Mississippi Magazine|March - April 2021
Quarantine ignites a need for eggs and a home for feathered friends.

Retired, quarantined, and desiring a project was the driving force behind the designing and building of a chicken coop that Raymond Joyner lovingly calls Oak Ridge Poultry Hilton Egg Factory. During this season of uncertainty, this project brought a measure of comfort, peace, and normalcy, but it also fulfilled a need as eggs were in short supply at the local grocery.

A native of Warren County, Joyner grew up in the Oak Ridge community and spent much of his youth on his grandparents’ farm, where he learned how to garden, care for cattle, chickens, and timber. It’s also where eggs were never scarce. His grandmother, Frances Redditt Martin, raised chickens and always had fresh eggs for cooking. Since her passing in 1998, there have been very few times when Joyner was able to procure fresh, off-thefarm eggs.

Evolving from a need and desire for fresh eggs, Joyner decided to raise chickens and build his own chicken house. The resulting coop was designed from an image in his mind from his years working with farmers and landowners while employed with the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and from his grandmother. With his mind set, he went to work, planning every detail down to the red and white paint scheme.

Once the framing was finished, a shingled roof was added. Using a mixture of new and scrap lumber, he built two doors—one to provide access to the nests and the other to serve as an entryway for resupplying food and water.

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