I’ve wanted to build an Egg Mobile for a long, long time. I’ve drawn different designs and daydreamed of when I could follow our cows with a portable hen house. I think I read Joel Salatin’s book Salad Bar Beef nearly ten years ago now. I read the book in one long, late night and my mind exploded. We had a few cows and had always kept a garden; we were even selling some milk. Somehow though, Joel managed to dive deep into a subject I had never read much about and conveyed a sense of absolutely contagious, infectious, explosive excitement about land, farming, and husbandry like I had never heard. Here is Joel’s Egg Mobile:
Instead of something most of us might think of as just a bunch of chores, sweat, and hard work, Joel revealed the other side of farming; the healing side. The side that exposes the deep spiritual connection between eternity, God’s Word, and growing our own food. It’s the side of farming that isn’t just production numbers and a mechanistic attitude towards raising food, but rather a gentle tending of the land; a warning that we should be sure to take good care of the dirt that God used to form Adam into a living soul.
This connection of ourselves to the land, this story of how He drew us out of the very dirt, and then expects us to tend that soil and have dominion over the earth, all to die one day and then move onto our eternal dwelling place is amazing. It’s not talked about, it’s not taught in the government controlled public education system, and it’s long gone from our Church Organizations. I believe one of the greatest problems in our day is that we’ve made Technology our New God. You don’t believe me? Try standing in line in a major city for the latest iPhone to come out. Try to wrap your mind around the fact that if a McDonald’s kitchen efficiency engineer can shave a half a second off of a process, it produces millions more dollars in revenue each year. Do people realize that if the supermarkets stopped putting food on the shelves people would die for want of food and the knowledge to grow and raise it, and yet supermarkets are less than seventy-five years old? If you don’t think the God of Technology is America’s new god, many Christians included, how is it possible that less than 1% of our population feeds us? It is because we worship at the altar of Technology and Convenience.
Back to the Egg Mobile…..my daddy, son, and I started building ours yesterday! We bought an old car hauler trailer that used to be a camper off of Craig’s List. The frame was bent and it took some figuring, but we had a very productive first day. We bolted 2×4’s to the frame, built a little mini-wall with custom length ‘studs’ to straighten the bent trailer and installed the floor joists.
The Egg Mobile, Lord willing, will house our laying hens on the farm. Essentially, it’s just a portable hen house with a wire floor so the manure falls onto the land. I’ll use the tractor to move the Egg Mobile 2-3 days behind the cows. The chickens will then free-range on pasture, scratch through the cow patties, eat the fly larva, and enjoy fresh grass, bugs, and sunshine, every day. Compared to other models and designs of keeping laying hens, I think this one is truly amazing.
The spiritual connection is the important part however. How in the world is an Egg Mobile something spiritual?! The Egg Mobile is laughable in today’s world of commercial egg operations. It’s too labor intensive, it’s inefficient, and it’s land extensive. It’s also part of a diversified family farm which is no longer viable, at least according to the major universities and all those agribusiness men and agrochemical companies that rule the food world. But the Egg Mobile is an attempt to honor God’s Creation. If that sounds pious, consider the world God created: the vast buffalo herds of yesterday here in America grazed together in massive groups, moving from one fresh spot of grass to another, while the large flocks of birds followed these herds, cleaning up behind them. Now what is America defined by? Our healthcare system? Do our major cities define America? I hope not; they’re riddled with crime and pollution, run by crooked politicians. Is it our ability to grow healthy food? I don’t think so; can you pronounce all those big words on the labels of nearly everything in the supermarket? The spiritual connection of something as simple as a portable hen house is the attitude and actions that stem from seeking to mimic and honor God’s Creation rather than see how many chickens we can cram into a house, how many eggs we can force them to lay under lights, and how few people we can get to ‘feed the world.’
Here’s Grandaddy working on the floor joist:
Then, we’re raising walls!
So on our little farm, we’re going to give this Egg Mobile idea a try. Our hope is that we can honor the Lord here on our farm through husbandry that respects the Creation as God has given it to us.
I hope you enjoy the pictures, and we’ll post more as we make progress on this exciting project.