Friday, June 24, 2011

Turkey Coop, 1

I mentioned last week that the turkeys are getting too big for the chicken tractor. I planned on spending this weekend starting a new coop and run for them up on the hill. I was hoping that I could build an 8'x8' run for them this weekend and then add another 8'x8' cube later that would have a 4'x8' coop with storage on one end. I had a rough list of stuff to get at Home Depot but when I got there all of the details went mushy in my head. I was planning on footing the posts for the run and coop at 8' on center but when I looked at some of the material it came in 8' lengths, so I considered footing the posts so they were 8' apart so I wouldn't have to cut stuff like corrugated metal. But that seemed to mess up the panel sizes for the roof, and that made me wonder how I was going to attach the horizontal 2x4s to the posts, and that made me realize that I wasn't sure how long the eaves on the roof would be or even how long the joist would be. I had more questions than answers and ended up spending two hours there hashing things back and forth.

I still ended up getting a bunch of stuff that I knew I could use but decided to come back for the rest once I had made some decisions at home.

This is what I ended up getting. I doesn't look like that much but it took me 16 trips to get it up the stairs to my house. And that was the end of my day. It turns out 16 trips is about 7 more than I would prefer to make at any one time. Especially when carrying 50lb bags of cement.

I spent the rest of the afternoon lying in bed under the fan working on my drawing of the coop. I managed to make some decisions and have a better idea how to proceed.

I'm going back to my original plan with the posts 8' on center. This will give me a space approximately 8'x16' which is 4 times what the turkeys have now. These drawings show the downhill face and the side of the run. The posts will be sunk 3' in the ground leaving 7' above. You can see there is some digging involved and I've even showed the area above the coop being backfilled with gravel to help with drainage. That would require carrying bags of gravel up the hill so we'll have to see if that actually happens. Alex is conveniently relaxing on the beach in Florida this weekend so we are limited to 1 manpower on this project. (click to embiggen)

I decided that even if I only enclosed half the space for now that I would put in all the posts and top beams at once. I feel like it will be stronger if it is all tied together by two 16' 2x4s on the long ends. This will also set the dimensions so I can figure out the dimensions of the roof.

Next comes the rest of the structure. I'm breaking up each 8' span in half except for the part with the door

The coop will be on the left. Here you can see the doors into the storage section on top to hold feed and some turkey sized nest boxes on the bottom. I think the two hens will start laying before the fall so I thought I better have a place for them to feel comfortable. The bottom two feet of the run will be covered with some solid material. I had pictured corrugated metal because it is light and strong but it wouldn't be easy for me to cut, especially along the curvy end. I saw some Hardiplank cement board while I was at HD that I would like to build the coop out of. I could use the same panels ripped in half for the run walls. The back wall of the run has to serve as a little retaining wall and the Hardiplank shouldn't rot so It could be a good choice, it also endes up being cheaper and is easy to cut on the table saw. It's really heavy though and I already have lots of heavy stuff to drag up the hill.

The top of the run will be 2"x4" welded mesh. This is a lot bigger than the 1/2" hardware cloth that I prefer but there should be enough space that the turkeys won't be within reach of varmint paws. Hopefully the two foot run wall will also provide enough protection.

And the roof. It would be easier to do an angled flat roof but the peaked roof looks so much cuter. I can get the roofing material in 12' lengths and cut it in half to give me some nice long eaves. It might be overkill but it will provide that much more protection from the sun and rain. And it's cute :)

This looks like a month's worth of weekends to get done, but maybe I can get the right hand side done sooner. That will still give the turkeys twice as much space as they have now.

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