Mike Jay wrote:I received a question about the pallets and how to secure them. They are very heavy pallets which helps in this situation. I started with a row of cinderblocks just sitting on levelish ground. My ground is sandy so frost isn't much of a concern. Then I set the pallets on the blocks. I started at the coop, attaching the pallet to the coop. Then two more pallets got me to the corner and a shortened one got me to the door. Then I ran some wood along the top to help tie them together and keep the middle pallet from bowing out. And I braced the corner with a diagonal.
I attached some more construction photos so you can see how it kind of went together. The structural wood is mostly pallet runners which are 6' untreated oak 2x4s in this case.
Mike Jay wrote:Thanks Cecile! I do love these pallets. If you're ever in my area I can hook you up with as many as you can carry home. I didn't run the plastic down the outside of the pallet, maybe I should have. The holes are mainly exposed to the leaves on the inside.
I roll that plastic up to the first horizontal board during summer so there's more ventilation and it's cooler in there. They only hang out there in the summer if we're on vacation and we've locked them in.
William Bronson wrote: The best place I have actually scored heavy duty pallets at is behind a medical place that felt in scooters and chair ramps.
The consistently have long pallets made of strong wood,, and they want you to take them.
I have another place I found that advertised on Craigslist as an ongoing source, but I haven't been by there yet.
Menard's sells a 6mil plastic sheet with nylon reinforcement, supposed to last years, even on construction sites.
It's less than $85.00 for 20'x50',not too pricey, especially if it performs as promised.
Solar pool covers are often considered some of the best available flexible glazing, as they are actually insulating.
I think you pay it back with plenty of information of your own
Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:(I love this forum: Ask ye of little faith, and ye shall receive tons of very valuable info... for free!).
Laura Trovillion wrote:Thanks for getting back with me. The 16 foot cattle panels will actually be tied into the front of the coop at roof level which is 8.5 feet off of the ground so I will have plenty of head room. Because of this I am still a little concerned about air quality, although I am hoping the gaps around the doors on either end will provide enough ventilation. Otherwise, I am really excited to see how the hens and the compost work together generating heat next winter I will post build pix as we go! Thanks again for the inspiration!
Mike Jay wrote:Hi Laura, it sounds like the one end of your panels will be 8.5' off the ground and the other end will be on the ground? That will be plenty of head room. It may or may not be visible in the pictures but I have two beams running the length of the greenhouse to help with snow load. If I'm understanding your geometry correctly, those would be very helpful for you too (if you get much snow).
Or do you mean the top of the bend of the hoops will be 8.5' high where they meet the coop?
Maybe a better way of asking is: "Does the ridge of the cattle panel greenhouse parallel the coop wall that it attaches to or is it perpendicular?
Mike Jay wrote:In the winter I stab apples and other things onto the hooks so the birds can play tetherball with them. They're deliberately a bit higher than they can reach so they have more time to play.
Laura Trovillion wrote:Sorry for the delay, got caught up with family here over the holiday! I have realized that I didn't explain very well. Here is a rough sketch of what we have in mind. The coop faces south, and the view in the sketch is of the east side, which is closest to the house. Snow load could definitely be an issue, was thinking about horizontal beam supported by posts. Plastic on the structure only during winter months so I can grow crops such as winter squash, sweet potatoes and cukes on the framework to provide shade and food.
Mike Jay wrote:Hi Cecile, to clarify a bit, I only have a person door at one end. At the other end (against the coop) the beams just sit on wood blocks. In Laura's case she could do doors on either end or just a wall on one side to hold up the beams. If it's a long enough greenhouse (in the E/W direction), a post or two in the middle may not be in the way too much.
I believe the temperature inside the greenhouse in the dead of winter at night is barely warmer than the outside temp. During the day it's nice and luckily that's when the birds are in there. I initially had little dreams about growing stuff in there but I never pursued it and I'm not sure how it would work. I'm sure there's a way but I think you need to build the greenhouse first and see how to adapt to it. Laura's will be modestly bigger than mine with more room to move around.
Mike Jay wrote:I think the best opportunity for growing in the same greenhouse the chickens occupy would be either starting seedlings (protected shelf up high) or sprouting grain for them to then eat. In our climate (Cecile's and mine) that would be just a month at each end of the normal growing season.
Your right to curl it under. I didn't do that last summer and it held a witch's brew of goo. This year I curled it under. I simply hold it up with a few pieces of electrical wire (with the plastic insulation on it) that is wrapped around the cattle panel on the underside and around a screw on the outside. Easy peasy.
If you're much smarter than me, you use a piece of pipe to roll it around and you get another piece of thin wall PVC and cut 40% of it away and use that to snap the tarp onto the pipe.
Mike Jay wrote:Thanks everyone! I really like how it's attached to the coop. Then it's a protected run in the summer if we're gone for a few days (just leave them locked in). I haven't figured out how to do a full Edible Acres system with feedstock going in and compost coming out. I'd also have to import a bunch of scraps to make that happen. I am getting two buckets of food scraps a week that I put in there for the birds to pick over and to turn into compost. But that's a far cry from what Sean is putting in.
Next year I may try to figure out how to store extra leaf bags. Then in late winter I can add 40 more bags to make even more compost.