You may remember my writing about the difficulty securing the final connections of the rails on this first prototype of the poultry pen. There was just barely enough flex in the 6, 10 lengths of pipe, to complete a circle. We fought, lost, fought, lost and eventually managed to secure the bottom rail, which was the one giving us the most trouble. We thought...
The top rail seemed to secure and stay. At least it showed no desire to come apart during all the wrestling with it's bottom companion. However, as you can see, it failed. The pipe did not break, and a close look at the end of the pipe and the inside of the T, shows that we did indeed get the two parts well coated with cement and pushed completely together. The pen DID blow about at bit (wind gusts upwards of 30 mph!) and it appears that these things will need to be secured to the ground somehow to deal with our frequent high winds.
I will re-do this connection in a day or so, but I am not going to fight to connect the pen in a circle again. Instead, taking stock of the situation for V2.0, I decided to use 45 degree elbows, closely paired with Ts, to make an 8-sided pen with 10' sides. When I bought that material today, I secured two additional 45 degree elbows and I will cut both top and bottom rails, allowing a few inches of pipe between the T and the elbow. On top, here, I will have to cut a short section of the pipe and re-attach at the T; on the bottom, I will merely need to make a cut the same distance from the secure T connection before grafting in the elbows. This will make a teardrop shaped pen, and I am hoping that it will alleviate the excess stress on these connections. In any case, we will see.
I still hope to get the ducks in this pen in the next day or so, and the pen made for the chickens complete and populated by this weekend, so I can PLANT!