Chicken nests made from recycled plastic offcuts saves on costs

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Friday, January 18, 2013

<p>M& S Plastic’s plastic chicken nest, made by recycling plastic offcuts, has been designed with a lip in the front to prevent sawdust shavings from falling from the nest, saving chicken farmers on cost (Image Source: M&S Plastics).</p>

M& S Plastic’s plastic chicken nest, made by recycling plastic offcuts, has been designed with a lip in the front to prevent sawdust shavings from falling from the nest, saving chicken farmers on cost (Image Source: M&S Plastics).

A South African company, M & S Plastics, have designed a chicken nest made by recycling plastic offcuts from their own factory and plastic product from other companies. “The nest is a lightweight, cheaper and a long lasting alternative to the usual metal nests that are used by chicken farmers in South Africa”, says Terry Sutherland, Marketing Manager from M & S Plastics.

M& S Plastics produce plastic drums, bottles and general purpose plastic containers. During a visit to a chicken farm to deliver a plastic drum, Sutherland was asked to consider designing a plastic chicken nest. M&S Plastics used an existing 25 litre plastic drum mould and added a lip to the drum to prevent sawdust shavings from falling out the drum when the chickens move. “Shavings are quite an expensive additional cost to chicken farmers”, says Sutherland. The plastic nests are placed on metal frames and are designed to assist in preventing shavings from falling out, saving on costs as the shavings do not have to be replaced as frequently.

The nest is blow moulded in black recycled high density polyethylene. Sutherland says that “the black colour of the drum provides the chickens with suitable darkness to lay their eggs as chickens like to lay their eggs in dark places”. “The nests are suitable for both breeding and egg laying farms, and can be used for free range hens as the nests can be placed on the ground”, says Sutherland.

“A big advantage of the plastic chicken nest is that they do not rust. Most chicken farmers use metal nests that tend to rust whilst the plastic nests have a longer lifespan and are cheaper”, says Sutherland. A set of 24 metal nests costs in the region of R2,500 whilst a plastic version is around R1,800, adds Sutherland.

Thus far M & S Plastics have sold in the region of 160,000 plastic chicken nests. “It has been a challenge to get farmers to buy into the idea but it has generally been well accepted. Farmers also have to wait for a new flock of birds so that the birds don’t know the difference between the metal and plastic nests” explains Sutherland.

M& S Plastics chicken nest design was awarded a silver award in the South African Plastics Recyclers Organization’s Best Recycled Product of the Year Competition for 2012, Product made from 100 % recyclate category.

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Amanda Botes