Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chook Dome Maintenance

After its five years of service, it was time to have a really good look at the chook dome. The UV-stabilised plastic twine I had used for bracing (following the original instructions in Linda Woodrow's book) had not worked well, as the chooks often tripped on it, and now it was starting to shred. When I untied it, I found that a couple of the joints had lost their wiring, so that was my first job. An intact joint is shown below.

The cross-bracing didn't seem to me to be necessary with my small-diameter dome, so I decided to just strengthen the upper joints with the good sections of twine.

I couldn't cover the lower joints without removing the netting, which seemed a bit much, as I wanted to move the girls in to their dome the same day.

What was the rush? I'd seen Annie sitting on wet ground. They only do this when they are afflicted with mites, to cool down their itchy undersides. While the girls had been mite-free for months, I think the butcher-bird I saw stealing their scraps a fortnight ago might have left them a return gift. After I had caught each girl and subjected her to the indignity of the spray-on parasite treatment, she was popped into the restored dome and set to work in my garden.

For more information on the structure and purpose of my chook dome, see this earlier post.

However, I am not the only creator of structures in the back yard. I suspect this is an artillery bunker, but the information is Classified.


Anonymous said...

Do your girls stay inside the dome all the time or just at night? If they are inside all teh time, how often do you shift the dome?

My girls (5) get locked in their cage each evening but have free range of the entire yard each day. On the upside, they are healthy and happy, on the downside, I have to fortify the vege patch.

Chookie said...

Yes, the whole time. There is a perch inside the dome for them and it's covered with a tarp to protect the girls from rain. (When not in the dome they prefer to perch out in the rain anyway!)
I shift the dome every 2-3 weeks, depending on how much the girls have done in it -- I have two chooks and the area under the dome is ~3.2 sq. m. While it's in one place, I add lawn clippings, hay from the piggie palace and so on, so that the chook poo is always mixed with plenty of organic matter.