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The Chicken Dome

The Chicken Dome is fashioned from the skeleton of a tarp carport that blew down in a storm 9 years ago, I took it apart and the pipes have been lying around ever since.

 

I needed a new enclosure for my Gang, I lost two birds to a fox, a beautiful EE pullet, and a charming EE cockerel.  While walking my property, like "Pooh", think think think... I spotted the pipes, all wrapped up in tarp, next to the garage, mostly hidden by 4' weeds... a spark!  and idea started to form, but could I do it??

 

The Arches I like!  but the legs are too long.  I do not need a 10 foot tall enclosure, how would I ever "skin" it?

 

so the legs, pictured above, were cut.  from 56" to 28" with a sawz-all.   

 

hardware cloth "skin",   Two 36" x 50' rolls.  I also had a 25' roll of "poultry fence"

 

 

my idea is starting to come to life!

 

cross bars were added by cutting the original cross bars down to 34.5", pounded flat, and a was hole drilled 1/4" from the ends and they were bolted in place. cross bars were added across the top for additional support

 

 

Let the skinning begin!  36"W hardware cloth was run over each arch, as each arch was placed 34 inches apart, there was overlap with each layer of "skin".  it is bolted to the frame at it's bolted junctions, as well as zip tied to itself, to the frame, and to the cross bars.

 

 

 

my friends came up to help... i needed a break!  my hands were chewed from the hardware cloth...

 

 

a door is made with poultry fence sandwiched between 1x3's

 

 

lacing in the coop ~ my friends brilliant idea to take apart the front panel of the coop and thread h.w. cloth directly into the seams and bolt it in place... really, genius...

 

 

inside peek

 

 

the other coop, made from an apple crate, has 2 nice roosts, no nest boxes, and is still not attached.  that will be completed this weekend!

 

 

the 2nd coop is now accessible!  the hardware cloth that will be used to enclose it is draped over and is ready to be nailed and laced into place.

 

it is secured in place with "Grip Rite Fas'ners" hot dipped galvanized 3/4" poultry net staples every 5th square, and a few heavy duty staples from a staple gun in the hard angle spots

 

I have long rock walls on both edges of my property and one strangely placed one in the back yard... I've been taking stones from there for a decade to use in other things... there are still thousands of stones... this time i was looking for big ones.  they are quite heavy and cover the 14" of h.w. cloth skirting.  Even if a critter manages to move them (highly doubtful), they still can't  dig their way in!

The door can open fully, and there is a 2x4 on the inside of the door which has two pipes 12" long staking it to the ground.

 

It's time to call it a night!  the coop and enclosure are completely sealed, it's safe, and the gang has moved in!  they can be seen happily jostling for roost space in the little top window...the long pieces of maple have been replaced by chunks of trunk like what can be seen in the lower left corner and surrounding the bath.

nest box security... that lid lifts off fairly easily, don't want any raccoon getting in!

 

the spare key... inside the door and by the roof... just in case

 

 

 

 

checking out the bath!  the dirt is so soft, and free of rocks, so to protect them I placed 1x4's along the corner and staked them in place with extra pieces of pipe.  the maple trunk chunks also help to keep them from being accessed from the outside should they dig aggressively in the bath...

 

Isis wants to know if Blu would like some help with that?  I brought in fresh grass clippings and wild flowers after mowing the lawn to keep the gang happy during the transition

 

Exploring the coop... I am really hoping that they will start using the nest boxes!  at 18 weeks... it could happen soon!

 

checking out the new roost... i don't even have it finished yet... there will be several roosts added this weekend when the other coop is laced in..

 

 

 

 

 

I'm still i the process of grommetting new sheets of vinyl to "shingle" in along the length, so in the meantime, I attached an umbrella to the feeder so help keep it dry, the chickens don't mind, and the basket will maybe hold 4 eggs... but because the entire unit is wire, I can clip and hang all kinds of things on it.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come Wintertime, I will place hay bales along the long sides, and "step" them up along the dome.  more vinyl will be added for shade and rain/snow block.

