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Kelly Simmons
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Boulder, CO, United States
Climate Zone:
Cold Temperate

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Naturally Built Chicken (Chook) House

Posted by Kelly Simmons almost 9 years ago

Built a nice chicken house out of found materials and mud.

My family and I built a chicken house out of wooden shipping pallets that we stuffed with flakes of straw bales and then plastered with earthen plaster.  

It turns out that shipping pallets come in all sizes and shapes, so we found a size that we liked best - approximately 3 feet by 4 feet and scavenged 10 of them for the chook house.  We dug a footing and filled it with sidewalk urban rubble. The house was in a hexagonal shape and had 6 sides.  One side was for the people door that was from our local recycled building material center. We drove 2 pieces of short metal post (rebar) into the ground in each side and drove a 4 foot metal orchard post at each corner.  

Then we built a short form at ground level and filled it with very wet cement. The first 5 pallets were drilled to fit over the short metal rebars and each corner of pallet was wired to the corner metal post.  A second tier of 5 pallets was screwed to the first course and large X's of metal strapping were screwed across each wall to stabilize.  We built a top plate out of 2 x4 and screwed it all the way around, making sure that the seams did not overlap the corners.

In one of the upper pallets, we cut a hole large enough to hold the plywood nest box built from scavenged scrap and in one of the lower pallets, we cut a small hole to place the plywood chicken entry box and door.

The roof was hexagonal and we used 2 metal "octopus" hangers to secure the rafters where they met at the top.  The rafters were secured at the wall with another metal hanger. Over the rafters, we used 1x fencing.  And then roofing material.

The walls were stuffed with straw bale "flakes". The straw flakes were painted with a slaked clay slurry and then a concoction of flour paste and sand was painted all over everything.  This would provide "tooth" for the earthen plaster to stick.  We made gobs of earthen plaster out of clay subsoil, chopped straw and screened llama manure. [We chopped the straw in a garbage can with a weed whacker].  

At the top of the walls there was a gap where the roof rafters sat on the top plate.  We filled this gap, and any others, with cob. And then covered everything with 2 coats of earthen plaster.

Check out some of the photos! 



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Comments (1)

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jordan lowery
jordan lowery : nice job, i like it.
Posted almost 9 years ago

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Consultant Aid worker Pdc teacher
My Permaculture Qualifications
Permaculture through the Seasons
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Verifying teacher: Sandy Cruz
Other Teachers: Sandy Cruz
Location: Boulder, CO
Date: Nov 2007
Other course unverified
Permaculture Teacher Training
Type: Teacher Training
Verifying teacher: Peter Bane
Other Teachers: Goodheart Brown
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Date: Feb 2008
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Climate Zones
Kelly Simmons has permaculture experience in:
Cold Temperate
Wet Tropical
Dry Tropical

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