Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cattle Panel Chicken Shelter: Part 1

This have been a bit crazy around here lately and I plan to update y'all soon. In the meantime I want to share how we're building another great (hopefully) chicken shelter.

I used treated 2"x4" lumber for the base. The two side boards are 10' long and the three in the middle are 12' long. Place the 10' boards on the outside on the 12' boards as shown.

You'll need 3 sheets of 4'x8' treated plywood to make the floor. There are plenty of good designs out there for shelters without floors. I have too much money and time invested in our broilers to risk losing them to predators or flooding, thus I want a floor.
With the 2"x4"s set up the way I have them the plywood will not fit perfectly. I did this on purpose to provide as much floor space as possible. Position the plywood in from the edges the width of the 2"x4". There may still be a small gap but the sides angle in enough that I don't think it will cause any problems. Or, if you'd prefer, you can frame it to fit exactly.

Here you can see the cattle panels on and the three braces. Put the panels on first. You'll need 2 standard cattle panels 16' long and you'll need to overlap them a few inches. You may want the front panel to stick out a few inches in front of the floor to provide an overhang. Hammer in fence staples to hold it on the 2"x4". Have someone help you pull up the other side or use a rope to hold the curve, then secure the other side. Repeat with the second panel. It helps to wire the two panels together in a couple places before securing both ends.
We added the braces later after measuring exactly how tall the panel was in the place we wanted. The two braces in front will provide a door way so make the gap as wide as you need. We screwed the two braces in from the side so they sit on top of the floor. The back single brace is attached to the back of the 2"x4" for extra support.

Next, attach chicken wire around the sides and the back. I used some that I had, about 2' tall I think. You can see the fence staples holding the cattle panel in place, along with the regular staples holding the chicken wire to the lumber.

Here you can see how I held up the top of the wire. Simply use more wire to pull it taught against the panel. I'll have to get a better picture showing the wire from far away. As I said, I'm only putting a short piece around the 3 sides. The tarp covering should contain the birds from there.

Stay tuned for the next steps, especially if you can't quite picture the final result. This project is more of an experiment than the eggmobile but I'll share how it works for us and any changes we make. I did get a lot more accomplished on it today so expect an update soon.

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