Erecting your Dovecote

Congratulations on the purchase of your new Dovecote! They are beautiful editions to a garden of any size and is the perfect home for your Doves or garden Pigeons.

We have produced an in-depth guide into the difference between a ground fixed and freestanding Dovecote and also a step by step guide to erect your Dovecote.

Step by Step Guide

1.

Choosing between a Ground Fixed or Freestanding Dovecote

2.

Choosing where to situate your Dovecote

3.

How to erect your Dovecote

3.1 – Ground Fixed
3.2 – Freestanding

^ Ground Fixed Dovecote
^ Freestanding Dovecote

1. Choosing between a Ground Fixed or Freestanding Dovecote

It is vital that before you purchase your Dovecote that you consider which floor fixture of Dovecote that is most suited for you.

Why a Ground Fixed Dovecote?

If you have decided that you would like your Dovecote in a particular place and you can do so in the correct means, the ground fixed option is perfect. If you purchase a dovecote from Robinson Garden and you choose the ground-fixed option. It’s essential to assess the ground properties to ensure it is suitable for a Dovecote post.

If you wish to place your Dovecote somewhere where there is unstable ground that wouldn’t support a freestanding leg option or if the area is very exposed to the weather, a ground fixed option may be the best solution.

Why a Freestanding Dovecote?

By having a freestanding dovecote, it will allow you to move your Dovecote anywhere you wish (handle with care at all times).

We have had clients that have decided that they may want to move home in the future and would like their Dovecote to come with them to their new home. The freestanding option allows for that flexibility. You may also find that you would like to move your Dovecote into a different part of your garden; this method provides you with flexible options.

A freestanding dovecote is also very useful when you discover that the position that the customer would have liked the Dovecote didn’t have the correct ground properties to dig a suitable hole. All of these problems can be solved with a freestanding dovecote.

2. Choosing where to situate your Dovecote

When choosing the locality for your Dovecote, a sheltered yet secure site will be essential. It is also vital to avoid a position near to trees or fences, from where cats, foxes and other predators might be able to reach the birds easily.

Ground Properties

If you decide to purchase a ground fixed Dovecote, strongly consider the ground properties before proceeding. You may come across problems along the way if the ground is very rocky, close to a foundation of a structure/property or if the soil mostly comprised of clay — other considerations maybe underground piping and wiring. Unfortunately, the only way of checking this is by digging a small hole to check.

3.1. Erecting your Ground Fixed Dovecote

1. Check the ground properties

Ensure that the location is suitable for you to be able to prepare and dig a hole for your dovecote post to go into.

2. Dig a hole

Once it is in place, you will not be able to move it so ensure factors are considered before you commit.

Do you need planning permission?

As this is a fixed structure, you may be subject to check with your local authority’s planning permission department. Check here for more information

Where will your Dovecote be situated?

Avoid locating your Dovecote near trees, hedges, a house, wall or fence. The reason for this is because they are all of these are perfect for climbing tools for predators to jump up onto the Dovecote.

Health and Safety

This is the main priority at all times when you are erecting your Dovecote. Ensure that no one’s life is in danger when assembling your Dovecote.

Before you construct your Dovecote, ensure that you have enough people to help erect it and that you have the sufficient tools. Dovecotes are unusually heavy structures, so you must have a minimum of three strong and energetic people at all times to help lift and secure the Dovecote into place.

Do you have all the tools required?

Read the Dovecote shopping list by Clicking Here

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3. Choose your Ground Fixed Structure

There are three choices for how you would like to ground fix your Dovecote which is; Bricks and Mortar method (Method 1), traditional method (Method 2) and the Power of the Machine (Method 3). All of these options are explained in more detail in Part 7 below. Please ensure that you explore the best option for you.

4. Connect the main Dovecote structure to the post

The Dovecote is constructed to allow the main Dovecote post to feed directly into the centre of the main Dovecote. This provides strength to the structure as well as providing a partition for each nesting box. Start by moving the post and main Dovecote structure individually so that everything is close to the pre-prepared hole.

5. Lay the Dovecote structure on its side

Ensure that soft blankets are placed on the floor. Ensure the Dovecote roof is not leaning on the floor and avoid putting weight on the roof. Whilst the Dovecote is on its side, you will see a large hole that feeds all the way up into the Dovecote. Lift the post, guiding it carefully and slowly into the Dovecote hole. The hole will be tight; however, if you are having a lot of difficulties, use a planer on the post to create more space for the post to feed.

6. Push the post as far as it can go

Double-checking it has fed all the way through. Ensure a minimum of two people is doing this at all times. One person feeding the post through and one person steadying the Dovecote to prevent it toppling over onto the roof.

7. Feeding the Dovecote post into the hole

Once the main dovecote structure has fully fed down the post, you are now ready to place the post in the pre-prepared hole using one of the methods shown in 3.2. Start by carefully placing the base of the post into the hole while holding the dovecote end. Lift the Dovecote, then slowly walk towards the hole with the Dovecote above you, walking your hands down the post as you go, this should raise the Dovecote into the upright position. Now follow the steps for the method you have chosen.

