Tyvek for Chicken Tractor? Opinions on this stuff?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by fin29, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,622
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    We're looking for a durable but lightweight covering for the tops and sides of our chicken tractors, which are 10'dx12'w. We're starting to think about Tyvek house wrap. As far as I know, it's tough and puncture resistant, waterproof, it comes in white so it'll reflect the sun, and it's relatively cost effective provided it lasts a couple of seasons. I can get it in 8' rolls, which is enough to use one width for the roof without having to do any overlaps or seams. I was thinking I still need to figure out a "joist" system to prevent sagging during heavy rains, a problem we had with regular tarps. But does Tyvek even stretch under pressure? OTOH, the new chicken tractor design will have a pretty severe angle to the roof--maybe 4' at the front down to 1-2' at the back--kind of a leanto design. So I'm thinking there may be no need to worry about sagging, but maybe I'm wrong? We usually cover the roof with chicken wire before adding the tarps.

    As far as attaching it to the tractor, I'm thinking sheetrock screws with plastic washers where the screws hit the Tyvek. I can predrill the holes if the screws will twist the Tyvek when I'm putting them in. Nails are not an option due to the stress on the chicken tractor every time it's moved.

    Anything I'm not thinking of?
     
  2. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,402
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    all I can say it is try it,

    I don't think it will work as well you hope,

    MY guess is your looking for a light weight material for the sake of moving the frame around,

    I would think thin fiber glass roof sheets (like the tin but out of fiber glass) used in sky lights of steel sheeted farm buildings or for green houses or patio covers,

    the other material I might look into would be that plastic card board like material it is clear or white,
     

  3. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR
    if its windy there it wont take long to rip off the way you want to put it up and its not cheap 10 foot high x100 feet long is about 125 dollors
     
  4. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,622
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    That's $12.50 per chicken tractor--not expensive in my book.

    As far as the ripping goes, if I have it secured on all cut sides with wood slats, wouldn't that stop the ripping? I personally can't imagine what kind of wind could rip Tyvek unless it was flapping around due to being improperly secured to begin with. Is there a better way to secure it on besides the screws, washers, and wood slats?

    Fiberglass roof sheets aren't an option for me--they're brittle and sharp, they don't block enough light to keep the birds cool, and around here they're about $18 a sheet, which I believe is 3x8 or 3x10. I've looked into opaque polyvinyl corrugated sheets and they're the same price.
     
  5. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR
    i guess if you fasten it real good at the ends

    i would screw straping at the ends the smallest i ever see it is 5 foot x125 feet
     
  6. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    I would think if you secure Tyvek, it will help against wind penetration. I might also consider roll roofing, heavy mill plastic sheeting, 1/2" styrofoam pink sheets, or anything like that...and whichever is cheaper. Around here sometimes the mill has bulk rolls of thick canvas that lasts long. It would work great too.
     
  7. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,622
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    :haha: Well, moonwolf, you've pretty much listed everything we've already used, including the vinyl-coated canvas (they called it oilcloth at the mill here in town), which is servicable but it sags. We looked at the pink styrofoam sheets last weekend at Home Depot, but again, the cost--about $9 a 4x8x1/2 sheet--and I'm not sure it's waterproof if it really gets soaked.

    As far as roofing, isn't that stuff really heavy? The only rolled roofing I can picture is asphalt paper--the black rough stuff that's about 2 feet wide on rolls.
     
  8. Yankee1

    Yankee1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I used it for a small chicken coop roof over plywood for 5 years and it was still fine when the coop was taken down.
     
  9. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    998
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    SC Kansas
    I purchased some curtain material from scroungecentral.com which is part of farmtek.com. They sell partial rolls, leftovers, and so on. A roll that was 48" X 300' cost me $105 shipped. This stuff seems to be better quality than the tarps you can buy, it is white, so i reflects the sun, and it keeps the rain out. They also sell a super tape that can be used to tape pieces together to form wider tarps. For now, I am just overlapping them on my hoophouse made with cattle panels. They are only fastened on either end with staples, and have withstood some pretty good winds already. I have found that if the wind is flapping them too much, I can run some nylon rope over the top, back and forth in a zig zag, and it helps keep the tarp from flapping, which helps keep it from tearing. This past winter, I had clear plastic 4 mil old leftover plastic on my hoophouse, and it managed just fine. It is now tearing, but I am replacing it with the new material.
     
