Sunday we put up the hendome for the hens to have a place to roam this winter. Of course we had LOTS of supervision. We have used a hendome for a number of years, but changed our design a bit this year, making it much wider to give more floor space. We added a coupling and an extra 2.5 feet to each 10′ length of pvc pipe, fiving the girls a 10 foot wide run that is about 10 feet long. The blue cord in the background is the extension cord bringing power to Henbogle coop for the water heater and a simple light fixture for light and warmth.
We set up the hendome up just in time for a ferocious wind and rain storm Sunday night into this morning. We got a lot of rain, it looks like over 2 inches in the rain gauge, and wind gusts of up to 60 mph. I kept waking through the night on Sunday, thinking the hendome might blow away, but I was relieved to see on Monday morning it was still in place, as was my hoophouse.
We closed off one end completely, and stacked straw bales in the other end, leaving a hen-sized opening, and adding structural support to the hoops by wedging the straw bales against them. The inside has a deep layer of straw for the girls to scratch around in; the straw will make an excellent addition to the compost pile in the spring. We add a long straight branch propped on concrete blocks for a roost, and the dome becomes a light-filled, cozy snow-free area for winter days.
The whole process proves quite entertaining for the hens. We will put the pumpkins I grew for them and other treats in the hendome to provide entertainment during the dark days, and they will be snug and happy all winter. Lucky girls!