Method 1 - Bricks and Mortar method

This method has to be the most popular over the years as bricks and Concrete provide a strong foundation for the Dovecote post even if the ground properties are poor. Hole size – approximately 3ft deep and 2ft width

  1. Prepare the hole using the necessary tools for taking care at all times. Hole approximately to be 3ft deep and 2ft in width.
  2. Fill the bottom of the hole with Concrete; this will prevent the post directly touching the soil at the bottom.
  3. Insert the post (the main Dovecote already attached) carefully into the middle of the hole.
  4. Use a mix of broken bricks and stones to secure the Dovecote post into place. Use a sledgehammer to compact down the bricks stones. Once compacted, check the post if straight using a spirit level and backfill with ready mixed Concrete sealing the gaps and cracks between the broken bricks and stones. (Ensuring you follow the ready-mixed concrete instructions)
  5. Once the Concrete has turned hard, backfill the remainder of the hole with the soil that initially came from the hole hammering down with your feet or a sledgehammer. At the Ground level, it’s a good idea to put a fall onto the surface to let the rainwater run away from the post to stop it rotting over time.
  6. Double-check again that your Dovecote is perfectly level using a spirit level and also stable in the ground and leave the Dovecote to settle.
  7. Once your Dovecote is safely and securely in place, the final step is to attach the four wooden attachments provided. These attachments secure the post and the main Dovecote structure together which go round the four sides of the post. The picture displayed below illustrates how the fixings should look once in place.

Method 2 – The Traditional method

This method is very similar to method 1, only that this traditional method incorporates a wooden rooting structure to help secure the Dovecote post in place. You will require eight lengths of treated timber, a drill, a lump hammer and long screws. The lump hammer allows you to hammer one side of the wood lengths into the side of the hole to create a more stable structure. Hole size – approximately 3ft deep and 3ft width

  1. Prepare the hole using the necessary tools for taking care at all times. Hole approximately to be 3ft deep and 3ft in width.
  2. Fill the bottom of the hole with Concrete; this will prevent the post directly touching the soil at the bottom.
  3. Insert the post (the main Dovecote already attached) carefully into the middle of the hole.
  4. As illustrated, bring the wooden lengths into the hole. Starting from the bottom of the hole, use a hammer to knock one end of the length of wood into the side of the hole. Screw the other side of the length into the post of the Dovecote using a power drill.
  5. Continue adding lengths of woodworking round the post and hole, creating a rooting structure. Use a spirit level at all times, ensuring that the post is straight while adding the rooting structure.
  6. Using bricks, stones, gravel and soil to back fill the hole, ensuring it is well compacted down.
  7. At a Ground level, it’s a good idea to put a fall onto the surface to let the rainwater run away from the post to stop it rotting over time.
  8. Once your Dovecote is safely and securely in place, the final step is to attach the four wooden attachments provided. These attachments secure the post and the main Dovecote structure together which go round the four sides of the post. The picture displayed below illustrates how the fixings should look once in place.

Method 3 – The power of the machine

Assuming that the ground comprised of soil, this option is one of the easiest as it eliminates a lot of manual labour having to dig a hole. You will need to purchase or hire a ground auger with the correct attachments to allow a hole that is large enough for the circumference of the post.

  1. Prepare the hole using petrol ground auger taking care at all times. Hole approximately to be 3ft deep.
  2. Fill the bottom of the hole with Concrete; this will prevent the post directly touching the soil at the bottom.
  3. Insert the post (the main Dovecote already attached) carefully into the middle of the hole.
  4. Using bricks, stones, gravel and soil to backfill the hole, ensuring it is well compacted down. Ensure the post is kept straight at all times.
  5. Fill remaining gaps in the hole with ready mixed Concrete following the guidance/instructions.
  6. At a Ground level, it’s a good idea to put a fall onto the surface to let the rainwater run away from the post to stop it rotting over time.
  7. Once your Dovecote is safely and securely in place, the final step is to attach the four wooden attachments provided. These attachments secure the post and the main Dovecote structure together which go round the four sides of the post. The picture displayed below illustrates how the fixings should look once in place.

3.2. Erecting your Freestanding Dovecote

1. Choose the location of your Dovecote

Start by moving the main Dovecote structure and the post separately near to the location of where you would like to place your Dovecote.

2. Connect the main Dovecote structure to the post

The Dovecote has been constructed so that the main Dovecote post feeds directly into the centre of the main Dovecote to provide strength to the structure as well as providing a partition for each nesting box. Start by laying the Dovecote structure on its side ensuring that soft blankets are placed on the floor.

Ensure that the Dovecote roof is not leaning on the floor or any weight is being placed on the roof. Now that the Dovecote is on its side you will see a large hole that feeds all the way up into the Dovecote. Lift the post, guiding it carefully and slowly into the Dovecote hole.

The hole will be tight however if you are having a lot of difficulty, use a planer on the post to create more space for the post to feed. Push the post as far as it can go, double checking it has fed all the way through. Ensure a minimum of two people are doing this at all times.

One person feeding the post through and one person steadying the Dovecote to prevent it toppling over onto the roof.

3. Lift carefully into place

Once the main dovecote structure has fully fed down the post fully, you are now ready to put into place. Lift the dovecote up, then slowly walk towards the hole with the dovecote above you, walking your hands down the post as you go.

This should raise the dovecote into the upright position. If the ground you have placed your Dovecote is slightly uneven, please tiles to ensure that it doesn’t wobble.

^ Step 4 illustration

4. Final Steps

Once your Dovecote is safely and securely in place, the final step is to attach the 4 wooden attachments provided. These attachments secure the post and the main Dovecote structure together which go round the four sides of the post.

Other considerations

Do I need Planning Permission?

As this is a fixed structure, you may be subject to check with your local authority’s planning permission department. Check the below button for more information.

Do I need planning Permission?

When using Concrete

Concrete hardens by a hydration process it is vital that the concrete doesn’t dry out too quickly. Cover wet concrete with polythene or sheets to stop it drying too quickly during the summer months.

During the winter months the concrete will need to be protected from frost until it’s totally dry to prevent frost damage.

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All individually handcrated in our Lincolnshire workshop using FSC certified timber and handpainted using  Farrow & Ball paint.

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