How to build shipping cages for poultry

Written by keith allen
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How to build shipping cages for poultry
Shipping cages for poultry can be built of wood. (Chicken image by Jouke from

Small-scale poultry raisers often have a need to transport their animals to shows or for market. Traditionally, poultry crates are constructed of wood, although chicken wire or small gap woven wire is used to reduce the weight of the crate. Important factors in a poultry shipping cage are ease of access for placing and removing the poultry and the overall weight of the crate. The plans from the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, an organisation of free-range chicken producers, create an all wood-shipping cage.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1/2 inch plywood (4 by 3 foot)
  • 2 x 2 lumber (12 feet)
  • Wood lathes (40 feet)
  • Power saw
  • Power drill
  • Screwdriver or screw gun
  • 1 inch deck screws (approx. 60)
  • 2 inch deck screws (approx. 20)
  • 2 hinges
  • 1 latch
  • 1-inch machine bolts, nuts, washers (4 each)
  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Cut two pieces of 1/2 inch plywood 24 x 36 inches for the top and bottom of the crate with the power saw. Cut a 14 x 14 inch hole in the centre of one piece. This will be the top. Keep the small piece for use in the door. Cut 10, 12-inch long pieces of 2 x 2 inch pine lumber. Cut 8, 24-inch pieces and 8, 36-inches pieces of wood lathe, light lumber about a 1/2 inch thick and 2 to 3 inches wide. Paint, if desired, all pieces before assembling the cage.

  2. 2

    Attach strap hinges to the small panel cut as a door from the plywood sheet. Drill holes through the plywood and fasten the hinges in place with 1-inch machine bolts with locking washers. Fasten a small piece of the lathe to the underside of the larger piece of plywood opposite of the hinged side of the door openings to serve as a door stop.

  3. 3

    Fasten, using a screwdriver or screw gun, one of the 12-inch 2 x 2 inch boards to each corner of the plywood using 2-inch deck screws. Fasten the other piece of plywood to the other end of the corner supports. Add additional 12-inch 2 x 2 inch boards as uprights spaced 1 foot from each corner. This adds two supports on the 36-inch side and one on the 24-inch side.

  4. 4

    Fasten the lathes horizontally on all four sides of the crate. Pre-drill the lathes to prevent splitting. Evenly space four pieces on each side. Attach them, using a screwdriver or screw gun, to the 2 x 2 inch uprights with 1-inch deck screws.

  5. 5

    Add a latch to the access door. Latch designs vary widely. Follow label instructions for fastening the latch and catch to the door and crate.

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