A-FRAME COOP/RUN WEEK 4

Much of this weeks shopping list was unplanned materials to reinforce the coop floor. It was not very sturdy and would not hold me when I was standing on it. Also picked up was some hardware cloth and the tin for the roof. We will not be adding the roof for a bit, but I had time off so this week ended up being when we got it.

Reinforcement

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Today’s plan was add some reinforcement to the coop and stabilize the floor. I added a 2×4 under the supports and put it on the inside of the boards that make up the A-Frame. I tried it on the outside of the frame, but it barely caught then ends of the support boards. I also added supports boards on each end as well as the center to more evenly support the floor. I feel this is a much better way to support the weight of the floor and should I have done this first. This used up five of the ten 2×4 boards we picked up.

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When you put the boards under as supports you do have to keep in mind that there will a tin roof over the coop and have to make sure the supports do not stick out too far. I used a 6′ fence picket to make sure the supports were out as far as possible yet still would stay behind the tin roof. I used eight foot boards for the supports that we cut to size. With one end sticking out to the side I pushed the board up against the clamped fence board. Then I determined how far it could stick out on the other side, made a mark, then cut the board.

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Once we got the bottom supported better we took more boards and lined all the way around the inside on the floor. This board covered the gaps in the edges and also adds some sturdiness. I will be putting small 1″ screws from the bottom up and into this board to anchor the plywood to the board. I added a few screws from the outside slanted board on the A-Frame and into the one on the inside. I will be adding more of these screws to pull the two boards close together. I need to get some washers as the screw heads tend to go into the wood and not pull everything together as tight as I want. I used two of the boards on the long sides. I was going to cut another board for the end with the door but decided to see what I ended up with in scrap pieces. I still had to cut some boards at an angle for the door frame and thought I could used them on the end. If not I will just cut down another 2×4. I still had three left.

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Because the framing on the ends around the doors stick out further than the A-Frame, I wanted to see the tin along one side to see how much of the side it would cover.  So I just set them up on the ground and overlapped them as they will go when they are screwed into place.

When I got the panels up I could see that it looks like I will have a slight amount extending out a little on each side. When I lined the first one up with the edge of the frame.. the last one stuck out enough to cover the width of the 2×4. So now I know I can start by having the tin about a half inch past the edge to start and expect it to be about the same on the other end.

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We then got busy with adding the door to the other end. I did this end the same way as the other using another one of the eight foot boards. I did consider some other options, different from the other end, for the door. The reason is I will be opening this end to be able to clean the coop. Because of the size of the door, I was a little concerned with the door opening upward a chicken might get out while I clean. After some consideration I decided the chickens should not be in the coop like they are in my first one. The reason they end up in the first coop at times I am cleaning it is because their nest box is in the coop. In this second coop the nest box will be below the floor, so I should not have chickens in the coop during the day. On the rare occasion I do have one in the coop we will just chase them out and close the door on the other end.

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The other consideration was there is nothing above to keep the door open. Right now, on the other end, I have a screw in the door and am using a covered wire tie around the screw and up around a top board. On the end in the run there is the peak of the frame and boards up where I can put a pulley to open the door. But this other end has nothing. Right now I am using a clamp to to hold it straight up while I work.

I considered hinging the door on the side, but the sides are not and will not be as solid as the top or bottom. I also considered putting the hinge on the bottom and opening it downward.. but was not sure how that will work with the nest box down below. I also tend to worry about rain and weather getting access into the coop with the gap at the top. I am sure I will figure out some way to hold the door up.. so decided to hinge at the top as we did on the other end.

img_6649We got the top board in place and attached the hinges then went about adding the side boards that frame the door. I was able to get both side boards from what was left after cutting the top board. I measured from the bottom board to under the top board and cut. Then I put the board up next to the closed door to get it into place where the door could open and close without sticking. I used the clamp to hold it in place, then took a scrap board and laid it up on the frame board and marked the back of the side board at an angle. Remember I will have boards running the length of the sides of the coop to screw the tin roof panels into. So I have to account for that space. See in the left photo, the end of a 2×4 sits on the frame. I have cut both the top and the side board long enough to cover the frame and this 2×4. You can see where the tin will fit on top and there will be no gaps. I then cut the angles off then put the side boards back and screwed them into place. The only place I put the screws was into the frame at the top. It will act as a pivot and is the only solid place to anchor at this time.

