it.


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Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
Beautiful pasture and great mobility feature!!!
Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
Thanks Jay.

I have recently built a second hoop coop, and I just published a blog post with detailed instructions on how I built it.
The post can be viewed here http://wholeviewfarm.blogspot.com/2013/07/building-hoop-coop-how-to-construct.html

I know there is a world of options in building one of these, but the post should instruct a beginner well enough to build one successfully. Let me know what you think.
Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
Here are some pics







Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
Josef Theisen wrote:Thanks Jay.

I have recently built a second hoop coop, and I just published a blog post with detailed instructions on how I built it.
The post can be viewed here http://wholeviewfarm.blogspot.com/2013/07/building-hoop-coop-how-to-construct.html

I know there is a world of options in building one of these, but the post should instruct a beginner well enough to build one successfully. Let me know what you think.


I caught your build and blog over on the Chicken Forum! VERY nice build and design! More folks need to be aware of how cheap and versatile this kind of construction can be. I've even made sheep sheds out of it that withstood incredible high winds without even moving....cattle panels are right up there with duct tape and zip ties for me~truly a material that every homesteader needs to keep on hand.
Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
Jay Green wrote:cattle panels are right up there with duct tape and zip ties for me~truly a material that every homesteader needs to keep on hand.


Indeed, it's definately one of the heavy hitters of verstility. Duct tape may be king, but cattle panels rock! I am using some for trellises for cucumbers this year and I have some ideas on using them for an arched greenhouse similar to the hoop coops.
David Hartley


Joined: Mar 23, 2012
Posts: 258
Looks like you already have all the hardware in place to upgrade your wheels to bicycle tires Soooooo much better/easier to move around with them

If you place the axle line so that it is behind the coop; as you lift the opposite end, you'll lift the other end off the ground and onto the load of the tires. This allows for permanently positions wheels AND a flush-to-the-ground coop when not being moved.
Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
Good idea, the larger wheels would definitely be easier to move in the grass. To be honest, though, I have other projects at hand and it is easy enough to move that I am not that worried about it.
Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
A friend of mine saw our hoop coop and then built his own. He did a great job and added some innovative feature that I have never seen done before.
Click the link to see a blog post with more pics. http://wholeviewfarm.blogspot.com/2013/11/more-better-hoop-coop.html



andy careaga


Joined: Nov 10, 2013
Posts: 3
I was looking at your design in pic# 100_8492.JPG and had seen how the base of the structure was off the ground in previous pics. This makes it easy for critters to slip in underneath. If you move the wheels back away from the structure about a foot, you can lower the whole end enough to make it lay flat on the ground and then when you pick up the opposite end to move the structure, it will clear the ground making it easier to move to another location.

I bet if one took the same design as a lawnmower that can be raised or lowered and put the wheels on the structure at points corresponding to 1/4 of the length and 3/4 of the length, a single person could move it. The wheels would have to be kind of wide and the front set would have to be able to pivot. Then when you got it where you wanted, raise the wheels and it would sit on the ground.
Josef Theisen


Joined: Oct 12, 2012
Posts: 205
Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
    
    7
Hi Andy,

I think you should take a closer look at the wheel assembly. The top bolt comes out allowing the wheel to pivot out setting the frame on the ground. There is a custom made hitch on the back so we can use a trailer dolly to move it. My wife can move it by herself and she's only 4'11".

It basically works like the lawnmower wheels you describe, but all the parts are available at any hardware store.
ben harpo


Joined: Sep 17, 2013
Posts: 65
Location: Illinois, zone 6b, 43" average annual rainfall
    
    3
Nice landing gear on the wheels! You could still substitute pins with a cotter key, which is a little bit faster and easier on the fingers on a cold day.


"We have it in our power to begin the world over again." - Thomas Paine
josh brill


Joined: Sep 06, 2010
Posts: 86
    
    1
I like your hardware set up for your tires. Our coop looks similar but we used a few extra perlin tubes bent into a hoop instead of the cattle panels. When we ran out of those for our goat house we used the cattle panel set up like this. They are easy to work with and pretty light.

During ours is setup on wheels that keep it up off the ground so the chickens can go in and out where ever. We dont have rollup sides so it helps keep it cool inside. We havn't had a problem with critters as long as we have netting up. During the winter we shift it on to a set of hay bales. This gives us a bit more head room once the bedded pack get 12+ inches deep.


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