So, we wanted to make an egg mobile for egg laying chickens to follow behind our dairy cows and fertilise the pasture while scratching the manure that the cows leave behind. The chickens also leave behind their own manure whilst free ranging across pasture. This technique allows the chickens to supplement their diet and produce some good eggs for us to enjoy.
So, first we started off with a 6 by 4 foot derelict old car trailer. Here is the trailer in our workshop with our current internship students learning how to do some metal recycling work to create a good solid egg mobile. This egg mobile is of minimal size to work on a small farm.
Two students, Jade and Stacey, learning some carpentry skills
to make the egg laying box.
The egg laying box is attached to the side of the egg mobile so that eggs can be harvested from outside, rather than having to go inside – providing convenient egg harvesting. These egg laying boxes are also very comfortable for the chickens so that they are happy and productive and lay plenty of eggs for us.
Dave, one of our internship students from Canada, is using carpentry tools
to make the sides of the egg laying box out of plywood.
Here we have taken the rusted floor out of the trailer and we have put a
galvanised grill floor in so that all the chicken manure will fall through onto the
pasture where ever they are parked.
We are starting to weld using our solar system – in fact we are welding with our new generation solar panels. Just four solar panels and a battery allowed us to use an arc welder! Quite an achievement, but that is another story. Soon we will give you another article on our new generation of solar panels, the copper indium selenium panels, that are the revolution in solar power. We can now run a workshop, weld and run a power saw at the same time with our new panel system.
Here we are fitting the lid onto the egg laying box that is going to hang out the
side of our egg mobile. Notice the nice slope so the rain runs off and we can
collect our eggs without disturbing the chickens too much.
Now we are setting up our frame. We are using 19mm2 tube to build a
frame for the walls and roof of our egg mobile. The students
are learning how to weld and do basic farm engineering.
A proud David Spicer delivering the completed egg mobile after he put in most
of the finishing touches. The perches are welded into position so they are sturdy.
There is a grill welded into the top so there is good ventilation, as our summer
temperatures are high. The egg mobile is attached to our four wheel drive
so we’re ready to go and deliver this to the paddock.
A closer look at the galvanised square steel tubing
on the inside of the egg mobile.
The back door with a welded grill, which works as a nice easy to grip perch for
the chickens. Once folded down, it acts as a ramp for the chickens to get into
the egg mobile at night where they are locked in at night. They will
want to get in at dusk to stay safe from foxes. At dawn, they will be
unlocked for the day to get out there and work and produce eggs for us
and to fertilise our pastures behind our moving dairy cows.
Here we have recycled some sheet metal from an old shed on the farm.
We have used roofing screws to screw it into position as the side walls and the roof.
Here we have our proud internship students examining our egg laying
box and our finished egg mobile ready for delivery to the paddock.
This is our egg mobile in position, with the draw bar facing straight
towards us with all the normal trailer attachments in place still.
Side view with the drink container hanging from the roof,
so the chickens have their own water supply.
Side view showing the egg laying box with the recycled material
on top of the lid so that it is water proof and long lasting.
The chickens are in the egg mobile looking at the yummy pasture,
ready to be released for their day’s work.
Early morning egg mobile, in position ready to be moved.
The egg mobile being moved across the pasture to a new position.
This is done every morning or every second morning so they are
continually moving behind our grazing cows.
Our chickens being released into the pasture for
a happy days work out on the field.
So this is the story of our egg mobile. We have specifically chosen to not use hybrid chickens which can lay up to 7 eggs a week each, but a true strain, the New Hampshire breed which we are hoping will lay up to 5 eggs a week. We have a roosting capacity for 27 chickens, 3 of them are roosters, so that leaves 24 egg layers with a capability of 10 dozen – or 120 eggs a week. So with our other poultry on the farm we have a constant egg supply, an improved pasture and we have very happy pancake, omelet and egg meals. Our cows provide us with lots of milk and calves for beef. Using our egg mobile, we have a better running efficiency on our farm. We are enjoying it, and our animals are enjoying it also. We have steak, eggs, milk, butter and cheese. A system that we are proud of and that we love to work with.