Cages for laying hens are made with their own hands by the main component of farmers due to the multifunctionality and simplicity of the structure. There are two basic versions: with hard deck and with egg collector. The second option is more problematic to create, but more comfortable to maintain. In addition, the cages should contain lighting and feed equipment. Lighting is required to lengthen the egg-laying period (as soon as the day becomes shorter).
Keeping chickens for eggs is a common activity of personal subsidiary plots. As practice shows, cages for laying hens are an inexpensive and most successful solution for such an activity. This is due to:
- the prospect of constant bird control;
- compact localization of chickens;
- comfortable collection of eggs;
- a certain sequence of feeding and care.
However, not every cage is suitable for breeding birds at home - traditional buildings for broilers and chickens are not suitable for high-quality egg collection.
In this regard, specialized cages for laying hens have been designed, which make it possible for the bird to feel comfortable, and for the owner to have a good income. There are two ways to get the required device:
- purchase a cage at a specialized outlet;
- make a cage with your own hands.
The first method is less labor-consuming, but the most expensive.
In this regard, many poultry breeders opt for homemade constructions. Making a cage for laying hens yourself is relatively easy and quick.
Almost anyone with basic skills and materials at hand is able to complete all the required processes using the developed drawings and images.
How to choose?
The choice of a cell is carried out taking into account a wide variety of factors, which will be discussed below.
- The key is the scale of the economy. For ten hens, it makes more sense to have two nests than to keep them in a cage. If there are more birds, and there is no possibility of free walking under any conditions, it is worth giving preference to keeping them in cages.
- The next factor is the material of manufacture. Metallic materials are much more durable and more reliable if only zinc-plated metal is practiced. Naturally, it is easier to create a cage from wood. But it is not so strong and, for example, is not suitable for multi-level structures.
- Number of copies. Single-specimen cages are typically used in breeding breeds where it is important to track the identity of the eggs. For egg-laying chickens, cages for 4-5 copies are considered especially in demand. With a significant economy, the largest structures are practiced (for 7 copies) and are placed in tiers.
- Concept. Cells are transported and static. Static ones are installed indoors and do not move. Portable versions are equipped with equipment for carrying and are taken out into the street in the summer. Even in the absence of free walking, being in the fresh air and in the sun makes the birds healthier.
- Installation method . In ordinary situations, cells are placed on racks. The distance from the structure to the floor depends on comfort. Wall installation is practiced only when the fence is a bulkhead, as the load-bearing walls get too cold in winter. The suspended version is the least common - this method simplifies the cleaning activities in the room, but it is the most difficult to implement.
Long-tiered structures are usually used in large farms where it is necessary to place the largest number of chickens in a small area. This modification is non-separable and represents an integral skeleton with cells and trays, which are installed at a certain distance from each other.
When using a cage battery for raising layers, it is very important to provide the necessary lighting. Avoid dark or overly lit places.
On large farms, lighting of a different spectrum is often practiced. As can be seen from practice, the rotation of yellow, orange, red colors, as well as the gradual switching on and off the lighting, simulating sunrise and sunset, has a positive effect on the productivity of layers.
Dimensions and shape
For the calculations to be correct, it is necessary to take into account the size of the bird that is supposed to be kept.
- Egg. In such an option, the cage should not be made too high, since the size of such a chicken is not very large. It is believed that one bird needs to isolate a space of 20 to 50 cm2.
- Meat and egg. Specimens of meat and egg breeds are characterized by large sizes, and therefore more space will need to be isolated for one individual - approximately 80-90 sq. cm.
When calculating the parameters of the cage, it is also necessary to take into account the number of livestock, since it is extremely important to maintain an area ratio and prevent excessive crowding in the future. For example, according to the number of heads, cells can be:
- for one chicken - 50x50x65 cm;
- for 2-3 layers - 60x100x45 cm;
- for 4-5 hens - 60x120x50 cm;
- for 5-7 hens - 70x150x65 cm.
