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  #1  
Old 11/25/07, 11:06 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 38
what is your simplest nesting box?

Hey All,
I am putting up my first nesting boxes in my coop in prep for our first eggs(YEAH). My girls probably won't start laying til spring, but I want them to get accustomed to their nests and be comfortable when they are ready to start laying. I have looked and asked and thought and my most economical, easy to clean method I have thought up is this. Get free white plastic five gallon buckets, cut them in half long ways. screw a row of them down to a heavy board with the top open end of the bucket facing out from the wall. Install two "shelves of nests on two walls on wall supports, add straw, then when cleaning is needed, I can just remove the whole board and nests and bleach and hose off and put back. How does this sound, has anyone used this idea?
I would appreciate feedback from you more experienced folk. Thanks very much. Lisa

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  #2  
Old 11/25/07, 01:13 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: southern CA
Posts: 1,165

I just have a small flock of chickens, and have 3 nestboxes. Two are old pet carriers, and the third is a covered kitty litter box. Besides being easy to clean, they are portable.

A couple of my hens went broody last summer, and a couple of days before the hatch I moved the nest box to a quiet place on the floor. The chicks could get out without falling a few feet, and I could keep the little family safely away from the other birds that might harm them.

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  #3  
Old 11/25/07, 02:31 PM
Wisconsin Ann's Avatar
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We started out with the 5gal white buckets. worked okay, was free. Our larger Marans were not comfortable with them, tho. Neither were the Cochins.

I went to Walmart and bought 3 sterlite storage tubs. not the smallest ones, but the next size up. I cut a hole just big enough for the hens to fit in one end, put them on a shelf in the coop, put hay in the bottoms. the hens love them. My roosts are above them, so they get a big dirty on top, but I can just take the lids off real quick and shake them outside. I've also got one upside down under the shelf for the one Cochin who likes to lay on the ground.

Oh, and there is a landing pad roost 3 inches in front of the nests so they hop up to the landing pad and then pop into the nest.

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  #4  
Old 11/25/07, 03:34 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Frozen in Michigan
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I have milk crates that stay pretty clean because a lot drops through them. They can be free if you ask on Freecycle. Another cheap thing has been tires. My chickens love them.

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  #5  
Old 11/25/07, 08:46 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 38
easiest nests

hey All,
Thank for the ideas, I apreciate the feedback, I like the milk crate idea, I could cut the front out and even stack them I think. Lisa

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  #6  
Old 11/25/07, 09:33 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Central WV
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I use the large covered cat litter boxes. Easy to clean, portable (is there an echo in here?).

If you use the 5 gallon buckets, I wouldn't cut them in half. Some chickens will use them but some wont' like them all open on the top. Some prefer the perceived safety of an enclosed nesting area.

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  #7  
Old 11/26/07, 01:34 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 5,242

Years ago when I first got into poultry, I bought a bunch of large covered cat litter boxes. They're all I've used all these years. They sit on the ground. I fill them with Bermuda grass hay. The amount I put out depends on how many birds I have at the time.

When I see a hen is broody and if I want babies, I pick up the box with the hen and eggs inside and move them to a 10 x 10 pen of their own. The box is put on the ground along with feed and water.

When the eggs are about to hatch, I put a ramp in the box; part of it inside under the hay, the rest outside. I made the ramps out of half inch hardware cloth. They allow the babies to easily exit/enter the nest boxes. My hens take the babies back to the nest boxes at dusk to settle down for the night.

My nest boxes:



Each is 15 1/4 inches wide x 16 1/4 inches high x 19 1/2 inches long.

I took the front flaps off.

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  #8  
Old 11/26/07, 05:25 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 50

I thought $10 was expensive, when I bought an old 10-hole nest box complex from a neighbor, till I found out that they are quite an expensive item when new.

My dad built some using plans from the extension service.

Despite these luxury accomodations, the favorite nesting sites around here seem to be under the porch and in the hosta!

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  #9  
Old 11/26/07, 07:54 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: KY
Posts: 1,419
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisconsin Ann
We started out with the 5gal white buckets. worked okay, was free. Our larger Marans were not comfortable with them, tho. Neither were the Cochins.

I went to Walmart and bought 3 sterlite storage tubs. not the smallest ones, but the next size up. I cut a hole just big enough for the hens to fit in one end, put them on a shelf in the coop, put hay in the bottoms. the hens love them. My roosts are above them, so they get a big dirty on top, but I can just take the lids off real quick and shake them outside. I've also got one upside down under the shelf for the one Cochin who likes to lay on the ground.

Oh, and there is a landing pad roost 3 inches in front of the nests so they hop up to the landing pad and then pop into the nest.
Mine were not comfortable with the bucket either until I started spliting them right down the middle and screwing them to the wall with 3 screws and fender washers. They decided they were wonderful after that... especially when I added an extra row of 1 inch holes about two inchs from the edge, to allow for more air flow I assume.