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I did have enough scraps with the angled cuts to almost cover the base of this end. A small piece between the two boards and I had and the entire end covered. But I did not screw anything into place. I needed to put the wire up first. It works a lot better to add the wire to the back of the frame and bend it to fit the angled frame without the base board in. I am still working with an eight foot length of half inch hardware cloth I had on hand, but I added a roll of hardware cloth to this weeks shopping list. I will need another roll to finish the grazing box I took the wire I am using from as well as the coop. I cut about a one foot width down the entire eight foot length and set it aside to go over the peak of the coop frame. Then I used the rest of the wire to cover the open areas on this end. I still have to finish adding wire to the other end and that will com out of the new roll.

We started on the bottom and cut pieces close in size to the open areas. Then we maneuvered the wire into place and used the staple gun to anchor it into place. Since there will be boards on the backside to cover the wire I do not need to use the screws and washers that anchor the wire much more securely. After I got the wire in place I then put the base board in and put three inch screws with some washers from the front into the base board. I also put a few from the base board out and into that outside front board.

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When I did the top I started to staple from the peak and worked down towards the board the door hangs on. I found I had to take that board off to get the wire down behind it where I wanted it. If I were to do another coop like this I would mark where the top of this board is on the A-Frame and put the wire up before I put this board up and hung the door. It was not difficult to take down and put back up.. just would have been better to have done it the other way first.

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I left the sides and did not cut them. I will be adding chicken wire to cover the sides of the coop. Once I get that wire into place I will bend these wires down over them and anchor into place. The reason is there will be the space of a 2×4 under the tin roof. I plan to have the ends open and allow the breeze we have here to flow through the coop. So I need the coop wire enclosed. I will have a way to block the air flow when the weather warrants it .. but the rest of the time I want a nice airy coop that still protects my birds.

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After we got the wire in we then measured and cut boards to fit along the back side of the door frame. I did not run the boards up and cut at an angle. I am not good at those kinds of cuts and did not feel it was that important. So I used a mall piece of scrap and determined where on the A-Frame a board would have to come up to to give me the overlap I wanted. Then I cut them and put them in place.

img_6685These back boards sit on the back baseboard and I ran some three inch screws through the side door frame and into these boards to hold them into place.

I have the boards extend about 3/4 inch in the door way to act as a door stop of sorts. The door hangs in front of this stopper board with a half inch or so of space between them as seen in the photo to the left. I am thinking about either 1/4 round or insulation strip to fit into this space. Need to think more about that and will worry about it when everything else gets done.

Secure Foundation

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As we were working today it became apparent, even with the additional support, the base was still not very sturdy. When you take a look at the structural support for the coop there is nothing other than the four angled boards of the frame supporting everything. I need to be able to stand on the floor and I will have roosts and birds putting weight downward on the frame as well. The four angled boards are not going to give me the sturdy base I want and need. And now, as I have added weight, I have a concern one may break.

I sat and pondered what I had gotten myself into and the best way to solve it. No way around it.. I need a base with vertical supports. The coop was going to cost me again more than I had planned on spending. But I need to fix it now and figure out some way to keep the fix from breaking the bank.

I decided I needed to get some treated 4×4’s. The distance between the ground and the bottom supports is about two and a half feet. So 10 footers would give me four supports from each. We just need to determine how many 4×4 supports we are going to add. I think the 4×4’s will be much sturdier than using a 2×4 and getting the treated should protect them with the ground contact. I plan on painting the other boards for protection but have no desire to paint under the coop.. so treated it will be.

The other thing I need to consider is the chickens will be hanging out under here. In my first coop they spend a lot of time under the coop in the shade. They also do a lot of digging around in there.. so my concern is how to build supports that the chickens can’t dislodge or weaken with all the scratching and dust bathing. I can put the vertical supports on a 4×4 on the ground or maybe some concrete pavers. I need to price both and think about how to make everything chicken proof.

One other thing we will have to do is add bracing to the supports. I found my first coop was a bit shaky until I added some bracing underneath. Got a lot to think over this week.

All in all, today I spent about about four hours outside working. I did have quite a few moments where I had to stop, get some ice water and just think about some stuff before moving forward. It would have been better if we had done the base this way first and we would not have had to spend the time going back to fix it. It would also have be better to figure out a more secure base and have it in place before adding the floor. But sometimes you just never know till you get there. Next week I plan on putting the base under the coop then all we will have left is adding the wire and a door.

See ya next weekend

Running Total

COST: $346.44

TIME:  10.75 Hours

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