DMK Permaculture

Permaculture Mandala Garden, Chicken Tractor Design


Chicken Tractor or Chicken Dome in a Permaculture Mandala Garden

We use chicken domes, chicken tractors, or as in Australia we call chickens chooks, so our dome is called a ‘Chook Dome’.

We haven’t found it necessary to change to a geodesic dome, because our domes are sturdy and durable and have lasted well. A geodesic dome seems a whole lot of mind numbing effort, and I’ve seen a couple where it is too high in the centre to be moved by one person standing inside.

One of our domes has been in service for ten years, we refurbished the netting and revamped the door after Cyclone Yasi in 2011 gave it a bashing, but I gotta say that our dome has stood the test of the world’s 2nd biggest storm in history, so we reckon we built it right!  We built a second dome to the same design a couple of years ago in Dec 2013. Both domes work extremely well, they need little or no maintenance and the chooks are very contented.

Two Domes Now

Two Domes Now

The internet is littered with failures and examples of how not to build a dome. Do not use black poly pipe. Do not use grey electrical conduit. They are not as good as PVC and don’t last. For our design you need white PVC pressure pipe, 20mm (3/4 inch). It’s very cheap and light, comes in 6 metre lengths, and it bends easily without collapsing.

The DMK page link below, shows you exactly how we did it step by step, with pics of each step and a detailed sketch, and even printable instructions if desired.

Chook Dome Step by Step Building Instructions

Good Luck and Good Gardening

Spring Collection

We have a collection of Trampoline Springs.

          The humble tramp spring is very handy as a good strong durable spring, and usually can be found in multiples, and . . most times for free. We have found they are especially handy for keeping gates closed. And another use for them is to keep tension on a tarpaulin.

         GATES   The photo below shows a gate with a spring fitted on a predominately vertical angle. This angle helps to soften the tension on the gate, so it closes more gently rather than slamming hard behind you.

Spring Coll 1

The spring below is fitted to tension the gate so it closes very firmly, with no chance of it blowing open in a strong wind, or being nudged open by a dog’s snout. Spring Coll 2

We used a very small ‘D Shackle’ to connect to the gate, which are cheap from hardware store and ideally suited to this application. We used Vice Grips to grip the spring and heave it round to hook on the gate or the D shackle.Spring Coll 3

          TARPS   The photo below shows a spring tensioning a tarpaulin, by tying the rope to the spring and connecting the spring to the corner of the tarp.Spring Coll 4

The tarp stays fairly taught at all times and is much less likely to balloon out and rip or break free.Spring Coll 5

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Gate Handling

Big “Easy-Grab” Gate Handle

 The Handle is simply a piece of  1.1/4″ Rural Poly Pipe screwed with double screws to prevent slewing. This works extremely well, is cheap and strong. Our cost for 4 screws and a half a metre of poly was about $1.50

Fence 14

AND . . .

Gate Holding Strap, efficiently holds gate closed or open. This is made from old ‘tie-down’ hook, with stretchy elastic loop (cheap from hardware store), joined by using fencing ring clamp tool, clamping with double rings. 

Fence 15These two gate ideas have been proven and tested in our garden for a couple of years now, and the handle and strap have not deteriorated at all, they still work exactly as intended.

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Potty Idea

We’d like to share a potty recycling idea we employ, utilising plastic containers of various shapes and sizes in the garden as seedling pots.

Pot Idea Pic 01
The biggest hurdle is being able to put holes in the bottom without splitting the plastic or hurting yourself with poky sharp tools! Well the answer is a soldering iron.Pot Idea Pic 02

A simple small soldering iron will melt your holes in a few seconds. You must do this outside in well ventilated preferably windy area so as not to breathe any burning plastic fumes.Pot Idea Pic 03

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