Sunday, 20 November 2011

October 2011 - Major Domos for the chickenos

Basic dome structure
So after having been on a very inspiring and life changing Permaculture Course the weekend prior to this, we decided we had to try and build our own chicken domes.

This decision came about because we could see that the chickens we had in the wooden tractor weren't thriving as they should despite having plenty of greens to scratch, and being given extra mielies as well. So off we went to get materials for a dome. This is what we bought for a dome with a 2m diameter:

With a door
6,5m of 50mm irrigation pipe for the base
3 lengths of white 20mm conduit pipe
8m of 20mm irrigation pipe (this will be enough for the center ring plus the door. You must size the center ring to fit more or less halfway down the dome)
1 x 50mm connector piece for base
1 x 20mm connector piece for middle ring
4 x 20mm elbow connectors for door
10m ogies draad or jakkals draad
Bind draad for the shade cap
4m shadecloth for shade cap
Large cable ties and small cable ties
20mm wood drill bit. 

the completed dome - wire and all
With the materials listed here we were able to build one dome, clad it with ogiesdraad (chicken wire), and make a shade cover for the top. I have to add though that getting the chicken wire to fit nicely is rather tricky, kind of like trying to clad a cylinder but keeping within the physical constraints of the wire at the same time.. not easy. Basically to clad it neatly one has to cut wedges into the chicken wire and then overlap the pieces so that the wire is neat at the bottom, but overlaps at the top by about 15-20 cm.

After this we moved the dome to the veg patch, and designated a spot for the dome to be. We then build a ladder out of droppers/sticks for the chickens to roost on, and this was placed inside along with water, and a box for the hens. The best box, we heard from Hazel, was the rear end of a lawnmower.. and by jove it works like a charm!. We have moved Mr. Rooster and his two hens, Kleintjie and Squeak to the dome. They are happy there, and Kleintjie has started to lay eggs. We are still waiting for Squeak to follow suit, but she is not a typical chicken.. lol.  

Jan showing how the door works.

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