I wrote this up in response to a ? posted in Backyard Chickens.
I really like both AART’s and Blooie’s pens/hoop coops and there are others detailed in the coops sections here on BYC. I also really like this one – and they give you plans and materials list! Chook-A-Holics Coop. Here’s another cool one, too – Egg shaped Hoop coop. If you google hoop coops (or go to pinterest, too), you’ll find MANY designs for the hoop coops – some permanent solutions and some portable. I think I collected more than 200 pictures of different hoop coops while I was deciding how to build and trying to figure out sizing etc.
They can be as expensive or as in-expensive as you like. You can use a simple tarp roof or you can use tin, galvanized steel sheets, green house plastic, green house panels (come in clear, grey & standard green) or fiberboard. They can all be installed in a couple of different ways. Just like in a “normal” coop, you can use all kinds of ideas for next boxes & roosts, put it on plain ground, put it on cement/block/brick or even a wood flooor.
Our hoop coops aren’t nearly as nice as Blooie’s or AARTs, but they withstood the inundation of rain (11″ in just a few hours) and wind from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. I had to replace one tarp – it came loose on one corner and shredded/flapped in the wind. That tarp stayed attached OVER THE ROOSTs at that time. And unlike when our chickens at our other place free ranged and then just put themselves to bed in our tin barn – when we first got started with chickens (up on the 8′ stall walls and 14′ – 16′ up in the air on the rafters) and we must not have had good enough ventilation and had a lot of comb frostbite on the hens as well as the roosters, the coops w/ tarp roofs and not fully covered/locked down – we’ve had NO frostbite. Even though we aren’t in the mountains of NC, we do get sustained (several days at a time) below freezing temps, snow and ICE. I did put up a single heat lamp for brooding some new chicks last year, but don’t use it for the mature chickens. The heat lamp, when used, gets tied and clamped so that it does not come loose nor does it come into contact with anything flammable (other than dust – which was a concern to me – but seems to work OK and on warmer days, I’d turn it off long enough to cool and then wipe any dust off – several times a week).
I really like our open air hoop coops. They are relatively easy for me (no building experience, in my mid-50’s now) to build almost by myself. They can be taken apart or transported. Mine do not have the wheels and here on this property where the pasture is very poor sand and clumps of grass it did not hold up well just dragging it around. They’ve become pretty much permanent – though they can be moved if necessary.
Before it was moved to a different location. And then the two together after moving closer to water access and the barn.
Then the one by the barn –
The panels we used (combo style) are 50″ tall, so joined bottom to bottom, our depth (from front of hoop coop to rear of hoop coop) is 100″ or 8’4″ and the side to side measurement is 8′. You can certainly make them longer/deeper by adding more panels. Waiting to hear back from a couple of people to see if they were able to use the panels to make theirs wider. OR you could use pallets as a pony wall base and attach the panels as hoops to make it wider and a little taller as well.
Here was a temporary shed I built on rented property while we spent 5 weeks in a hotel and then kept the ponies at this property after we went to closing while we got the fencing up… This was in use from beginning of Nov 2014 thru the middle of January 2015 – when it was taken apart, moved out to our new property and rebuilt a little differently. it is the same depth, but it’s wider (close to 12′ wide) and a little taller, too. This was all strapped together with haystring and worked GREAT for us – even during heavy rains & snow/ice in December 2014.
Our boys’ feed shed (in front of the boys’ paddocks). It is 12′ by 8′. Soon to become 16′ wide, but not sure going to make it deeper yet. Still using haystring to secure it at this time. Eventually it will be bolted together. Never meant to go this long before making it more permanent, LOL.
And the girls’ feed shed. It, too, is currently 8 deep and 12′ wide. It is getting updated eventually to 12′ deep by 16′ wide. It also is still tied with haystring – one of many projects we haven’t gotten back to yet.
These are not fancy by any means, but they were in-expensive the way they are currently built, have held up and I like them. Would they work this way in a nicer neighborhood? Probably not – but then you can follow the nicer ones that are linked above,
If I had to do anything different – the main thing here would be to use 1/4″ – 1/2″ hardware cloth on, at least, the lower section of the coops, instead of having to go back and redo the chicken wire when we had multiple predators here (but we didn’t know – the previous property, where these were originally built, we didn’t have predators that tore thru the chicken wire). To be honest, I’ve since found out that full size hens can also tear out chicken wire if they really want to!