In Memory of Barney and Lily, the Chicken Dome will keep the rest of the Gang safe, and because I made it so large, I have room for 6 more birds.  I'm hoping one of the girls will be broody next year.  My cockerel Royce is a very gentle bird, soft crow, very sweet and handsome.

 

 

we had some rain... I threw a big tarp over 3/4's of the enclosure to keep things dryer.  it was nice this morning so i peeled a section of it back to let in the sun... my gang seems to prefer shade though.

we had some good supervised free range this afternoon and all headed home on their own, earlier than I planned... but hey... it's their home and they obviously like it...

 

 

the tray has new dirt for their bath area, i make great dirt from my compost.

 

 

 

 

So... I inserted the pictures of the 2nd coop being incorporated into the enclosure up above, sort of where they fit into the story, even tho' it's not really in the "produced" order... with all the banging and racket... I would have thought the gang would have been freaked out, but they were in and out of the apple crate all the while and then most of them settled in for a nice bath...

 

 

 

 

Barney and Lilly.  For 15 weeks and 2 days, you both had the best of the best. It may have been "swift", but I miss you both everyday, and I'm sorry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (7)

Sorry for your loss of two pretty ones.
I too know what it is like to lose chickens to foxes. Lost 3 of my original 4 chickens at one time. I keep working at hyping up security to prevent more kills. Just once I didn't shut the pop door this spring and I lost another chicken in the middle of the night!
Good luck to you in the future!
thanks, and sorry to hear about your losses as well.
I checked out your Chicken Dome, as you asked me to on the predator thread, and it is awesome!! You did a great job, and have presented me with several ideas. Eventually I would like to extend my duck run, and I want to eventually build a hoop coop to raise some meat chickens. Some day I dream of another hoop coop for some geese! My family thinks I have truly lost it. I am even looking into meal worm farming for my ducks. My mom almost fainted when I mentioned it - WORMS!!!! But, I am really enjoying it. My daughter and I moved up to East Texas from Houston three years ago to help out my elderly parents and I have been enjoying the horses since we got here. But now, I have my ducks and I am having a blast!
I don't think you've lost it at all, I think you've "found IT" when you have something that brings so much pleasure... it only makes sense to enjoy it to the maximum! I am looking into raising meal worms myself... I'm happy that I've been able to present you with several ideas, it's great to inspire another and in doing so, you will inspire others with what you come up with! can't wait to hear about what you build... and see some pics!
i just realized i never listed the actual dimensions:
it's 14.5'L x 12'W x 5.25'H
Thanks for "getting it"! That is really a nice-sized run. Our run is a nice size but when I put their pool in there it gobbles up a lot of real estate. I would like to extend the run and give them a "beach" around their pool, so the rest of the run would be open. That's one big difference with ducks - they want a place to swim. I work from home, which is great, but it means that I can't spend much time outside during the day with them. And than means they have to stay in the run. Too many predators, as you know.
Here is a picture of my flock of Welsh Harlequins, plus one Cayuga (the black one). It had rained that day so their run was muddy, and they had already gotten the water in their pool very dirty. I have since put down a layer of shavings in the run, which helps a lot. The night I took this photo I went into the run to close the duck door (and jam that big piece of wood against it so not even the smallest snake could get in), and between the mud and the duck poop I felt like I was ice skating! I was praying I would not go down, and I managed to keep my balance. I have ordered an automatic door for them going into the run, and I should have it by the end of the week.
I have tried over and over to paste a picture in here for you, and it does not appear to be working. Of course, when you open it, you will probably see five pictures of the same thing! IF not, just go to my profile page. You will see my duck pictures there.
I will go and look right away! with ducks... the pool is essential, so it's ok that it takes up a larger portion of their "run" after all...
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