Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Backyard DIY Part 1- Water trough

My parents have decided to get some chickens. Their main purpose would be as egg producers, but also as pets. Its been 20 years since my parents had chickens. We had them for a few years as kids, but our cattle dog and foxes eventually ate them all.
My dad built a chicken coop a few weeks ago from a kit and its been settling/ airing since.

Chickens need three basic things- Food, Water and Shelter. I've decide to build a Water Trough, a Feeder and a Nesting Box from whatever I had lying around or could source for free. So basically, this meant Bamboo creations.

I went and harvested a heap of Bamboo from where it grows on the roadside not far from my parents house. I went to a 'Building with Bamboo' Workshop at The Planting Festival, back in May. From this Workshop, I learnt that Bamboo is best cut down with a fine-toothed saw. Turns out its true. The last time I cut Bamboo, I used my large-toothed pruning saw. This time I used a run-of-the mill building saw (can get them for about $7 from Bunnings). Wow, was it so much easier and faster than the struggle of the large-toothed saw.

I cut and loaded up a ute-load and took it home for 'processing'.

Ute-load of Bamboo

I chose a large, solid piece to build the Feeder and Water trough out of. This particular Bamboo is a species of 'clumping bamboo'. They grow tall and reasonably straight. Bamboo consist of several segments, each segment is hollow and watertight. This is what I was planning on taking advantage of for the Water Trough.

Bamboo Length
Cheap saw, bamboo with rectangle cut out

I sawed the bamboo on either side of the two segments so that I had one intact central piece. I then used the saw to cut two lines perpendicular to the bamboo piece. Using a chisel and a hammer, I chiseled along the piece of bamboo from one cut to the other cut. Then I was able to pop out the whole centre piece in one chunk. For this method to work, it is important to understand the structure of the Bamboo. The bamboo fibres run vertically up the bamboo and it is prone to splits on the vertical plane. By using the saw to create vertical cuts, it is then very easy to split off the whole rectangular piece. 

Next, I cut a small cylinder of Bamboo and split it, using the chisel. I drilled holes through these two pieces to create a stand for the water trough and drilled holes through the larger segment.  I next mounted the water trough to the stand pieces, wedged a small stick of bamboo through the holes and viola! A DIY Bamboo Water Trough

bamboo stick as a nail
Water Trough in-situ in the Chook Pen.