Monday, June 27, 2011
Chook dome passes gale force wind test
While putting the roof on the chicken tractor and pegging it down with only light duty tent pegs, I began to question the design. "Is this thing going to be able to cope with strong winds?" I asked myself. Well I must have thought it too loud as the universe heard me and decided to help out by answering my question. The following day this was the weather report:
A significant cold front is expected to sweep northeastwards across central and eastern SA tonight. Strong to gale force northwesterly winds are occuring ahead of the front. Wind speeds are averaging 50-65 km/h with gusts in excess of 90 km/h. Locally destructive wind gusts in excess of 120 km/h are also possible, with squally showers and thunderstorms.
That night the rain bucketed down and the wind shook the windows. Out of concern for the chickens, I didn't want them part of the test, Melanie and I put on our wet weather gear and braved the storm to move the girls into their solid wood dwelling. To great amusement (shame on me) we found all four crammed into the single chicken nesting box. They seemed pleased to be moving back to their previous dwelling.
While out there amongst the gale I was amazed to witness the sturdiness of the chook dome. Apart from a bit of flapping of loose fabric the structure was solid as rock. And the next day expecting to see its roof in a neighbours tree, I was again joyfully impressed.
To continue on from Building a tractor that gose cluck cluck... I made the roof out of an old broken umbrella. As you can see it fits perfectly and provides 8 anchor points. I did first go and buy a rectangular tarp. However it didn't fit nicely and looked ugly. Each corner has been tied and pegged to the ground. It is import to not fasten the roof to the dome structure. If the wind does take the roof, then that's all it's going to take.
Using bamboo sourced from our local creek and some twine, I built a perch for the chicken to roost on.
For the door I made a cut across the top of one of the panels near the seam and attached a PVC pole. The pole is fastened at the bottom with a wire hinge, and the top is latched with a loop of wire. You can see another example of this kind of door here.
The last touch was to provide the girls with a place to nest. A took this pile of scrap wood and turned it into this:
They all rushed to check it out. Gerty however was the first to use it.
And look, the chook tractors first egg.