Dome Details

Back in Albany we built a dome as outlined in Linda Woodrow’s book Permaculture Home Garden.  However we adapted the dome to make it half of the area, so it was only 6 sqm inside, but left the upright poles the full length which made it a tall dome.  Our chickens needed a chair to help them reach the roost.  It was good but the white poles were a bit inclined to snap under pressure – and the half size put them under more pressure.

Here in Tasmania we decided to make our domes out of rural poly pipe instead.  This pipe is cheaper and should last a lot longer but is less rigid.  In order to make up for the less strength in the pipe we decided to make a geodesic dome frame as described on the web (search for geodesic chook dome and you will find it, complete with differing sizes and instructions).

We used mainly 1.0″ diameter poly pipe, though a few bits were 0.75″ since we had some lying around.  I would not recommend making it with a smaller size than the 1″, larger sizes would give added rigidity.

We tied the bottom connections with wire,

but the upper connections with cable ties which made the job much faster.

First stage of dome complete.

Frame complete.

The dome was covered in chicken wire mesh.  We used heavy chicken wire as we were wanting a second layer of protection against predators such as Tiger Quolls and Tasmanian Devils in case they got through our electric fence.

We were concerned at first that the poly pipe frame would not have the strength to hold up the roost with 12 birds, but once the wire was tied on with cable ties again, giving added strength; it seemed to be managing okay.  Our roost is just two long pieces of timber with slats nailed to them which is resting on the poly pipe and going slightly through the mesh on both sides of the dome.  We have since made more domes using the lighter chicken wire which struggle a little with the weight of the chooks, but they are staying up so far.

The finished product with wood frame door made to fit and tarp on the top.  All behind the 9 wire electric fence for safety.

Just add chooks.

We have since wrapped more tarps around about half of the side of the dome as we live in a wet and windy area and felt that the girls needed more protection from inclement weather.  These tarps have been cable tied directly onto the wire mesh of the dome, directly against the advice of the book, and as yet we have had no domes blowing away.  That experience is no doubt yet to come. 🙂

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