Building an egg mobile for 48 layers

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by igrowgrass, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. igrowgrass

    igrowgrass Out Of The Brooder

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    I have some questions.

    I'm planning on pasturing 48 layers. I'm going to be using electric netting to keep them contained and I can give them plenty of pasture. That's not an issue. They can have a 1/4 acre of new pasture daily on a 120 day rotation. That's my maximum capacity for pasture. They'll be following my cattle and sheep.

    I am building an 8' x 12' "egg mobile".

    Half of the egg mobile will be filled with roosting the space. The other end will have a dozen nest boxes made from 5 gallon buckets on a frame.

    The birds will only sleep in here and lay in here.

    During the day they will have free run of up to a quarter of an acre.

    Has anyone ever used truck bed liner to "paint" their laying houses? I think that it would be an ideal way to seal everything and make them easy to clean and disinfect.

    Also, Will seven 6' long 2x3s be enough roosting space for 48 hens? Technically there will be an 8' long 2x6 on its edge that could be used as well. I just want to make sure that everyone can get up and get someplace comfy to sleep.

    Will a wire floor under the roosting area be enough ventilation or should I install removable cross ventilation panels as well. Georgia gets some hot and humid summers.

    Thank you for the advice.
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    More ventilation. Look at 'open air coops'.

    advanced search>titles only> open air coop
     
  3. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    HMMM that sounds work-able good idea !!!!!!!
     
  4. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely add more ventilation. That is one of the most important parts of a coop.
     
  5. igrowgrass

    igrowgrass Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah, I will probably end up with ventilation around the entire ceiling just to be certain.

    What do you guys think about removable panels that could be taken off, with hardware cloth underneath, to make the roost kind of like a screened in porch in the summer time?

    The whole coop will be surrounded by electric 24 hours a day so I'm not really worried about predators unless they're the two legged kind and with the dogs we really don't have any problems with those around here.

    I know that these are a lot of questions, but I'm trying to make this right the first time even if it costs a few dollars more.

    I'd like to make it so that its like a blueprint that can be expanded at any time. I have thirty acres of improved pasture that the cattle and sheep graze continuously and another 16 acres of scrubby stuff that I have been trying to get clear to expand the pasture.

    Eventually I would like to have a fleet of these things roving across my pastures. Adding a couple hundred pasture raised eggs to the daily routine certainly couldn't be bad for my income lol.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    IMO anytime you can make features adjustable to conditions it's good thing.
    Hinged or detachable solid panels covering mesh walls/openings is an excellent example.

    Think also about how you will process, store, market and distribute 'a couple hundred pasture raised eggs'.
    Check the laws in your state. Knowing what to do with your product before planning and executing the facility is just good sense.
     
  7. igrowgrass

    igrowgrass Out Of The Brooder

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    In Georgia you just have to have a candling license. The class is free to take and then you just pass a written test.

    You have to have a "facility" in place, but that is really just a room you use to clean and mark eggs etc. It has to have hot running water and a refrigerator etc. Its not really what I would call a facility LOL.

    Then you have to label the eggs like you see 'em at the grocery store. Make sure you cook them, use by such and such date etc.

    This is if you have less than 3000 layers and you're selling direct to the end user...and not wholesaling to a grocery store or something.

    I never plan on having 3000 layers and couldn't imagine wholesaling eggs. I'm just looking at making a few more dollars on land I already own and supply my own egg and chicken needs for free at the same time.

    As far as processing them, I would just do it myself. Anything that can be done indoors is easy to find time to do. If I somehow screw everything up and need to get out of chickens they're easy enough to put in your freezer and eat LOL. So, I'm not all that worried about it. This is why I am here trying to plan this stuff out before I get started.
     
  8. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many cattle and sheep do you have? Are the sheep for meat? Just curious.
     
  9. igrowgrass

    igrowgrass Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 11 commercial cows (black baldies) and 4 registered lowline angus cows and one registered lowline angus bull. I also have a pet Jersey milk cow. She lost her calf last year. We're going to AI her this year and see if we can't get a heifer out of her. She's pretty old, and I'm sure its wishful thinking, but she's an animal that I got from my uncle out of his line of milk cows. It would be nice to keep the line alive. Every year we just let the bull get her and used her calf for veal. I kept putting off AIing her to try to get a heifer. Its really my fault. I'm working on building a herd of registered lowline angus. After this group calves in the spring I am probably going to try to get some lowline embryos in some of those commercial cows. If I can afford to do all of them I will, but its really a matter of money.

    I just added sheep to the mix this past year. I bought a small flock of katahdin sheep, one ram and eight ewes. I also have four dorper cross ewes that I bought when I was figuring out if I wanted sheep. My goal, once I get all my pasture set up is to have 30 registered lowline angus cows and two bulls and up to 60 katahdin ewes depending on how the grazing rotation works out. So, the sheep are for meat. I eat them, my family eats them, we have sold a few. We're just kind of getting started with them. I am by no means a sheep expert.

    I'm not trying to be a huge beef producer. I want to eventually sell grass raised and finished beef direct to the private buyers along with selling some breeding stock. If I get more property I would consider growing the cattle enterprise larger, but I am trying to keep this as a one man show for as long as I can unless I can find a decent woman that wants to do this with me LOL.

    I really just added the sheep because they don't really cost me anything. They eat behind the cattle. They eat stuff that the cattle won't or don't. They keep the pastures in better shape. They add manure to the soil. They were just a way for me to squeeze more productivity out of the same land.

    The chickens are another way for me to squeeze more productivity out of the land. They will rotate behind the sheep and the cattle. They will scratch through cowpies and help break that stuff up. They will help with fly control. They will dine on the feast of pasture and bugs in the fields. They are another animal that doesn't really cost me anything money wise after the initial output. I don't need my chicken business to be too big. I want to supply eggs to myself and my family. I want to be able to feed my dogs for free. I want to be able to sell some eggs to my freezer beef and lamb customers. I may even eventually produce enough eggs to make it worth doing something at the farmers market. I don't know.

    This is a hobby that I am trying to turn into a self sufficient life style. As of right now I am also a full time business man. I am fortunate that my brother, a recent military retiree, is out of work and he has been helping me with a lot of the work around here. My professional work is seasonal and for about six months out of the year I am able to focus on farming full time.

    Sorry for the long winded reply. I just wanted to answer any possible questions that you might have.

    Ideally, I would like to have 1200 acres of land to graze cattle on and I would have beef and lamb as far as the eye can see, but I didn't win that 600 million dollar mega million last week so that dream has to wait LOL.
     

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