Recently, as those who know me are aware, I have been busying myself making a chicken house using hundreds of plastic bottles collected from the neighbourhood.
- Step one – collect bottles
- Step two – fill with food colouring and water and screw lids on tightly
- Step three – dig a shallow trench about half the depth of a bottle lying down to anchor the wall
- Step four – fill the trench with bottles about half a bottle width apart
- Step five – mix concrete (about one 40kg bag of cement to five 25kg bags of sand)
- Step six – put concrete between the bottom layer of bottles and start stacking the bottles on top, row by row
Steps seven to infinity – stay tuned – I have grand plans! We will see whether they eventuate, but my grand design should incorporate the following:
- I have already poked holes in several bottles to make some ventilation and drainage for the lower wall
- I am going to insert some 30 Litre yellow plastic cooking oil drums into the wall with an opening on the outside for filling and catching rain water, and an opening on the inside for the chickens to drink from
- I am going to use guttering and a vertical stack of linked 30 litre plastic drums to collect rain water and auto fill the drinkers
- I have collected dumped kerosine stoves to use as the roof ventilation vents
- I have already made a prototype of a roof whirlybird ventilator out of a 2 litre coke bottle
- I have already planted pawpaw seeds outside the sunniest wall
- I am going to insert wooden fruit boxes into the wall as nesting boxes, with hatches for egg collecting on the outside
- I may even insert a fresh water pond inside for growing small fish and for the chickens to drink from
- the whole thing has to be mongoose proof!
Also, since I saw the flip flop art, it occurred to me that I could even partly shingle the roof with flipflops for insulation from the heat, but I am not sure… otherwise since I saw the angel wing flip flop art, perhaps I will breed artistic chooks, and install an art piece inside for their viewing pleasure.
It reminds me a little of one of my favourite books to read to the kids when they were little. It was called “The Hilton Hen House”.
The construction is coming along so nicely that the teenagers are asking whether we can scrap the chickens and they can move into it as a teenage hangout. I think that it will be really lovely actually, and am determined to sleep in there one night before we put the chickens in.
I know they make this kind of construction elsewhere in the world and make houses, schools and other structures, but I never realized it would be so easy (and fun). If people here in Fiji who live in settlements (slums) had access to the money for concrete, the bottles are free.
Even the timber and iron has been salvaged and saved from landfill.
Perhaps I will write a grant proposal after this is finished. A great video on the squatter settlement conditions is online at http://www.smh.com.au/multimedia/world/fijis-squatter-settlements-20091127-jwda.html