  10. Pa funnyfarm

    Pa funnyfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    539
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Location:
    PA
    Sounds like the "stuff" I scrounged for mine a couple of years ago. It had first been in service covering a large dog run for 2 years. I used screw in cup hooks on the sides at the top of frame with grommets (also scrounged from someone elses project) in the plastic and on the actual roof screwed thru the plastic to the frame. Ours has chicken wire all around and across the top and one end has hinged gate that lifts up from top back and drops down from top to center my ds and dh rigged so I can get inside if needed. We live on an always windy hill and gusts can get bad during summer storms. The first year, I'd go out and take them off (hence the cup hooks :) of the sides if they were whipping around too much. (the girls have a small moveable house the tractor slides up to so they don't need the sides covered from rain) Improvised since using scrap (I think) 1 bys on top to better hold the roof piece in place and leave them on year round now. I put piece of light rope under each cup hook on the side, then the plastic, then other end of the rope has several levels "looped " along it so I can either leave the plastic down for shade in the summer, or adjust part way thru the day so one side is down part way, other side up all the way to ventilate, add shade depending on where the sun is. Our hill also has little tree cover in the back yard where we move the chickens around. It's going on year 3. Next time I'm going to forget the house on wheels (ds is the only one who can move it!) and just cover one side of the tractor solid. Good luck!
     
  11. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,622
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    Do you recall what type of curtain it was, as there seem to be so many. I'm looking at the 6 oz. Black/White Polymax--the black side shades the birds and white reflects the sun. I see 45"x300' for $85. It's the stuff on the right. How different is this from regular tarp?


    [​IMG]
     
  12. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    Pink or the yellow closed cell styrofoam is impervious to water. It can break down with UV (sun) exposure over time, but that would be many years. My neighbor had pink styrofoam on his house for about 5 years before he got around to putting siding over it. None of it blew off, and we have strong winds on the hill here. It didn't look sun damaged, but it did fade a bit.
    One thing about styrofoam is that it's definitely light weight. I would stay away from the white styrofoam like the stuff in styrofoam cooler. It'll fall apart in a breath.
    If you use the Tyvek, good luck with that, and keep us informed on how it works out.
     
  13. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    998
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    SC Kansas

    I can't find my invoice right now, but I believe that 6oz white is what I got, and I think that it was actually 45"X300'. It was $85 plus shipping. The 6 oz is pretty good. I actually got them to send me a sample earlier when I ordered something else. They sent a piece of 6 oz about 24" square to see the quality. I really like it, and it seems to be strong.
     
  14. MichelleB

    MichelleB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    I've got some experience with Tyvek, and I've considered doing exactly what you propose!

    I purchased Swiss (Swedish?) Camo Netting, which is essentially a white Tyvek tarp with holes laser-cut into it. I used it to skin a hoophouse shelter I built for desert camping. It's held up for two weeks in high winds, fastened to PVC ribs with zip-ties. Not a rip.

    I also scrounged some builder-grade Tyvek (the type with the logo on it) and I believe it's a bit thinner. This is what I would try using for my chicken tractors.

    You can machine-wash Tyvek to make it more pliable, providing it's been cut down to a more manageable size.

    Using washers would be a good idea to protect holes from nails. I'm thinking I might use some sort of silicone to make my own grommets.

    Thanks to all who have posted links for shadecloth. I'm looking for good sources for remnants, as this is another option for my own chickie tractor builds.

    Michelle
     
  15. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

    Messages:
    3,340
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
  16. goodlifefarmer

    goodlifefarmer Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    FL
    TYVEK BREAKS DOWN IN SUN LIGHT.the grey stuff is stronger and holds up in sun light.i used to build with tyvek but now i use the grey stuff.i've left it on barns several years before i saw any breakdown.the owners did'nt have the money for siding at the time and it held up until they did.
     
  17. twstanley

    twstanley Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    Tyvek breaks down from uv exposure unless it has been improved recently.

    I had a boat cover made from tyvek a few years ago, actually had several as they kept failing after a month or two and I kept sending them back for replacements under warranty.

    I finally gave up and had them send me a normal canvas cover.
     
  18. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    500
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    I just picked up two (2) 12' x 25' vinyl billboard signs for free at the local outdoor advertising company. They made me promise I wouldn't use the advertising in an inappropriate way (like painting the word "Sucks" in front of the advertised product and hanging it from a public place) since they would get in trouble for not destroying them. I promised I would use them advertising side in.

    I'm excited about the material since it looks like it's strongly reinforced (with a string woven mesh) and is has a nice vinyl coating which looks durable. It would also be UV resistant too. AND FREE.

    Appaerently the advertiser pays to have the signs made and sends them to the billboard company for installation. After they tire of paying the rental fee they can either choose to take it back or ask the billboard company to dispose of it. If you catch the right person at the billboard company they may sell them to you or give them to you.

    Please don't abuse this tip by picking them up and reselling or misusing them. I don't want to get my supply cut off

    14 x 48 is a common size too.