The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

StarPlate construction day 1

using star plates to build a chicken coop
There's a small learning curve on this new star plate building method.

We plan to level up the downhill side when we get the roof frame on.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Ah, the simplicity of a 1v dome! Twenty five 2x4s and 11 connectors making 15 identical triangles. I used to build them out of rolled up newspaper and a stapler for my kids to play in.
Comment by Eric in Japan Thu May 23 18:57:19 2013
I am just trying to get an idea how big this thing will be... What size are the posts?
Comment by Christopher Scoggin Thu May 23 19:06:19 2013
Christopher --- We chose to use 8-foot lumber so we wouldn't have to do any cutting (with 10-foot pieces on the roof, creating a 2-foot overhang). The instructions say that will result in a building that's 11.5 feet tall at its highest point, 12 feet wide, and 110 square feet.
Comment by anna Thu May 23 19:18:33 2013
I've been intrigued with the Star Plate for a loooooong time, and am happy to see you guys trying it out. Really looking forward to seeing your progress and outcome!
Comment by Nathan Strange Fri May 24 10:51:40 2013

I am very excited to see this project! And it looks to be very good sized.
I am debating on the design and "permanence" in building a coop for my laying hens and multipurposing the space for brooding chicks and well as seedling starting.
I've tried a cattle panel "hoop coop" but and not overly impresses with it. A bit too flimsy and less than secure. Is moving the dome in the plans? As in utilizing electic net fencing and moving the chickens. Can't wait to see developments and the implementation of this dome used for poultry housing. Always a plus to learn from good folks like Mark and Anna. Thanks.

Comment by Kenny Vaught Fri May 24 13:40:55 2013

Kenny --- Our farm isn't really appropriate for electric fences, for reasons too complicated to go into here. So this will be a stationary coop with paddocks that we rotate the animals through encircling it.

However, I'd say you could definitely make one of these starplate coops moveable as long as you keep whatever you finish it with light. (Perhaps mostly hardware cloth if you're just doing broilers in the summer.) Once you get all of the triangles together, it's astonishingly solid and resilient.

Comment by anna Fri May 24 14:14:18 2013

Anna, that's construction 101. Triangles are inherently stable structures, even if the ends are just pinned together. That's the main reason trusses are made out of triangles.

If you want to make a stable rectangle (like your chicken pasture doors) you either have to brace the corners or add a cross beam. In the latter case, it would really be two triangles sharing one side. :-)

Comment by Roland_Smith Fri May 24 17:52:24 2013
I see by the dates that this project occurred some three years ago. I hope you're still answering questions on this. We are beginning to make a structure for our ducks. I am wondering if you used square end struts or if you beveled the ends on the roof and horizontal struts.
Comment by Sam Murphy Mon Apr 11 14:34:04 2016

Sam --- Yep, our coop (turned goat shed) is finished and happily housing critters. You might enjoy this post for overall thoughts on the process or this one about putting on the roof.

To answer your actual question...I'm guessing you mean the ends of the two by fours where they go into the metal starplate bracket? If so, then no we didn't bevel them --- we just used the square ended struts.

Comment by anna Mon Apr 11 19:40:59 2016

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