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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Building a Chicken Coop Hoop House - Part I

Like every good (or bad?) idea, first you need a plan. I had come across a couple of coop hoop building plans during one of my chicken researching episodes (aka splink sessions) so I sent them to Papa Bear to peruse and come up with a plan for our hoop house.

PB's good at coming up with designs for things. He's a real "out-of-the-box" thinker.

Like, for example, what to do when your only truck, a '62 International, is sitting in Sheridan, WY, and you have stuff to haul? Well, you make do, that's what.

We call her our "redneck pickup truck."  After getting everything home and unloading it (and, by the way, it was freezing last Saturday when we were doing all of this) the real fun began.

Thankfully, Sunday warmed up considerably. It was actually warm enough for me to remove my Carhartt coat (but not my wool hat) as I altered between helping PB and cleaning out the flower beds (and snapping photos).

Let me preface this by saying this project could be done even cheaper than we did it, if you have enough materials lying around.  We had some of the items we needed, but not everything.  I'll try to get a detailed list put together, with costs, for Part II of this post.

The long skids are 2"x6"x12', and PB angled them at the front to aid in moving the coop around. (One of the main requirements of the structure is that it be portable).

The 16' cattle panels were the hardest part, at least for me. I had to hold them up, nearly vertical, while PB hammered fence staples into the skids to hold the panels in place. Those panels are heavy!  And the staples were long enough to start coming through on the back side of the skids.

PB worked around that issue by stapling them at the place where two wires come together, making it a thicker join.

After the cattle panels came building the door frame, and the back wall supports.

One minute while I segue... as PB was starting the hoop project, I was busy moving lightweight livestock panels (about a dozen) into place along the outside of the boys pasture fence, to let them out to graze some of the yard grass.  My grand plan for the summer is to move these panels around the yard and let the boys mow for me.

Brilliant, no? 

But back to the hoop house...

The back wall supports are finished, and here is a closer picture of the cross-bracing and triangle supports.

And then came PB's favorite part - using his brand new air compressor and staple gun to staple the chicken wire to the frame.

He even let ME (gasp!) try using the new air stapler. It was pretty cool, gotta say.

As you can see here, the sun has left and it's getting a bit darker. PB's been at this project the better part of a day. The sun has gone behind some clouds and is thinking about starting to set.

At this point in time, I'm thinking about how hungry I am, how it's getting colder and darker and how it's supper time and the salsa chicken in the crock pot has been driving me crazy all day with its wonderful aroma.  PB allowed me to go inside and get dinner ready while he worked a little more. He has no sense of fatigue, I swear. When he's focused on something, he's focused!

I, however, was focused on getting noms in  my belly ASAP.

After dinner, the only energy I had left was to put the food away and crawl into bed.  PB, however, made it back outside to work on putting a door together.

God bless that man.

And all for my little peeps, who aren't so little anymore, and who will be moving outside in the next couple of weeks.

What spring projects are you and your hunny tackling this weekend?  Leave a comment!

Oh, and stay tuned for Part II, to be completed this weekend!


WildernesFamily said...

Hi! We're also busy building a hoop house for our chickens :) Yours looks really great and the chicks are so cute.. much cuter than our cornish x chicks, ha!

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you for visiting, and for the comment! We finished up the coop and I'll be posting Part II pics very soon. How many broilers are you raising? We're just chicken newbies! :)

toeknee said...

awesome idea! We are on our way to town to get some supplies to make something like this. However, instead of chickens..we'll be house our rabbits. Once we upgrade the rabbit housing.. we'll HAVE to get chickens, lol! thank u for sharing so many pictures! I'll be sure to share some with y'all once ours is built =).

Victoria Strauser said...

How exciting for you! I'd love to see the pics when you're done (or in process!). What kind of rabbits are you raising? Would love to learn more about that, too!

aaron said...

Love the info on the cattle panel structure! How wide did you make yours? Looks like about 6'?


Anonymous said...

Hi, I love this post along with your redneck ride!

I'm planning to make a hoop coop too! I have a friend who thinks I would need something to bend the cattle panels over to make a round hoop shape.... I've never worked with cattle panels before but every DIY blog about cattle panel hoop coops that I've read does not mention anything about the difficulty of bending the fencing.... Did you guys have any trouble getting the panel to bend/flex into a hoop shape?

Thanks, I'm going to go look for part II.....


Victoria Strauser said...

The cattle panels are not difficult to bend although they are pretty stiff - the trick is to have two people for this part - one to hold the bottom edge against the frame, the other to secure the edge with heavy duty staples. The loose ends of the panels will just be floating up into the air. Then repeat on the other side. They will be a bit harder to hold flush to the frame for the second side with the tension but very doable. Good luck!

Dove said...

Great post. A super helpful hint .. If you out the cattle panel on the inside of the frame instead of the outside you won't have to hold the panel once bent into place. You also won't have the cattle panels putting constant pressure pulling the staples while the wood swells and shrinks with the weather. You'll never have to worry about the staples :)

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