Dec 13, 2008

Making a Chicken Dome - Day 2

The making of our chicken dome continues. Day 1 is here. We managed to erect the general frame of our PVC pipe chicken dome but hadn't crossbraced it (made it stable), or put chicken wire and a door on. Day 2 is crossbracing day.

You will need:
twine (we used sisal 'garden twine')
a crochet hook (or equivalent piece of wire)

The bracing is really important for giving the dome strength and stability. At the end of Day 1 the structure was very wobbly. Now it can be picked up easily from the side without it losing its shape.

First you make a 'skirt' of diagonal crossbracing, circling the dome, between the base of the dome up to about 30cm from the ground.

This is followed by horizontal crossbracing between each vertical strut, at that 30cm level, creating a support ring made of twine, 30cm from the ground.

The third lot of bracing is bowbracing and runs vertically from the top support ring (made of plastic piping) to the middle support ring (which you just made from twine) at the point of each vertical strut. I combined this bracing with a bowbracing around the inside of the top support ring as I threaded the twine from one strut to the next, but I don't know how much extra stability this gave the chook dome.

Here's the step by step version, with helpful and informative photos! Since it's almost impossible to see the green twine that we used for the bracing, we've added exciting coloured lines to show where the lines are for one wedge of the frame.

bow bracing - connecting two points on one of the vertical struts, like stringing a bow (coloured purple in the picture)
horizontal cross bracing - connecting from one vertical strut to a neighbour at the same height (coloured red)
diagonal cross bracing - connecting from one vertical strut to a neighbour at a different height (coloured yellow)

Step 1: Make the extra hole

Mark off about 300mm above the ground on each vertical strut. Drill a hole big enough to comfortably fit the twine through twice.

Step 2: Crossbracing

Tie all of the diagonal cross bracing at the bottom.

Tie all of the horizontal cross bracing and the bow bracing.

And you're done.

Day 3 is making the door.
Day 4 is covering the frame with chicken wire.
Day 5 - chicken dome completion!

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