Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Farm Report

Some years ago, we decided to add some chicken housing. We built 4 huts from plywood and a pressed asphalt roofing called Ondura, and have used those to brood chicks and raise meat birds. The huts have survived much like you'd expect something built pretty cheaply and simply, but they're still functional. The roofs, however, had developed many leaks and were not serving their purpose anymore.
We decided to replace the Ondura with steel roofing. It turned out to be lighter in weight, which was a plus, since those roofs are hinged at the higher end, and we lift them to feed and water the birds. Does wonders for the muscles, but can be difficult, sometimes. The lighter-weight roofing material was also nicer looking, and should be longer-lasting.
But...You KNEW there had to be a "but," right?
The chickens, when things are working correctly, breathe. They breathe hot little puffs of moisture-laden breath into the hut. The metal roofs gets warm. The cool night air, especially in fall, condenses. The condensation
drips into the chickens' litter. The condensation, along with other liquids the chickens produce, made their fluffy, pine-shaving litter into a nasty-smelling, soupy mess. We went looking for some kind of insulation for the roof, and we found these.
4'x8' sheets of foil-backed foam board insulation. (I get no compensation from the manufacturer, even though I kindly included their logo and name in this photo. That's how I roll.) We had some other foam board, which was given to us, that would have been a smart way to go. Cheaper, or free, is smarter, right? But that foil backing, serving as a vapor barrier, clinched it for us. The project began.
There was measuring. There was marking. There was cutting. There was gluing. I condensed that process into this short little paragraph, because I realize this is getting, well, dull.
In the end, we had messy gloves
But the insulation was installed. (Here's a picture of one half of a roof done, so you can see, well, how it was done.)
And one finished roof.
So now, the chickens have soft, fluffy, better-smelling litter again.
Well, they DID. They yucked it up again, after only a couple of days. but, that's OK. They're leaving tomorrow, talking a trailer ride to Freezer Camp. Yes, I called it that.

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