Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chicken Hoop House, Part One

Today we started work on the chicken hoop house for the meat birds who are starting to escape their garage quarters.. not to mention stinking the place up!  I wanted something movable, but chicken tractors weren't quite was I was looking for.  So I found a plan online for a chicken hoop house and gave it to my hubby and told him that was what I would like.  He took the plans, made some adjustments and away we went!

Materials list is as follows:

(2) 8' x 50" cattle panels
(4) 10' pressure treated 2 x 4s
(1) roll chicken wire (ours is 4' x 50', we can always use the extra!)
(2) 8' regular 2 x 4s
(1) package plumber's strapping
(1) 16 x 10 canvas tarp for over the top
(1) 8 x 10 silver tarp for the back
Misc. scraps of wood, or additional regular 2 x 4s
Staples, screws, nails, wire, zip ties, etc.

The hoop house will be covered with a tarp over the top and the back, leaving the front open.  For summer we will also leave a gap at the top of the back part for cross ventilation.  Each day the hoop will be moved to a new section of pasture in our vegetable field.  That keeps the grass and the chickens happy!

First DH and oldest DS notched out the pressure treated 2 x 4s, each one about a foot in from the edge.  They should NOT be flush when you are done.  Also cut the front and back of the side pieces at a 45 degree angle, these will be your skids, and you will attach rope or chain to them for moving the hoop house.  Many plans said to leave a bigger gap on the front and back piece, this is to make moving it easier and also so if you run over a chick when you're moving the house it can roll out the back.  We're more concerned with predators, so ours is lower down.  We'll just move it more slowly.

Our plans said to add brace pieces over the top of each corner, but if we followed the plans, the bracing would have been awful since the pieces are not flush.

 So instead DH notched out the front and back pieces to fit the brace piece.  Beautifully done!

 Bottom frame complete.

Now it's time to add one of the panels.  We first secured the panel with tie downs to keep their shape to make attaching easier.  We attached the hoops to the outside of the skids using fencing staples. 

 Second panel in place.

We secured the two panels to each other with some wire.  Notice the placement of the wire, this will prevent the wire from ripping at the tarp.

The back framing goes up.  This is done by making an upside down V and attaching that to the panel with plumber's strapping.  The 2 x 4 is also attached to the back of the bottom frame. Notice that we put the chicken wire on first before we added the back brace sections.  This makes it easier to pull the chicken wire taut.

 Framing for the door.  We made ours about 2' wide.  Again attached to the panel with plumber's strapping and screwed to the bottom of the frame.  After the door was on we added additional support between the door frame and the edge of the panel.

 Kids working on the chicken wire for the front section.  Our kids are an awesome help to us.

DH notching out the wood sections for the door.   I love those hands.

Almost complete!  We ran out of time and we don't yet have hinges or a lock.  Awesome work guys!  The chicks are going to love their new quarters :)  We retired for the night for a nice Resurrection Sunday dinner - roast lamb and potatoes, yum!


  1. Hi! Great Blog! I'm wondering, How many chickens can fit in a hoop house this size? Thanks!

  2. Hi! We had 30 meat chickens (Cornish X) in the hoop house, which housed them just fine. It DOES have to be moved everyday though, because it gets messy real fast. With non meat chickens it wouldn't foul up so quickly. Once they were big enough and we started letting them out to free range we didn't have to move it as often. Hope that helps!


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