The main conditions for establishing cage breeding for chickens are safety and hygiene requirements. The finished cage must be adapted for cleaning and sanitizing. In addition, it must prevent any injury to the birds during use. It is necessary to plan the free space in such a way that there is optimal transparency of light and air masses.
The skeleton of the cage is made of a wooden bar or metal profiled material. The walls are made of zinc coated material or non-corrosive mesh. For the area of attaching the drinkers and feeders, the hen's head should pass freely through the holes. The floor needs a net with a small cross-section so as not to impede the movement of the bird.
You will need the following tool:
- angle grinder;
- tape measure, square and level.
If the structure is iron, you will need an electric welding unit. Having prepared all the source materials and tools, you can start creating the structure.
How to do it?
Based on the potentials of the owner of the farm and the tasks of raising chickens, the cells can be different. They can be roughly divided into two key types.
- With bedding. In such structures, the floors are built deaf and covered with straw or shavings.
- With inclined deck and egg collector . The flooring is double, the upper level is lattice and has a slope. The lower one is deaf and equipped with a retractable device. The design makes it possible to keep dry and clean. In this case, the eggs do not fall under the bird or into the nest, but immediately roll down into the groove.
This design of the cage is considered ideal as it minimizes the contact time of the chicken with the egg.
Each of these modifications can be assembled on your own at home. Sometimes the cages are built in groups for 7-10 specimens (much more in reputable poultry farms). With a significant bird population, a cage battery (an assembly of cages) is suitable. It represents cells, consisting of several tiers and rows.
- Before starting work, you need to worry about the drawing of the fixture. Initially, it is necessary to lay out a diagram of the entire structure and depict key dimensions. It is much easier to apply ready-made parameters that were developed by specialists.
- The skeleton of the cell is made, as a rule, of wood, since it is more affordable and environmentally friendly material. Instead of timber, you can use iron corners or a profile for drywall. In such a situation, an additional tool will be required - an electric welding machine.
- Marking and cutting of the material for the skeleton is performed. The prepared bars of 40x40 mm must be cut with a hacksaw or an electric jigsaw according to the drawing. The end surfaces are cleaned with sandpaper.
- The frame is assembled using zinc-coated corners and self-tapping screws. You can also reinforce it with plywood kerchiefs along the side walls. For the device of the lower sump, a grating made of 20x40 mm bar is mounted. The frame of the door is made from the same bar. If the cage is intended for transportation, then furniture wheels are installed on the legs.
- If the frame is assembled from a metal profiled material, then the finished elements are connected with self-tapping screws for metal, and the profile tube or corner is connected by welding.
- A mesh floor is made: a steel mesh with a small mesh is cut according to a sketch, its front edge must be bent in the form of a groove. To reinforce the floor, horizontal supports can be made of 20x40 mm timber with a gap between them of at least 20 cm. The timber must be treated with an antiseptic, for example, lime or drying oil. The mesh is attached to the timber by means of "self-tapping bugs".
- The rear and end walls are covered with a mesh made of metal with a small mesh, fixed with "self-tapping bugs". To eliminate unnecessary manipulations with cutting the material, you can bend the end walls from one mesh fragment.
- The front wall-door is covered with a 50x50 mm mesh, fixed with self-tapping screws. It is advisable to make the door hinged - with a width of 1 m, the opening door will not be very comfortable. Latches are installed to block the door.
- The roof of the cage is made of lattice, oriented strand board or moisture resistant plywood. Fixed with self-tapping screws.
- A tray-tray is made of galvanized steel according to the dimensions of the cage bottom. Its front edge is bent in the shape of a handle. It is located on a bar flooring.
Egg Collector Structures
Laying house construction begins with assembling the skeleton. It is advisable to make it from wood or aluminum profiled material.
If the farm has an electric welding unit, then the frame can be made of iron tubes or corners.
