Posts Tagged chicken coop

Fine spring weather, BBQ and Chicken Coop update

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The good weather of early spring is here and perfect BBQ weather.

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Today I finally got round finishing the laying boxes for the chickens.  Bar a ramp we’re now ready for them. We did end up sacrificing the automated door which still doesn’t yet work. But it works well enough on manual so we’ll go with that so I get fresh eggs for ice ream making in the summer.

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Completely over engineered – the material bill was about £8. The blocks on the cleaning and inspection hatches work as both handles and lock for the doors. One turns and rests on the other to make sure they don’t accidently open on their own.

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The roosting bars are Sanded down to allow the chickens to comfortably perch of they want to.

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Of course when we finally mounted the nesting boxes we found out didn’t fit. So I had to re-engineer the wire doors.

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After our green house clean up the seeds Helen planted are coming along well and the mangetout is already well underway!

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Strangely another creature is taking over the garden now…

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The Chicken Run

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After about 7 years of wanting chickens, I finally got one step closer.  We’d already decided to dedicate the old allotment shed into a chicken house and had put in some supporting posts for the run last year.  I got up early on Sunday hoping to make a start however quickly realised I didn’t have any hinges and the shops shut at 1pm, so I took Sam for a ride down to the timber/hardware store to pick some up.  When I got back, it was already at midday.  By the end of the day I’d managed to get the basic frame up and the door.

 

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The roof is made out of 5 core polycarbonate.  It’s a conservatory grade insulating roof.  Why such a lavish roof?  Well, when my roof started leaking last year and this had mould inside the cores, I decided to replace it and had this spare.  It fits perfectly and has a little bit of an overhang which I’ve not yet decided whether I’ll keep or chop it off.  Either which way, I’m sure the cats will enjoy sunbathing up there and similarly the foxes won’t find it easy to get in being that it’s so solid.

On Monday, again, it was a slow start.  I’d decided to have a relaxed evening, so we popped out and bought some pork belly, german wheat beer and raspberries (for ice cream).  We were back about midday and I got on with painting the frame with a couple of coats of fence treatment.

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By about 1:30 we started the task of digging the shallow trenches to lay the mesh in.  We followed up by laying the mesh and stapling it to the frame.

I bought the entire 30m roll from Hills of Devon (http://www.hillsofdevon.co.uk/)  – A16 on their site which is 1/2″ x 1″ x 48″ x 30m (bit of an odd mix of measurements, but there you go.  It’s 1mm thick, or 19 gauge in old money – I would have preferred 1.6mm/16 gauge, but it’s not available in the mesh size and length I wanted.  I didn’t use chicken wire because foxes can tear through it with their teeth if they gain purchase on it.  Welded mesh is tougher when it’s pulled because instead of being twisted in place (and therefore can stretch) each point is welded meaning if one link goes, the rest should hold fast.

We laid it flat under the soil because foxes generally tend to dig by the mesh, not having the brains to start digging a foot or two back to dig under the metal.  You don’t need to bury it, you can leave it on top of the grass and just let the lawn grow through.  For aesthetics and to stop small babies playing with sharp ends of wire, I buried ours.

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You can see the above buried.

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Inside view of the door.

 

 

 

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We decided to do the bottom panels out of individual sheets of metal.  For the 2nd and 3rd layers we used a continuous sheet 170″ long.  The wire runs right up to the top to stop wild birds getting in.  Because we used three layers we got quite a lot of overlap.  The middle and lower almost have double all the way round.

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I still need to lay more down from the shed into the ground to stop things tunnelling in and do the door (and bit above) as well as the inside of the shed as it’s partitioned to put the mower away.

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Rain

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If you missed the national news on Essex, you may have missed the floods. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-23831558

It was wet.

You can see the water pouring out of the gutter.  This is because we filled all 3,000 litres of the IBCs in a couple of hours.  The water pouring out is actually overflow because it has nowhere to go.

 

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To the left, you’ll see the chicken coop project I hoped to start today.

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Under the squash leaves, it’s a foot deep.

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Arduino powered chicken coop pop door!

On Thursday, I saw a really cool idea on ebay, an automated chicken pop door.  £85 though was not for the faint hearted.

My friend Gary had some motors, but no knowledge how to do the timing circuits.  My friend Ben however had that sort of stuff sorted.  He’d been to a google conference and given an Arduino.

With a little technical know how and lots of electrical tape, an idea was born.

The door was 2×2 routed with a small hole for sliding.  Pulleys made light work of the weight so a small servo motor could be attached.  You do need a continuous rotation servo though.

Adding in the code and the Arduino in situ:

 

It works wonderfully.  Total cost, about £50.  So it’s a saving.  Not including the wood and pulleys, but the £80 door wouldn’t have included those either.

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