I have an out-of-the-box idea that I wanted someone to consider and suggest better ways. We have a coop that has about 10 layers that share 3 nesting boxes. I am using a design that I copied from my dad, who copied from his grandfather. Some details have changed, but the basic idea is to have a pen with a coop on the edge so all the feeding, watering and egg collecting can be done without entering the pen. The nest boxes are built on a slant to allow the eggs to roll into a trough, where I collect them at the end of the day. Everything works well. The chickens are dry in the rainy weather, cool in the summer, warm in the winter...and I seldom enter the pen. Oh, and the material for the coop is under $100 new. (I think) The only problem is that one or more of the chickens stick their heads our of the nest and peck the eggs. I know, I should just figure out which hen it is and cull it, but I really want the nest to be "peck proof". It is time to build some new nests, and I'm trying to come up with a better way to keep the chickens from having access to previously layed eggs. I tried having them fall on to sponges, but if the eggs hit another egg, they crack. I don't have enough space to let the eggs roll further than the chickens' necks, and even if I did, they would probably be going to fast and crack as they hit the wall. I am thinking about letting the eggs roll down to a 1 1/2" PVC pipe that is filled with a fluid. The eggs will sink to the bottom and I can pull out the pipe at the end of the day, collect the eggs, and re-fill the pipe for the next day. If this would work, what should I use? Water by itself will probably encourage bacteria growth, right? Vinegar will weaken the egg shell. Would a little bleach mixed in be ok? Has anyone seen a similar design? I don't know how to do this, but I would love to see the eggs fall through the fluid, then collect in the dry.