To make a wooden base, a 40x40 mm bar is prepared. It is located according to the dimensions marked in the drawing. According to the marks, it is cut with a hacksaw, and then tied with self-tapping screws. The further construction of the chicken cage looks as described below.
- The lower tray and door are made. It is desirable to make the frame from a 20x40 mm bar.
- The floors are made of steel mesh. It is cut to size in the sketch, and the edges are folded to create a tray structure. The floor is made with additional cross members from the same bar (20x40 mm).
Installation of the floor to the frame is carried out at an angle of 5-7 degrees. This trick facilitates a comfortable collection of eggs, which will roll down to a specialized chute nailed to the face. This technique makes it possible to achieve 100% product integrity, since the chicken will not be able to crush or peck the egg.
- The mesh is fixed by means of self-tapping screws separately on each wall or completely, bending it at the corners of a homemade box.
- A mesh, awnings and bolts are attached to the door.
- The final building process will be the installation of the excrement tray. It is made from zinc-coated sheet according to the parameters indicated in the drawing of the cage for laying hens. It is mounted on timber rails for comfortable cleaning later on.
Cell batteries (aggregate of cells)
Structures consisting of sections, as a rule, have three tiers. They are created exclusively from metal profiled material and mesh, since they are obliged to withstand a decent load. For the most part, units from cells are bought ready-made, because welding is necessary during creation.
The multi-level iron cage for laying hens is the optimal solution for large farms.
The advantage of the ready-made design also lies in the fact that with a very large scale of the unit, it can be equipped with automatic water supply and feed systems, which greatly simplifies the work of the farmer.
How to equip?
Due to the fact that keeping in a cage is associated with limiting the activity of birds, attention should be paid to the competent arrangement of points of access to food and drink.
The bird should easily reach for food - this is a fundamental condition for maintaining the psychological peace of the chicken.
A container for renewing food supplies can be purchased ready-made or made in-house. To do this, use sheet steel, which is given the shape of a gutter, PVC water pipes, cut in two and equipped with plugs at both ends.
Installation is carried out to the bars at a level below the drinking device, which makes it possible to keep the water clean, without fodder getting into it.
The location should be on the front wall of the cage 10-15 cm above the level of the egg collector. Self-tapping screws and zinc-coated wire are used to mate with the skeleton.
The creation of a drinking device should provide for the maneuverability of the structure so that the breeder has the ability not only to add fresh water, but also to systematically wash the tray. It is advisable to use the nipple method of drinking poultry.
The self-made drinker has a trough configuration and is made of tinplate or plastic containers. The location of the device is above the feeder, at a level comfortable for the bird.
Optimal egg production requires not only a healthy diet, but also good lighting. The length of the day should be 14-17 hours. In winter, this is achieved only through artificial lighting.
In order to save electrical energy, diode or energy-saving light bulbs are used.
It is required to distribute them so that the light in the chicken cage is measured. If you attach a time delay regulator or a photosensor to the design, you can debug its automatic switching on and off. You need to install light sources so that a distance is maintained to them. Lampshades must be durable so that chickens cannot ruin them.
Where to place?
The upcoming installation site of cages must meet a number of criteria that are important for comfortable and effective breeding of birds:
- the purpose of the building is to settle birds away from other animals;
- heating system, ready to withstand the temperature regime required for laying eggs: not less than 22 degrees Celsius;
- ventilation system;
- equipment with an auxiliary light source, increasing the length of the day to 16 hours.
Any deviations in any direction from the recommended conditions will entail very severe consequences: a drop in the productivity of laying hens and the formation of diseases.
The cage is a convenient solution for breeding chickens. You can create it from readily available building materials. However, this way of keeping birds is not perfect - you need to give them fresh vegetation and non-biological vitamins. It is also necessary to correctly balance the area of the structure based on the livestock.
The process of making a cage frame from a mesh, see below.