Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm is one of our inspirations. One of his main ideas is “Portable Infrastructure”. It is even a chapter in “Sheer Ecstasy of Lunatic Farming” one of his titles.
Here at “The Smithshyre” we use “Salatin Style” floor-less pens that are 8ft x 8ft approximately. We move our pens two times a day once before dark this ensures the birds have fresh pasture to sleep on.
These hens are in a floor-less broiler (meat bird) pen we have retro fitted for a breeding program. By scratching and manuring the land, these hens are helping us prepare perennial beds. The pen directs their efforts, reducing our effort overall.
Our mobile hen houses (Egg Mobiles) are retro fitted single axle travel trailers. They have both been outfitted with nesting boxes that can be accessed from outside the mobile. This makes egg harvest pretty fun and easy.
Egg Mobile 1 and 2 (please help us with more inventive names) each can fit about 60 roosting birds. Egg Mobile One (EMB1) was made from a travel trailer frame with odds and ends from the farm. We did buy roofing material both metal and clear plastic. The clear plastic provides daylight and some Ultra Violet cleansing. The roof is a single pitch design which keeps it simple and provides for good ventilation.
Once every 5 to 10 days the mobiles are moved, giving the hens access to fresh forage and protecting the land from overuse. This closes the nitrogen cycle and boost fertility. The hens and eggs are healthier because of the natural forage and setting. The green grass and sunshine are like tonics to a laying hen. This is why a Smithshyre egg is so much better then all grocery store eggs.