Sustainable Living Center Oregon
Picture chickens roaming freely throughout your acreage.
Picture them eating tasty insects and filling their nests with eggs containing bright orange yolks.
It’s a pretty picture, but is it realistic? Maybe?
The benefits of pasture raised chickens are:
The Problem? Your chickens are at risk from predators. If you have neighborhood dogs or trouble with wild predators such as foxes, raccoons or bird of prey, your chickens will be much more at risk free ranging than if they are in a yard or covered run.
The Chicken Sanctuary© consist of a Dome and Cube.
The Chicken Dome is 10 feet wide and 5 feet high. The design is based on Robert Freeman’s plans as we modified it. Our dome is light and can be lifted comfortably by one person because is made out of twenty (20) ½ electric pvc pipes and covered with chicken wire and deer netting. The pasture available within the Dome, Cube and Triangle, that the chickens have access, is 108 sq ft. That is enough space for the chickens to find every thing they require for their diet.
Chicken Cube is made of a 4’ X 4’ X 4’ plastic cube that houses the nest boxes, roost area, feed, and water
The Dome is moved to new pasture or part of your yard every few days, which saves chicken feed. After the Dome is moved and the Cube is inserted into the Dome to make a Chicken Tractor.
Chicken Tractor is any structure that can be moved from place to place with a bunch of chickens housed in it.
The chickens living in the Chicken Sanctuary© do what chickens are so good at: scratching up the soil and turning it over, making short work of anything to be found, and spreading their manure the in the space available to them, not to mention producing eggs and more chickens. If you mulch with wood chips each new area heavily it is a great way to start a chicken garden.
The Dome is composed of long, curving struts which crisscross and are anchored to the base. This means all the joins are around the circular base at equidistant points, which again distributes the stress and makes for a very strong yet flexible structure.
The Cube is just the foundation and can be designed to look like a barn or anything else…….
The problem with a normal a Chicken Tractor, even is it a two story model that it is large enough to house the chickens on the top floor, it has to be moved daily because the lower level is not enough grass area for hungry chickens. One must set aside four square feet of floor space per hen, minimum. Less than that and hens will have behavioral issues, such as feather picking and bullying. Even if you have a small backyard, it’s not a great idea to keep just one hen. Chickens are flock animals and need to be with others of their kind. Start with a minimum of three chickens
Moving the Dome is possible with one person. Just stand inside the middle, lifting up and trotting off without the whole thing coming apart. However, unlike a traditional geodesic dome, a la Buckminster fuller, which is composed of many triangles and a lots of hubs, it does not have hubs only curved arcs.
The Chicken Cube
The Cube is a 4’ X 4’ X 4’ plastic walled cube. The plastic bottom floor is replaced with a wire floor. This is In order that the chickens waste will fall on the ground instead the cube. It can have either a 110 v or solar automatic door opener/closer. The red and green lights on the front, tell if the door is open or closed.
Chicken manure is 75 percent liquid, which evaporates and dampens the air in the coop. As the manure decomposes, it gives off ammonia fumes, but not is the Cube.
Roosting is a wood bar placed at the highest place in the Cube. Since chickens like to cozy up next to each other, at bedtime your chickens will jostle for a favorite spot next to their buddies. Plan on a minimum of six linear inches per hen. The roost should be at least eighteen inches off of the floor. Chickens poop a lot, when they sleep.
Ventilation is 6 in hole in the top of the Cube, with ten (10) one (1) inch holes in the bottom of in the side of the Cube.
Sunlight is necessary for egg laying and to stave off disease. Chickens can’t see in the dark. If your coop is dark your hens will stay put on their roosts, even if the sun is shining outside. They won’t eat enough to be able to make eggs. And if your hens are in the dark, they won’t lay them either. Sunlight is also a natural disinfectant. Our Cube let that sun shine light in.
Eggs laying nest is a 6-gallon buckets mounted in the Cube. Hens lay eggs inside of the Cube in nesting buckets. These should be lower than the roosts, so that the hens won’t sleep in them and about 16-inches square. They are designed to roll the eggs away from the chicken to keep it clean. One nest bucket is plenty for a flock of up to a eight (8) hens.
A 15 Gal No Waste Chicken Feeder is attached to the outside of the Cube. It hold up to 100 lbs of chicken feed.
How is the Dome made?
The base is made from connecting 3 pieces of 10-foot sections of pipe with six (6) ¾ pvc tees slipped on each 10-foot section. Plus:
Five (5) long pieces of ½ pipe @ 15 ft.
Five (5) short pieces of ½ pipe @ 10.5 ft.
The end of all the pipes are placed into the base ¾ tees. Tees are used and can be moved around the base circle as we need to move them to make the door opening, to make the cube opening and to attach the deer netting. Once of the long and short are place where they cross, they are connected with UV resistant cable ties.
Once cable ties are in place, put a screw into base ¾ tee and ½ pvc pipe to secure them so the Dome now can be moved by one person.