They can also be hosed out easily and re-racked for the next round.

I used the plastic 2.5 gallon for bantams and the 5 gallon for lg. breeds... although I did find a lg. hen in the small nesting bucket once in a while... talk about a tight fit!
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  #10  
Old 11/26/07, 08:29 AM
A.T. Hagan
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Scrap lumber to build a box fourteen inches square, about ten inches deep. If I have any I do the bottom with half-inch hardware cloth otherwise just more wood. Average cost: Maybe twenty five cents to pay for the screws. Everything else is usually scrap or salvage.

.....Alan.

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  #11  
Old 11/26/07, 08:39 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 21

Dh built our chicken house from plans he came up with himself...there are openings in the back for nesting box access but alas, he hasn't had the time to build the actual nesting boxes yet. We had to come up with something temporary until he does and our solution was...old dresser drawers! The frame and one of the drawers broke in our boys' ancient hand-me-down dresser. We took the drawers out and set them on the floor of the chicken house in the corners, filled with hay - they love them and two can fit in at the same time (it's funny because they will usually sit facing opposite directions, lol).

Becky

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  #12  
Old 11/26/07, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orthodoxmomof4
they love them and two can fit in at the same time (it's funny because they will usually sit facing opposite directions, lol).

Becky
"If I can't see you, you're NOT THERE!"
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  #13  
Old 11/26/07, 10:04 AM
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The cheapest ones ever.... Some old scrap plywood leaned over the corners of the coop. They loved it and I have never had a chicken like any box I have put for them better. Now I have a great mix to accomodate different tastes.. I have an old beehive that I put a board into to creat a top and bottom box. Some old milk crates.. an old wooden laying box I found in the barn and an old chest that I lay on it's side and cover with an old peice of cloth... still more fussing and fidgeting than when I just had the covered corners.. Would do it again, but not enough corners..

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  #14  
Old 11/26/07, 04:56 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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[QUOTE=chickenista]The cheapest ones ever.... Some old scrap plywood leaned over the corners of the coop.

That made me smile - this past spring and summer our Cochin hen would *only* lay behind a piece of plywood that was propped up against the back of the house...we left it there all summer just for her. ; )

Becky

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  #15  
Old 01/17/08, 09:08 AM
A.T. Hagan
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Bump.

.....Alan.

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  #16  
Old 09/09/10, 01:43 PM
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Location: central south dakota
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old thread, but have a question....i will have around 8-12 hens, and want cheap and easy nest boxes. not real handy with hammer, so i have a couple milk crates, and will watch for some pet carrier type things too. now, here goes a real lame question...the milk crates for boxes, are they on the ground with the bottom on the floor, so it has 4 walls, or up a few inches off the ground, on the side? i did it that way but it doesnt' look like there's enough room for the bird that direction, but i have no idea if they'll jump into a milk crate if its sitting upright?

my husband was not pleased when we went to the dump several weeks ago and i jumped out of the pickup and said OH, look!! he got snarky and said, we didn't come to shop!! but,...there was this box, have no idea what it used to be, but its a PERFECT nest box! but there was only one, dang! i had gotten a few 'mixed heavies' from the local farm store, and 2 of those are hens, and they are veyr happy with my dump-box! now, the others need some too.

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  #17  
Old 09/10/10, 12:41 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Illinois
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I use old wooden fruit crates. I also have a couple of those plastic crates people buy their kids when they go off to college.
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  #18  
Old 09/10/10, 01:39 AM
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Location: Washington
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Best and cheapest I found to use was a small chest of dresser drawers - the smaller narrow kind, like for underwear and hankies and such. It was in a pile of "free stuff" along side the road.

I pulled apart the drawers. The remaining narrow box/tube needed only separators. Bottoms of the drawers fit right back in place perfectly for that. The remaining pieces of the drawers I nailed across the front for a lip to hold the straw in. Three nest boxes in no time flat. Voila!

Took hardly any time and didn't cost a dime.

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  #19  
Old 09/10/10, 09:33 AM
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Location: U.P. of Michigan
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Chewie, I would just set them in the coop with the bottom on the bottm. Mine seem to like 4 walls better than just 3 with the front open. And milk crates are just about a perfect size. To help keep them clean, you may want to add a roof over the crates that is at a slant, so that the birds cant stand on the edges and poop. Sometimes smaller birds will use the edge of nesting boxes as roosts for the night or to just rest. A slanted roof will help keep the birds from doing this which will help keep then cleaner. Make sure that it is slanted enough so that birds cant stand on it.

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  #20  
Old 09/10/10, 07:24 PM
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I use apple baskets. My girls love them.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanh/4364741713/

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