West Side Story

Today we built the roof for the west side of the chicken yard.

West side of the chicken yard

We started out with this: a "roof" made of bird netting. It's effective: no hawk has ever dived through it. But it's a pain in the butt to deal with overhead, because it tangles in anything and everything. To prep the fence for our work we rolled the netting back and to the side.

Placing an end beam

We started out by fastening one long beam to the top of the existing fence with bendable L brackets.

Strapping for the second end beam

Then we attached a short piece of wood to the side of the shed and used that to set the straps for the other side of the roof.

Setting the next beam in place

With the second beam in place we were ready to measure the length of the rafters. Since the yard is not perfectly square, and it doesn't matter, we measured each rafter before cutting it and just worked our way across.

Screwing in the first rafter

A roof like this is pretty simple to frame up.

Nailing down hardware cloth

When we had two rafters in place, we measured and cut some hardware cloth to cover the area between them. Using roofing nails with big flanges, we nailed the hardware cloth in place. We worked on one side of the cloth at a time, so we could take advantage of overlapping.

Ladder in the compost

To make things easier in the yard, I took apart the chicken gym and moved it out of the way. But the compost piles were still right where Noel needed the ladder at the end.

Strapped together

Here's a closer look at how we attached things. I'm not a big fan of toenailing, so we bought some Strong Tie fasteners to attach the rafters. And we had a bunch of straps from our Big Cabinet O'Strong Ties left over from various projects and abandoned on site by various contractors.

Dismantled chicken gym

And here's the dismantled chicken gym. I've been thinking of reconfiguring it to be more like the parts they use most often: a few staged perches and a shaded lower area. So this was a good excuse to take it apart and use the pieces to build something new.

Safety first!

And just to show you how much we care about safety, Noel climbed up on the fence to saw off an end that was a bit long. But note that he's holding the saw with the sharp edge facing away from himself. Safety first, kids!

We were a bit short on hardware cloth: our last opening was 30" wide and the stuff we had was 24" wide, so a run to the store is in order. But apart from that last bit of nailing, we got this whole project done in about three hours, including cutting a 2x12 into 2x6es.

The last remaining bit is the roof over the back of the shed, which we might make as a rain shelter so the chickens have somewhere dry to stand when it's raining. They refuse to go inside their room, though, so maybe they will stubbornly insist on standing in the rain even if we make them a roofed area.

posted by ayse on 05/23/10