JustPicked Farms is planning to raise chickens and turkeys for meat this summer, and we’re planning to pasture them in movable hoop houses, moving them each day to a fresh spot of pasture. We did some investigation of others’ houses on the Internet, and used that as a basis for our design:
(2) 2x4, 10 ft, and (2) 2x4, 8 ft treated lumber. If you prefer to avoid treated lumber, you should use a rot-resistant lumber such as cedar, redwood, or cypress.
(2) 10 ft pieces of 2” PVC drain pipe (optional, but recommended)
(4) 16 x 16 x 22 5/8 triangles made from 3/4 inch plywood
Jig saw or hand saw
heat gun or propane torch
Gorilla glue (a polyurethane-based glue that cures when exposed to moisture. We’ve found this glue to be quite long-lasting, with excellent hold, and impervious to weather, making it great for outdoor projects.)
1. On the 10-foot pieces of treated lumber, mark 1 inch from the corner on one end, and 6 inches along one side. Cut this off with the jigsaw or hand saw. These will be the runners, like on a sled, that the hoop house will slide on. Cutting off the corner keeps the runner from digging into the ground as you drag the hoop house to its new spot. Repeat this for each end of the 10-foot pieces of lumber.
2. On the table saw, cut a strip out of each of the pieces of PVC pipe, so the pipe will fit over the short side of the runner.
3. Clamp it down, and use the heat gun or torch to heat the pipe at the point where your board begins to angle. Be careful if you use a torch to not heat it too much and burn it. Once the pipe is warm, bend it to follow the board. Do this at both ends of both boards.
6. Measure 6 inches from the one end of the runner board, and glue and screw one of the triangles onto the opposite side from the pipe. Do the same with the remaining triangles. If the weather is cold, set your glue bottle in a bowl of hot water to warm it. It will squeeze out of the bottle much more easily and spread better.
7. Now you’ve got both your runner boards with the pipe and triangles on them. Flip them over so that the pipe is facing up, and the triangles of one runner board are pointing to the triangles on the other runner board, and place them about 8 feet apart on a good flat floor.
8. Take your 8 foot treated lumber, and place one on edge, underneath the triangles at one end of your runner boards. Line up the edge of the triangle with the edge of the 8 foot board, and make sure the end of the 8 foot board is even with the outside edge of the runner board. Glue and screw the triangles to this board. Do the same with the other 8 foot board on the other end of your runner boards.
9. Flip the whole thing over so the plastic pipes are once again on the bottom. Now you have a sturdy, lightweight, smooth pulling base for your poultry hoop house.
Next week, we’ll continue with Part 2 of building our pastured poultry hoop house. Stay tuned!