Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Making Egg Boxes

Fall is coming quickly and with the coming of harvest season, we will not only be gathering squashes and pumpkins, but also eggs. Most people think of Spring as the egg production season, and while this is true with already laying hens, much of our flock are teenagers and they will be coming of age fairly quickly. So we will see a short rise in egg production as all of our little girls become hens, then it will dwindle down again as the days get shorter. I can't wait for the day when I go down in the coupe and see that first Black Copper Maran egg, they lay a dark chocolate, mahogany egg. An Araucauna/ Ameraucuana egg would be almost as exciting as well, they come in blue, pink or green...we will see...
With all of our girls layng eggs soon, we needed to accommodate them with a comfortable place to take care of their uniquely feminine needs.
We built this inexpensive egg box system for around $30, it yields 21 boxes.

We used 3 sheets of inexpensive 4x8 plywood. We cut 4, 8 foot strips 16 inches wide, these are the floor and the ceiling pieces for each layer of boxes. Then we cut 8, 8x14" pieces from the remaining boards. These are the cross, vertical boards. Zach notched out 5 inch slots every 13.5 inches, then did the same to the vertical boards, but only 4 intervals down.

The tongue and grove system fit together and eliminated the need to screw each individual box.

We fitted the cross pieces together and screwed the whole thing to the already existing chicken coupe wall. Then we reinforced the bottom with a 2x4 to prevent sagging over time.

We then screwed 4 staggered screws into the floors of each layer, about 1/2 inch in front of each box, but not all the way. Then we cut a 3" by 8' board of plywood and slid it behind the screws. This board can be removed for easy clean up, I simply sweep the dirty wood chips out with a hand broom, then replace the board and fill each box with fresh chips.
Because the floors are 16" wide but the sides are only 14" deep, this gives the chickens something to land on as they fly up and choose a box. They can carefully walk along this edge as they find an empty box.

We also raised the boxes up off the floor 2 feet, this is a short enough distance to where our Silkie and Frizzles can still reach, but it doesn't cut into the floor space of the overall coupe. Plus, I think chickens just like to lay eggs up high. Our good flyers always choose the highest boxes.

1 comment:

Dawn Jones, Spinner Extraordonaire said...

Smart idea for the assembly and the ease for cleaning.

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