Wind versus SuperDoops

Yesterday was the worst wind we have had on the farm. 35mph from the west. We’ve laughed at 15 mph and while 24 mph made us a little nervous, we came out of it unscathed. Not sure what the rest of the region saw- but yesterday we were blasted. I headed to the dairy for a milk run in the afternoon and while there you could have dropped a feather and it would have landed on your toe…not so on our farm. Gusts of 35 mph. Imagine.
There are four shelter types that we use on the farm:

  • Doops- these are the domed coops that we use for the broilers. These things are like rocks in wind. They hug the ground and have sloped sides and with the shade cloth on the top the wind passes through without creating lift.
  • SuperDoops – these are the laying hen’s shelter. We use 40′ glulam beams as skids to move them around the field. They are covered with old billboards and have open ends. For owl protection we hang either poly (winter) or shade cloth (summer) on the ends. The roosts are tied to the hoops so we get a lot of extra ballast at night. After losing two of these SuperDoops we started anchoring them down with earth anchors driven by the hydraulic pump on the Farmall M (my love for this machine runs deep). Since starting the anchors we have yet to lose a firm footing to the earth. Yesterday was the biggest test and they did very well….I think I can stop shaking when a breeze shakes the leaves on the trees.
  • Catapillar Tunnels- We use these for juvenile birds that are not ready to mix with the big girls. We also plan to use these for the market garden this year. These have a unique construction in that the poly is pinned to the ground and framework is just parked underneath. I am amazed at how stable these tunnels are, not to mention that they are very cheap to build. I think the key is the tootsie roll ends that are pinched together with T-post about 10 feet off the end of the frame. We have some trouble with the rope that goes between the hoops, and give the structure that catapiller look. If you are looking for a cheap, sturdy season extender- take a look at these tunnels. As for the wicked wind – the ropes popped off a bit and we had to bunch the poly up on the top to avoid further damage. Once the wind died down (about 2am this morning) we were able to drop the poly back down the sides. Fortunately the young layers were able to hunker down next to the plywood shear wall and wait out the wind.
  • Pig Hut- We wrote these off as invincible. We thought they were heavy enough to leave 5 sides closed and 1 open – not so. This house is a perfect weathervane. This hut gets lift and spins until it finds the least resistance…..we are going to rethink these a bit. They are bigger and higher than necessary so we have some flexibiity. Luckily no hogs were injured when the structure started to move. They just got up and walked with it then hunkered back down.
  • Overall – we didn’t loose a shelter or an animal! And now we have a new benchmark of shelter survivability….ahh toils of mobile farming!