Do you have a small farm? Do you want to raise your chickens out on pasture in a flexible unit? Welcome to the eggmobile!
This system was popularized by Joel Salatin, and now it’s making the rounds on farms across the United States.
Here’s what you need to know about eggmobiles, why they’re useful, and how you can construct one yourself.
1. What is an eggmobile?
An eggmobile is a mobile henhouse that’s designed to house laying hens at night.
By day, they cluck around on the open pasture, and by night, they spend time in the eggmobile.
The eggmobile will move to follow cows in their rotation.
The laying hens free range from this house, eating bugs and scratching through cattle droppings to sanitize the pasture just like birds in nature.
They also follow herbivores as biological cleaners.
2. Where did the concept come from?
Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms made eggmobiles famous.
However, it’s unknown who invented the concept.
3. How are eggmobiles different from chicken tractors?
Eggmobiles are different from chicken tractors because they are designed as part of a free-range chicken system.
In this system, hens can venture far beyond their house to the limits of however they’re confined (most commonly electric netting in a farm setting).
4. How does an eggmobile work?
Each night, hens get shut up in their eggmobile.
In the morning, they’re let out after they’ve done their lying for the day.
The design of the eggmobile consists of nesting boxes on the sides with exterior access for egg collection.
The floor allows waste to fall through, but it doesn’t let foxes in.
There are big bicycle wheels that keep it mobile.
So, you can easily move the chickens to the next patch of the pasture when it’s time.
5. What do you need to build an eggmobile?
The supplies you need to build an eggmobile will vary depending on your location and local regulation.
However, here is a sample list of supplies that you can use to work from.
2 8-foot 6x6s
16 8-foot 2x4s
1 10-foot 2×4, cut in half
3 12-foot 2x4s
2 8-foot 2x6s
2 12-foot 2x6s
5 10-by-3-foot sheets of metal roofing
80 8-foot 1x6s
running gear for a wagon
4 pieces of threaded rods
Staple gun and 5/8 staples
6. How do you make an eggmobile?
Here’s a step-by-step of how to make an eggmobile.
Keep in mind that the dimensions can vary with your local regulations, so you’ll need to do your research and make it align with where you are located.
Find your dimensions and follow the pattern language below
As noted above, local regulations will dictate how large your eggmobile can be.
You’ll need to do research for your area to ensure your eggmobile complies.
However, we’re including the pattern language below using the supplies listed above so you can get an idea of how an eggmobile can be built.
Use an old caravan, trailer, or farm running gear and build a box wagon
Build a box wagon on top of your running gear, caravan, or trailer.
Mount one 8-foot 6×6 over each set of wheels in the front and back.
You can use the existing holes and four threaded rods to hold them in place.
You may also consider putting double wheels on the trailer to prevent it from sinking into the ground.
Build the frame of your eggmobile
You can use two 12-foot 2x6s to extend the sides of your eggmobile beyond the wheels and two 8-foot 2x6s for the ends of the platform.
Mount them using 3-inch screws.
To complete the box, attach an 8-foot 2×4 to the inside of each corner of the frame and use 2-inch screws.
The height of your wagon will be dictated by the clearance above the ground.
Allow yourself at least a foot of clearance from the ground of rough terrain.
To complete the top of the frame, use a 12-foot 2×4 on each side and 8-foot 2×4 on the front and the back, attaching them with 3-inch screws.
Create a slope for your roof
The top of your coop will be level all around, and thus, you may deem it necessary to create some sort of slope for your roof to prevent it from holding water.
Some people skip this step if they don’t find it necessary.
For example, perhaps your pasture isn’t level and your eggmobile will never sit on level ground.
If you decide to move forward with a flat roof, you can add five 8-foot 2x4s every 2 feet along the top to support the metal roofing.
Create a bottom for your coop
This is a little bit more complicated because you have to accommodate your wheels.
Place 8-foot 2×4 perpendicular to the long sides (the 2x6s) of the coop, 4 feet from the front of the coop, and attach them with 3-inch screws.
Then, cut one 12-foot 2×4 into four 3-foot pieces and attach 3-foot 2x4s to each long side against the 2×4 at the 4-foot mark.
Measure 2 feet from each 3-foot 2×4 toward the rear of the coop and attach another 3-foot 2×4 to the long slides of the coop.
Connect these 3-foot sections to the back of the wagon using an 8-foot 2×4 on each side to ground edges of the 3-foot 2x4s together.
This will give you a nice bottom nailer for the sides of your coop.
Connect the bottom edges of the front 3-foot 2x4s with an 8-foot 2×4.
Your eggmobiles’ bottom should now be an 8-foot square.
Once you have this foundation, we recommend installing a mesh with 4 cm squares.
This will be strong enough to walk on but large enough to allow droppings to fall through.
This way, you won’t have to constantly enter your eggmobile to clean it out.
Install an easy-access door
Consider installing an easy-access door at the bottom of the coop for your chickens to get in and out.
You can purchase a Pullet-Shut Automatic Chicken Door which is 14 3/4 inches wide by 18 1/8 inches tall.
Place blocks around the back tires
Put blocking around the back tires of your trailer so that chicken predators aren’t able to enter the coop.
Your mesh flooring will also help prevent predators like foxes from entering your eggmobile.
This blocking may require an 8-foot 2×4 to be placed across the bottom 8-by-8-foot square with 2 feet between it and the 2×4 at the front.
Position your nesting boxes
Your chickens need both adequate roosts and nesting boxes.
You can purchase nesting boxes or build them.
The nesting boxes are where you’ll collect the eggs after they’re laid.
Certain boxes will have trays behind each box where the egg will roll to keep it safe from other chickens, eliminate broodiness, and leave the box ready for the next chicken.
Install roofing to cover your eggmobile.
A good roof includes five 10-foot sheets of metal roofing panels that provide some overhang around each side of the coop.
Cover the sides of your egg mobile with siding
It’s up to you how you want to install siding for your eggmobile.
You can use 80 8-foot 1x6s that come from recycled pallets.
Start by disassembling them from the pallets and fitting them around the coop using 1 ½-inch nails.
After the siding is in place, you can install a chicken door, a way to check on the chickens, or a way to enter the eggmobile if necessary.
7. How do you pasture your chickens with an eggmobile?
When you move your chickens from the eggmobile to the pasture, use electric poultry netting as fencing.
This will keep the chickens in and predators out.
Plus, it’s easy to move whenever you need to shift your chickens around.
All you must do is unhook it and roll it up.
8. How do you move your chickens?
To move your chickens, follow these steps:
Let them into the coop at night
Shut the door to the coop
Leave them in there in the morning
Set up the new area with the poultry netting
Move the coop to their new paddock
Open the door and let the chickens out
9. What do farmers do with their chickens in the winter?
Eggmobiles have incredibly practical uses depending on the type of land you have and the farm you run.
For example, if you live in cold conditions you can move your animals close to the house to make it easier to care for them.
This allows them to handle freezing weather and give their pastures a rest.
Use our guide above to create an eggmobile for your farm!
This is a great way to build a real portable coop that can be used anywhere on your land.
Use a tractor or trailer to transport your hens wherever you want or need them to be.
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