coop deployment on the Domestead

This is an article which describes my attempt to keep chickens on Mars, maximizing resources found in situ, and more specifically where I am at...
By Chick-N-Daddy · Oct 25, 2018 · ·
  1. Chick-N-Daddy
    With the cost of transport to Mars being what is is these days, I had to forego some luxuries like hard-scraped hardwoods and really consider the cargoes and supplies I needed to source from Earth in a reasonable time, if at markup (fresh seeds, eggs or day olds), versus those I would be likely to find on-site such as pallets, used fencing, old tin or plastic siding, even ancient ship-lap panels.

    The Domestead we bought is clearly used. It is actually a series of smaller hand-made units and add-ons. A small airlock reconfigured as a bathroom, or a larger cargo-lock as main living quarters. OK, it's really not as bad as it sounds, but it's also not that far off. Each room of the house was built after the other and I don't think there ever was a '1st room.' There are no building codes or inspectors here, yet I still knowingly bought the place <cough owner="motivated" motivation="method" method="CASH - literally"> $38.5k, 2100 sqft, 3bd, 2ba, ~1/3 acre </cough>. So, play along with me on the whole Mars bit - it makes a fun narrative. Also, the nearest *anything* is a significant portion of the day away, then back again sometime tomorrow, maybe.

    So, yeah, Mars. Not colonizing but Terraforming!! The soil here is in pretty bad shape but I've done a bit of research on that and believe that I can work toward building a viable ecosystem with what I bought. I know that this is not an overnight thing but rather a decades long project, and that having chickens on Mars is critical for the long term soil development and ecosystem maintenance (and can deliver part of a healthy breakfast).

    On arrival, we had a few months over the summer to begin prep work. We set up a brooder in the primary living quarters and ordered the day-old chicks. 6 weeks later, it is late October. Overnight temps are going to be consistently below freezing in a few days. My flock has seen a few nights this past week with temps that low and seem to have not even noticed.

    You may recognize the coop tin this pic. The run attached to the coop is pretty small, but the roost / sleeping area itself seems like it should do the flock of 5 quite well for overnight comfort.

    Using in-situ components I turned a few old pallets into a rough cube for what will be an approx 3'x3' (a bit smaller) addition to the run.

    The space to the left of the pallets is about 4'-5' along the neighbor's fence.

    Looking along neighbor fence line. Nestboxes secured with log. The space is kindof wedge shaped. On this end it is about 4' from the chainlink to the leftern edge of the enclosure.

    Pallet structure is a few inches from chainlink fence.

    Better perspective on the pallets and how the commercial coop structure sits.

    On this end, I will use chicken wire to build a roll-up door so they can come out that side instead of relying on the little one on the commercial coop.

    See that other commercial coop on the top right? I ordered one coop and received an extra of that box (box 1 of 2) I think, in addition to a complete one - shrug. Bonus for later expansion I guess.

    The area I will use for the run, longer term, will be into the are on the left. I want to build a more predator proof run for sure, and when I do, it will basically fit the space show here; though will likely change a few things around for optimal workflows.

    As soon as we landed I performed some rough biological testing in the native soils. These are a variety of Beets. We got them in pretty late and the soil is depleted, so we really don't have much harvest. I enhanced with what I had available but still poor results - neighboring colonists were nonetheless impressed.

    Kanga and Roux enjoying their bath time.

    I generally allow the flock into the run unsupervised most of the day, peeking in on them from time to time, but will often sit with coffee or beer and let them run around a larger mostly-fenced section of the yard.

    As I do my morning chores, I feed the chicks, and let them follow me as my chores take me further from the back door.

    The green tote is a cracked one I got from a neighbor. I don;'t mind cracked. I'm a litle cracked, most of frinds are a bit cracked. Ain't nothin wrong with cracked. I drilled a few holes in the bottom for drainage, filled it with some young compost I'd been working on from yard & veg trimmings, and bought a pint of fishing worms. Chicks really love em! Usually, I try to find all of the worms in the yard before the chickens and throw em in there.

    Then after chores, it's back into the little run until sundown. At sundown, they are already self-tucked-in and purr-trilling away happily.

    A neighbor contributed a big roll of the orange fencing you see, as well as a couple of dozen t-posts, and chicken wire. Another asked if I'd take an old shed apart and take the salvageable lumber and the tin siding (of course I would, thankyaverymuch!).

    Massive bags of compressed wood chips & shavings are only $10 here on mars, so I'm using it everywhere I can on the landscape to help rehabilitate it, choke out weeds, and transform it into something fertile - again, decades, not overnight. Will be layered with a variety of chop & drop greens - building a deep-litter style compost *everywhere* in my yard and letting it just go from there for a few years - THEN the actual terraforming can begin.
    Wish me luck :fl

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    paintedChix, townchicks and N F C like this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. MROO
    "Good ideas, fun to read, but a bit confusing"
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Oct 31, 2018
    This is a fun article, but bouncing back and forth on the Mars references make it a bit of a tough read. It will be interesting to see how the "terraforming" pans out in the longer term. Sounds like a good start!


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  1. N F C
    It will be interesting to follow along on your projects!

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