A THOUSAND DOVECOTES
As would be the case with most folks who have a pride in what they do I have always strived to improve. I made my first dovecote in about 1980, it was big, it was square, it was ugly, and I took an axe to it. However, allowing that I have possibly sold two cotes a month (likely more) for forty years that amounts a thousand dovecotes that I’ve made since the axe incident, and having practised what I preach there has been a steady stream of improvements.
No matter what we make we’ll always apply three basic criteria. Firstly, the build has to pander to the needs and wellbeing of the proposed ‘tenant’. Secondly, we need to build in features that ensure the keeper is able to maintain a high standard of husbandry, not to do so could lead to health issues in the birds. Finally, there is the aesthetics, a good-looking dovecote that compromises the birds or keeper 'be no use to man nor beast'. Providing that whatever we do at this stage does not compromise the doves or the keepers needs, we will pay thoughtful consideration to the proportions, material selection (and rejection) plus add those little flourishes which whilst may not be necessary, do combine to elevate our work form the ordinary to the extraordinary.
WINDSOR DOVECOTE RANGE
The Windsor range consists of four sizes of post mounted cotes and two sizes of wall mounted dovecotes:
WINDSOR TWO NEST POST COTE:(New August 2019)
A new addition to range for the smaller garden. A hexagonal post mounted dovecote on a single floor with two nesting bays affording nesting for two pairs of birds.
WINDSOR SIX NEST POST COTE:
A hexagonal post mounted dovecote on two floors of three nesting bays affording nesting for six pairs of birds.
WINDSOR EIGHT NEST POST COTE:
An octagonal post mounted dovecote on three floors of four nesting bays affording nesting for twelve pairs of birds.
WINDSOR TWENTY NEST POST COTE:
A decagonal post mounted dovecote on four floors of five nesting bays affording nesting for twenty pairs of birds.
WINDSOR THREE NEST WALL COTE:
A half hexagonal wall mounted dovecote on two floors, affording nesting for three pairs of birds.
WINDSOR SIX NEST WALL COTE:
A half octagonal wall mounted dovecote on three floors affording nesting for six pairs of birds.
FEATURES AND SPECIFICATION
All cote timbers are pressure treated red pine.
Pressure treated 12mm thick tongue & groove boards. Lift out walls aid cleaning and husbandry.
Pressure treated 20mm thick solid boards.
G’Robs own tile effect 20mm thick, pressure treated, shiplap boards.
Weathered with hand dressed lead and topped off with a bespoke complementary finial. (not something off the shelf at the local fencing company).
Each nest is segregated from the others and designed to be offset from the opening, allowing the birds to nest shielded from elements.
To afford good access for cleaning our dovecotes have removable wall sections which we feel is essential to ensure a proper clean. Cleaning needs to be done about once a year, please keep in mind that some nests are likely to have young (squabs), therefore the cleaning may need to be completed over several weeks. When cleaning I would advise wearing a mask and in preparation for next year, I would also advise forming a barrier between wood and the poo, by lining the nest floors and part up the walls with plastic sheeting.
Pressure treated sections are glued and pinned together to form the post (like a boat mast). This forms an extremely strong post and gives multiple layers of treatment into the ground.
POST TO COTE FIXING:
To avoid the inherent weakness of a cote perched on the top of a post and a set of unsightly braces, uniquely Granddad Robs post inserts up into a central shaft through the cote body (like a stick in a toffee apple) so acts as a spine to the dovecote. The exception to this method is on the WINDSOR TWO NEST where the post has a stout flange at the top through which screw bolts are used to fix into the especially strengthened 45mm thick floor.
We supply jointed braces that are fitted around the post just under turf level, stabilising the cote without the need to resort to concreting. Point of interest, using this method my dovecotes withstood the 1987 hurricane, but we did lose a mature oak tree.
I relish the opportunity to make bespoke dovecotes. If you have a ‘wanting’ then please contact us, the worst that can happen is that we say “no” but it’s not happened yet.
DELIVERY & VAT
Against the trend we have always endeavoured to set out our stall with the price shown to include DELIVERY and VAT, so no hidden charges to ‘bump up’ the bill. Therefore the price listed includes delivery for the UK Mainland (Highlands & Overseas please contact us) and assumes any options required are ordered and delivered with the principle purchase.
Each dovecote has a specific platter which mirrors the size and profile of the parent dovecote’s floor. The platter can be retrospectively fitted around the post. By setting the platter height about 30cm under the dovecote, the cote itself acts as a shade.
A good number of our dovecotes are destined to be used as a feature in the landscaping so required NOT to have doves. That being the case the arches can be blanked off denying access to the nest areas. The blanks are painted black and fitted inside behind the arches which maintains the arch profile and gives the appearance of shadow. To maintain air flow, we drill a 32 mm diameter hole into each blank, making it suitable for house sparrows who are one of our wild birds that like to nest in crowds.
PAINTED OR NATURAL:
I will say that if the cote is being used a feature in a garden then the painted cotes do have the edge over the natural cotes, especially when set up with an evergreen back drop. Painted cotes are still made from pressure treated timber over which is applied five paint coats. Painted cotes are normally white, however should you have a specific colour requirement and are able to supply us with a colour code number, we will endeavour to oblige.
Natural dovecotes come into their own when set up in a more ‘relaxed’ setting. Personally, I think white doves on a natural cote contrast better than white doves seen against a white dovecote.
Although the timber we build with is pressure treaded or marine grade and will last many years, we think it prudent to once in a while apply a re-treatment. The treatment we both use and strongly recommend prevents future wood rot by forming a WATER SHEDDING layer over the timber surface.
When first applied the treater has both the colour and consistency of diluted milk, however it dries to be fully TRANSPARENT so can be liberally applied without showing brush or run marks. It is water based so it CAN BE APPLIED TO WET WOOD. Being MICRO POROUS it allows the wood to ‘breath’ and most importantly it says SUITABLE FOR ANIMAL HOUSING on the label!