Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hoop House Build

Well (finally) here are some pictures of my hoop house! Several folks have asked me for plans but this build was done ad-hoc so I didn't really have any plans to share. So, here are some links to a few different plans for building a similar hoop house/coop: 

The basic idea behind pastured poultry is to move the chickens to fresh grass each day. So the pen needs to be light enough to pull with a rope by a single person or a riding lawn mower. Lots of people use a 10x10' pasture pen that is only 2 feet high. I chose a hoop house over a pasture pen because I can walk inside to change out the feed and water, catch chickens, etc.

It has an 8x12' foot print and is 6' high, enough to be able to walk around inside. It is basically made of 3 "ranch panels" (4 gauge galvanized welded wire) that are pushed up into a hoop inside of the pressure treated frame. I put a heavy duty U.V. protected tarp over the back 8' leaving 4' open (covered in chicken wire) for sun and ventilation. I covered the perimeter with 4 foot high chicken wire in case the tarp rips or I want fold it up on the sides. Attaching the chicken wire was very laborious, even using wire "zip" ties. Make sure to use the black (U.V. protected) ones.

The ends were the most difficult part to figure out. Chicken wire by itself is not predator proof and the ranch panels were too cumbersome (and very sharp at the ends) to use. I have been saving this piece of 3/8" ACX plywood for years and finally found a good use for it. I just tacked it in place and traced out the hoop and cut it to fit. I did not want it to become a 3 sided parachute in the wind so I put in a foot of chicken wire near the top of the back so the wind will go through it. The A-frame 2x4's are to keep the ranch panel at the peak in place and help support the plywood as well. I probably need to put some stain or paint it or it won't last very long.

My son's dog "Moo Moo" (cause his coloring looks like a cow) for some perspective of the size.

The door on the front is almost 3x6' and has sprung hinges (screen door style) and two locks. I purposely made it swing out so that if a predator tried to get in it couldn't push its way through. Later on I added some left over heavy wire fencing to the door and the front to beef up the chicken wire. Next time I will use plywood or 2" welded wire covered with chicken wire for the ends.

LESSON LEARNED: Chicken wire sucks. Use alternatives when ever possible.

Nice and cozy inside, yet some sun and lots of ventilation. I think I will add some roost bars at the back and I need to build a feed trough (maybe out of plastic rain gutter) and get some "chicken nipples" for a 5 gallon water bucket. I will hang the water bucket from the peak near the door to make it easy to change out. And the feed troughs will probably sit on the corner braces so that they move with the house when I pull it to fresh grass each day.

Turns out that my new neighbor across the street raises Black and Blue Copper Marans (very dark brown eggs) and Ameraucana (blue Easter Eggers) on his small family farm ( and is making some decent money at it selling chicks this spring. He asked me to build him one or two of these hoop houses for his extra cockerels. I ended up using 5mm under-layment plywood on both ends but had to primer seal it because it wasn't exterior grade plywood. Here it is just before I put the tarp on. Its a little different but probably stronger than mine.


  1. Great idea for a little chicken coop. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank-you for showing this; would you please share the details and a materials list with me? We are expanding our flock in North Texas and I like what you've done... Thanks, David Newman.

  3. If you put next boxes and a roosting bar to this at the back would it be suitable for your chickens to sleep in for a few nights? Or do they absolutely need a house? I don't have to worry about predators where I live. And thought this might be nice for the warm summer nights and for putting here and there on my large lawn.

  4. With roost bars and nesting boxes it would be just as good as any co-op, other than it's probably over sized. An 8x8' footprint would be fine for a couple dozen chickens. I thought I didn't have to worry to much about predictors either, but learned the hard way that one loose dog in the neighborhood can wipe out your entire flock in a matter of minutes.

  5. I apologise to everyone that has asked me for plans / measured drawings. I moved and have been out of the chicken raising for over three years now. Out of sight out of mind. But I have gotten a lot of requests for plans for the hoop house and the automatic feeder. I will do my best to draw something up and post it here by early spring 2017. Thanks for your patience.

  6. Can you please tell me how you attached the cattle panels to the 2x4 frame?

    1. I just used galvanized "U" nails (a large staple). You could probably just use regular nails and bend them over the wire as well.