Chicken run framing and stability questions


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Old 06-17-24, 10:48 PM
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Chicken run framing and stability questions

Hello! I am building a chicken run out of pressure treated wood. I don't know a lot about carpentry, but I do enjoy working with wood. I've built a very small shed before and a couple of other harmless things.

For this run, so far I've built an 8x6x24 (w * h * l) ft frame, basically. It is free standing, which is my big regret so far. I basically cut some 2x4s to 6 feet, and then screwed them to 8 foot 2x4s - or 4x4s in each corner of the entire run - and then screwed those all together. The problem is that it is super wobbly from left to right, which should be expected without anything running across the walls. I just tried adding sort of a middle, inside wall (where the ladder is) to see if that would help, but it didn't really do anything. I then tried adding another 2x6 (somehow went off center, as you can see) and that helped a lot, but just in that area.

Obviously, I need some kind of supports running width-wise, but I don't know what the best, sturdiest method is. I have a feeling straight 2x4s just going across also won't do anything. I've looked at tons of DIY chicken runs and much of them seem to use even less wood than mine, but aren't usually as long, but maybe they use better wood or techniques. The troubling bit is, I will definitely need to build a roof as we get snow, and since we will need to enter the run daily, I won't trust anything unless it's absolutely solid.

I'm attaching some pictures that hopefully paint the picture. Any advice is appreciated. I don't mind absolute hard truths here, so please be as blunt as possible. Thanks.


 
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Old 06-18-24, 01:18 AM
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You probably need something diagonal on each end, (an X would be best) and then ceiling joists to act as rafter ties. Once the ceiling joists are up, you can put shorter diagonals up to tie the walls to the ceiling joists (forming a small triangle in the upper left and upper right corners of the ceiling). Then your rafters will nail to the top plate and to the sides of those ceiling joists. So your first ceiling joist would be 1 1/2" in from each end, assuming your rafters will be flush with the gable end walls.

Each of the long walls would also benefit from corner bracing as well. Something that goes from the top of each corner down to the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle. This bracing can either be applied to the inside surface of the wall, connecting the top and bottom plate diagonally, or you can snap a diagonal chalk line and then cut shorter pieces to fit between the studs along that line. The more exact and tight fitting those pieces are, the better.

Alternatively, you could put short diagonals in the first section of each corner section of wall. Top left, bottom left in the far left end section... top right, bottom right in the far right end section... and do that on the 2 sections in each corner, and anywhere in between. (Forming an octagon shape in each section by making a triangle in each corner). But this will not be as strong as a continuous diagonal from top to bottom.

If you plan to have a doorway, you will also want these diagonals on either side of the doorway, and on the door itself to keep it square. This is why you often see a Z or an X on old barn doors and gates... they need some sort of structure to keep them square. When the structure flexes out if square, that is the wobble you are experiencing.
 
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Old 06-18-24, 05:11 AM
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I agree with XSleeper. Diagonal bracing would do a lot. You can use wood/boards or cables if you want them to be less visible.
 
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Old 06-18-24, 12:46 PM
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Thanks for the advice! I thought of "triangles" and I'm glad you confirmed it.

For my plan of attack: what I gather is for the joists, run 8ft 2x6es across, mounted to the top plate with these rafter ties. It seems that I could then run the rafters at 18.5 deg with birds mouth cuts and also tie those into the joists. And from your post, I could use the joists as support for the diagonal bracings. Does that make sense? Sort of basing my design off of this.

https://www.mycarpentry.com/image-fi...psTXWt6Mp.webp
 
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Old 06-18-24, 01:10 PM
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Don't forget collar ties or cables for your roof. They are labeled as ceiling joist in your drawing. They will prevent the weight of the roof from pushing the sides of your coop outwards.
 
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Old 06-18-24, 01:19 PM
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Oh yeah sorry, when I said joists I guess I meant collar ties I guess
 
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Old 06-18-24, 03:12 PM
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Collar ties go near the ridge, in the upper 1/3. Ceiling joists = rafter ties. They accomplish 2 different things.

Info: https://www.nachi.org/collar-rafter-ties.htm
 
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Old 06-18-24, 03:36 PM
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As far as bracing your ceiling joists to your walls is concerned, yes you can do that but you may be wishing you planned this out better because I'm guessing your wall studs may not be on an exact 16", 19.2", 24", 48" "on center" spacing. If they are, that's great. Because to use your ceiling joists for bracing, they would need to line up exactly with your wall studs, and your bracing would just go on one side of them both. Then the rafters would go on the opposite side of the bracing.

And if you plan to put plywood on the roof you will want the seams of your full sheets (your rafter layout) to be on one of those spacings mentioned above.

If you are doing a steel roof, you would not need so many rafters for a chicken coop... and the rafter layout is not so critical... even 32" on center would do... provided you lay 2x4 purlins (perpendicular to the rafters) across the top... top, bottom and 24-32" on center depending on the roofing you are using. Then the roofing screws to the purlins.
 
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Old 06-19-24, 06:51 AM
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Okay thanks, now I get the terminology. In the picture/layout I posted, it looked to me like the collar ties were rafter ties.

Plan is for a metal roof. I spaced the studs 32" OC which I hope will work. I've seen bigger builds with less wood, which confuses me, so I thought this spacing would be acceptable.

Just a bit confused about your post, really

- "to use your ceiling joists for bracing, they would need to line up exactly with your wall studs"
OK, exactly what I was going to do


- "your bracing would just go on one side of them both."
I don't understand what that means :S On one side of what?

- "Then the rafters would go on the opposite side of the bracing"
Hm, what do you mean opposite side?


So is it more important that the joists line up with the studs, or the rafters line up with the studs? Or do I split the difference, so to speak? I know there are a few styles.. One where you place the rafters on top of the joists after you cut the joists at an angle, and another where you use the birdsmouth cut and essentially place them beside each other.. but only one can go directly on the stud (or as I said, have both sort of use as much as the stud as possible?)
 
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Old 06-19-24, 10:01 AM
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Because to use your ceiling joists for bracing, they would need to line up exactly with your wall studs, and your bracing would just go on one side of them both
The subject nouns are "ceiling joists" and "wall studs", so that is what the word "both" refers to.
 
 

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