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"
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...
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