Troyer T-14 vs Lonestar Alamo in Louisiana

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hmouch12
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:57 pm
Location: Addis, LA

Looking for some advice for all of you on the best house to get for my area, south Louisiana. We don’t have really cold weather here but we do get extreme heat. Last year I had two cheap houses that did well (8 pairs for my 2nd year), but were hard to lower and clean. I was looking to upgrade and buy either a Lonestar Alamo which is an aluminum house or the Troyer T-14 with polywood. I’m not sure which would do better in the warm weather and I’m also looking for opinions on the quality of each. Thanks in advance!
Hmouch12
2018-visitors only
2019 1 pair 5 fledged
2020 8 pair 32 fledged, great year!
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

I personally think that if you do choose aluminum or Tryoer style that you must vent heavily with PVC elbows and or 2 inch aluminum soffit vents. Gourds with PVC elbows would vent hot air the best. If you go with gourds, place two elbows about 2/3rds the way up the back. I use the threaded larger pvc elbows with silicone around the exterior elbow. Metal housing heats up fast as is very hot, unless you use extensive shading. Shading by a roof over the rack. I'm unsure how well polywood disapates heat. It would definitely be better than alamo aluminum.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
hmouch12
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:57 pm
Location: Addis, LA

Thanks for the advice Dave. Before I spend >$1,000 I wanted to get some input from the experienced folks like yourself here. Last year I had an old S&K barn and a homemade aluminum house on telescopic poles. While I had a great year in my book, I did realize after a storm snapped one of my poles in two that I need some quality housing if I’m going to do this long term. I think I’m leaning towards the Troyer T-14 because of the polywood option which should never rot but also because they use a 3” pole. The Lonestar system uses a 2” pole that I would think is not quite as strong. My plan would be to add tunnels to the T-14 and vents to help with heat. I definitely agree with your assessment of gourds, 5 of my 8 pair used gourds last year, but I still want to offer traditional housing as well. It looks like Troyer has a solid reputation based on feedback on this site, I just like reassurance before I spend that kind of money! 😂 Thanks again for the feedback!
Hmouch12
2018-visitors only
2019 1 pair 5 fledged
2020 8 pair 32 fledged, great year!
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

You are spot on with your choice of the polywood Troyer. I'm glad you choose the polywood T14. I have meet Mr. Troyer while in Kalona, Iowa at a purple martin workshop and seminar. I spoke with him about his design of the T14 and he was very knowledgeable about the needs of the martins and safety aspects of the T14. The polywood should be the coolest of the options available. It is also good to hear you will go with the 3 inch pole as it is much better than the metal house standard skinny poles. I wish you the best my friend. The venting you mentioned is so vital and it is great to hear you have plans to vent the T14.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2936
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

I don't know about the actual polywood itself as I have never seen it in person. I can tell you that I was building a new deck last year and while at Lowes I spoke with a rep that sells their composite decking, which I am assuming is similar to polywood. This was not the store salesman but the rep from the company that makes the composite deck material. He said they do not recommend it around pools because it gets so hot and people walk around a pool barefoot. I asked a friend of mine who had used it around his house and he confirmed that the composite deck boards got a lot hotter from the sunlight compared to regular wood deck boards. I would like to see a study done of the internal temps of a polywood T14 compared to a wood T14.

I can tell you since COVID there has been a big increase in Cedar prices. I built a T14 over the winter of 2018 going into 2019. I built another this past spring/summer (2020) and it was almost double the cost for just the cedar boards. The first one I built buying the boards from Troyers plans and the lumber was around 215.00. The one I built this summer, the same material list was around 380.00. I built it for a friend and he wanted me to build it. At that price it would have been better to just buy one from Troyer but he wanted me to make it for him.
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

This is good to know about the composite material being hotter than cedar or wood. I learn something new every day.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
Kegger
Posts: 116
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: Newbie in 2020: 2 pair of SY with 4 eggs each in Troyer Horizontals
fledged a total of 7 Martins

I built a 18/9 6 sided house out of 1/2"Veranda PVC cellular sheet from Home Depot last year.
Glued and screwed together, light and held up to 2 Florida tropical storms. I did a temperature check
during a 92-94 degree hot day after my Martins left and found a 1.5 to nearly 2 degree difference between
inside the compartments and ambiant air temps. roof panels are the 1/2 PVC material and vented to attic
via 2"PVC pipe chimney. I will build the next with a thicker larger cedar roof thou.Image
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Dave Duit
Posts: 1756
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

Kegger,
Thanks for the pic. You do great work and you should be congratulated. It is cool, strong and the martins will be happy to see a new home.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
hmouch12
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:57 pm
Location: Addis, LA

Kegger,

That’s slick right there! I wish I was that creative. Maybe one day you can share or sell those plans!
Hmouch12
2018-visitors only
2019 1 pair 5 fledged
2020 8 pair 32 fledged, great year!
Kegger
Posts: 116
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: Newbie in 2020: 2 pair of SY with 4 eggs each in Troyer Horizontals
fledged a total of 7 Martins

the basic plans for my 18/9 6 sided martin house are on cad, but i would have to edit some
changes i made during the build before sharing the geometry.
detioh11
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:24 pm
Location: St Johns, MI
Martin Colony History: 2015 A few Visitors
2016 1 ASY pair 4 eggs 4 Fledged
2017 ASY male returned chased off by starlings
2018 1 pair fledged 5
2019 3 Pair with nestlings and an ASY male bachelor and 2 SY males around all the time fledged 16

I built a T-14 out of the veranda PVC boards from Home Depot also. It has seemed to work well. It has held up well for 3 years. The PVC boards seem to hold paint for the roof colors etc as well. I had 3 pair nest in it this year. I think the glue is important to hold it all together. I have a cedar t-14 as well that I purchased. My birds seem to prefer gourds however. Both T-14’s have gourds it’s chirpy nests underneath and they always pick those first. 6 of my 10 pairs were in the gourds. I think I will put up a gourd rack next.
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