Egg Mobile

Although an egg mobile works best on larger acreages, the concept is beneficial on any sized farm.

An egg mobile allows chickens to be free-range chickens and produce truly organic eggs. They instinctively return to their coop to lay their eggs and roost at night. Once they are in for the night, close the door and you're ready to move them onto fresh grass in the morning. Ideally, they should follow the rotation of cattle. Two weeks after the cattle have been in a paddock, the chickens will eat the fly larvae and spread the manure around.

Have you built your own egg mobile? How do you utilize it? How did you design it? Share your stories with our readers....

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Our mobile chicken coop started out as an abandoned hay wagon.

Thanks to the creativity and handy work of my father, our egg mobile takes shape.

The hurricane straps, located on each side of the coop, not only keep the egg mobile stationary during strong winds, it allows us to park it on 'less than level' ground.

The ramp helps us humans to gain access to the coop, rather than the chickens. There is a 2' platform in front of the door - a couple flaps of their wings and the chickens are on it.

The chicken access door is cut into a man door and can be locked from the outside.

There is an electrical outlet just to the left of the man-door. In the winter I park the coop near the barn so I can run an extension cord to it. This allows me to provide heat and light (via a heat lamp) in the winter. The large window (see photo below) also provides extra light during the winter months.

There are two window openings in our egg mobile. The window seen in the photo above has a solid wood covering that when closed, will keep out the worst of the winter winds.

The covering on the window on the opposite side of the coop (see photo below) is framed plexi-glass. This covering will keep the winter winds out and allow extra sunlight into the coop during the shorter days of winter.

Both openings are covered with chicken wire to keep out predators, and can be closed securely from the outside. The latches are simply small pieces of 1"x2" wood screwed into the coop wall. A simple twist of the wood piece over the window frame effectively closes the window covering.

There is one window that allows light into the egg mobile. Since I do keep my hens through the winter, the window allows the hens some extra light during those very short days. A heat lamp installed inside the coop provides extra light, plus enough warmth to prevent the water from freezing.

Araucana chickens have a very small comb, one trait that makes them better suited than other breeds to survive cold winters.

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The pink wading pool is filled with sand and diatomaceous earth. Chickens like to roll around in the dust, and will scratch a favorite area until it becomes a dust bowl. The pool gets moved along with the coop, and including diatomaceous earth in their dust bowl is a natural way to prevent mites.

I also sprinkle diatomaceous earth inside the coop and inside the individual nest boxes.

Another water bucket outside, hung from a hook on the hurricane strap, provides additional water for my free-range chickens. It also means I don't have to haul water to them as often.

Make your own chicken waterer with a 5 gallon bucket and a few nipples:

Water nipples

Or, you can purchase a pre-made water bucket with nipples already installed:

1 gal Chicken Kooler Automatic Waterer

Hanging the water bucket from a chain inside the coop makes it easy to change the height of the nipples to accommodate the chickens at every stage of growth.

Inside the coop are 12 nest boxes (far right), roosts (far left), hanging water bucket with 3 nipples on bottom (green bucket), hanging galvanized feeder (behind green bucket), and a large bowl of crushed oyster shells on the floor (not seen, but located between the two sets of nesting boxes).

12lb. Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder Farm Innovators Heated 3 gal Plastic Poultry Waterer, 100-Watt

There are extra hooks on the ceiling to hang heat lamps in the winter months.

The floor is covered with pine shavings which can be easily emptied through a trap door in the floor. We simply pull the egg mobile to the compost pile, open the door, and shovel the litter onto the compost pile.

If you do not intend to keep your chickens in a mobile coop over the winter, a solid floor is not necessary. You could simply line it with chicken wire so the droppings fall straight onto the ground.

These are the nesting boxes my father made and installed inside the coop.

Although there are 12 nests in all, there are 3 nests that seem to be their favorite. Not only do I find several eggs in one nest, I've found 3 hens in one nest at a time.

We do put fresh pine shavings in the nests when we clean the coop, and several times in between clean outs. Their first activity when they enter the nest is to scratch, and most of the shavings end up on the floor despite the 3" barrier at the front of the nest box.

Finally, the most important benefit of our egg mobile - the time my son spent with his grandpa, and the love he gained for carpentry. After this project, my son was constantly wanting to build me things that would 'help me out'.

He would pull out scraps of wood and come up with ideas of things he could build - one day it was a feeder for the cattle. That afternoon he hammered on wood for a good 30 minutes, until he couldn't hammer any more.

This was our very first batch of baby chicks that we received via mail order.

These chicks arrived in March, and they were placed in the brooder which was located in a re-purposed horse stall. As the chicks grew, we made their enclosure larger until they were big enough to have run of the entire stall.

Success With Baby Chicks: A Complete Guide to Hatchery Selection, Mail-Order Chicks, Day-Old Chick Care, Brooding, Brooder Plans, Feeding, and Housing

Once relocated to the egg mobile, the chickens still wanted to return to the barn to roost. We ended up purchasing **300' of poultry netting from Premier1 Supplies to force them to use their new coop. We still had a couple who managed to flap their way over the fence, but it was easy to catch them while they roosted at night and return them to the egg mobile.

The netting can be electrified, and although my chickens don't need it to be electrified to stay within the netting, I've electrified it to keep pigs out of the chicken area when they've had to share a pasture. Piglets seem to enjoy the taste of chicken feed.

Electrifying the netting would also keep out predators like racoons, fox, and coyotes.

**I do love this netting, but if I were purchasing it again, I would buy it in shorter lengths. By the time I fold up 300' of netting, it is a challenge to both store it and move it to another area in the pasture.

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