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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm building a new chicken coop. I'll attach a picture so my description might make a little sense. The picture isn't mine, so the dimensions are different.

The short roof gains 1' over a 6' length. The long roof covers 10' length and goes up 5'. The coop is 8' wide. We can get heavy snow loads here. My current plan is use 2x6 pine boards for the roof boards (rafters?), and use 5 of them, so 2' centers. I don't really know what kind of pine, just whatever the big box store here has. They just list it as pine. Will they be strong enough? Do I need more of them, or bigger boards? Did I leave out some critical information that is needed to answer my questions? Sorry for the terrible terminology, this isn't my field, so I don't know what anything is called.


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For handling a heavy wet snow load I would plan on spacing them 16 inches apart, center of one rafter to the center of the next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For handling a heavy wet snow load I would plan on spacing them 16 inches apart, center of one rafter to the center of the next.
I could do that. I could also go to 2x8s. I have no idea which is better. The original plans are from Minnesota where they get similar snow loads, and they said to use 2x4s. The book was written in the 20's I believe, so I'm sure they meant true 2x4s rather than dimensional 2x4s.
 

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You could use bigger rafters or you could use more rafters. If you wanted you could space them 12 inches on center and use 2x4's. Or you could use 2x8's and space them 2 feet on center. For better support you could add in cross members between the rafters. Run the numbers and see which way works out better for you.
 

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I think framing studs are closer to being true 2x4 than dimensional lumber. Last time I looked framing studs were cheaper than dimensional lumber.
 

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For handling a heavy wet snow load I would plan on spacing them 16 inches apart, center of one rafter to the center of the next.
To add to that i would use one 2x6 under the ceiling rafters half way between front and back of the building for more support for the roof. Also don't forget the blocking between the 2x6 ceilling rafters. Blocking 2ft. apart.
 

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To add to that i would use one 2x6 under the ceiling rafters half way between front and back of the building for more support for the roof. Also don't forget the blocking between the 2x6 ceilling rafters. Blocking 2ft. apart.
Pine is ok for raftes as long as they are well seasoned I hve used a lot of pipe because i have a lot of pine and cut my own lumber up however if buying from store i would buy Douglas Fir rafters and studs. It will not bent as much as pine when kilm dried.
 

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Pine is ok for raftes as long as they are well seasoned I hve used a lot of pipe because i have a lot of pine and cut my own lumber up however if buying from store i would buy Douglas Fir rafters and studs. It will not bent as much as pine when kilm dried.
Also if using 2ft. on center if span is 10ft or more use 2x8 rafters
 

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2x6 will be more than fine for a 10' span. If it's also 10 x10 you will need 6 boards on 2 feet centers. Here is where it gets tricky. If you do 2 feet centers you will also need minimum 3/4" plywood because anything less will not span the rafters. With the price of plywood it would be better to go with more rafters.

Unless you are using a metal roof. Then, your 2 feet centers will do fine if you use lath running across the rafters to hold the metal up.

But yes, 2x6 is plenty for 10 foot.
 

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2x6 will be more than fine for a 10' span. If it's also 10 x10 you will need 6 boards on 2 feet centers. Here is where it gets tricky. If you do 2 feet centers you will also need minimum 3/4" plywood because anything less will not span the rafters. With the price of plywood it would be better to go with more rafters.

Unless you are using a metal roof. Then, your 2 feet centers will do fine if you use lath running across the rafters to hold the metal up.

But yes, 2x6 is plenty for 10 foot.
 

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A 2x6 will span 12 feet on the floor with no support per current and common engineering charts

A 2x6 will span 16 feet 4 inches on a roof with a pitch greater than 3/12.

Your pitch is better than twice that so you could go even more. You don't have to though because you only need 10 feet.
 

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For that structure, 2x4 on 16 inch center, will be plenty adequate. The longer span is at such a high pitch, that roof won't hold much snow. The flatter roof is only a 6 ft span. For lumber, construction grade spruce would be fine. Doug For is nice, but overkill IMHO.

I built a bunch of woodsheds, garden sheds and a mini greenhouse from recycled lumber up here in the frozen north, all 2x4 and no structural failures.
 

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Will you be replacing the chicken wire with hardware cloth?
That is a must in my opinion. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a chicken snake running the top of my pen looking for a way in. I just relocate them to the shop where they have to find rats instead.
 

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That is a must in my opinion. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a chicken snake running the top of my pen looking for a way in. I just relocate them to the shop where they have to find rats instead.
It's also very easy for larger predators like raccoons and fox to break through.

I can't tell from the picture, but staple the hardware cloth on the outside of the building so predators can't push their way in.
 

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It's also very easy for larger predators like raccoons and fox to break through.

I can't tell from the picture, but staple the hardware cloth on the outside of the building so predators can't push their way in.
It's what I would do too. I actually built mine on concrete and placed chain link poles (galvanized) into the concrete. Then I used wire instead of staples. It's been there 27 years so far.

To me, the concrete makes it easier to clean. I remove and place chips in it on Easter and Thanksgiving. I don't have chickens currently because I have been working out of town.
 

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I wouldn't staple hardware cloth. I would frame it between 2 strips of wood and screw the strips together making sure the screws go through the holes in the hardware cloth and not on the outside edge. Overkill, yes. But there are a lot of determined raccoons here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Will you be replacing the chicken wire with hardware cloth?
I have that front wall built already, and yep, I used hardware cloth. I do that as much to keep the chickens in as too keep other things out. I've had to many baby chicks stick their heads out and had them bitten off. I also do as mentioned and staple the hardware cloth, and then put a trim board around the edges that is screwed on. Staples work loose after time and weather and raccoons can pry the screen off. The other windows and door will be built the same.
 

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Looks like it will be a nice coop and you should post pics of your progress and completion.
I used to build coops with multiple roof pitches and outside access, etc; these days I usually go with plain old 10'x12', 16'x12' or whatever I feel I need. I put the roosting boxes inside with a sliding door for the chickens and a 36" walk in door for me. Function over form.
I'm zone 7a or b and I use 2x4s on 24" centers with metal over 2/12 flat roof or less.
Open eaves for good ventilation.
 
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