Re: Plans for Nesting Boxes
For those on a budget, here is one way to make easilly-cleaned and durable nests. Just take a length of scap plywood or a 1 x 6 board, say a salvaged decking plank. ( Does not matter if it is pressure treated.) Take 5 gallon plastic buckets and a sharpie and trace quarter-circles along one edge. The length and number of these is entirely dependant upon the number of nests desired. For 24 chooks, do 6 nests. For 12 chooks, do maybe 3 to 4. Space the quarter circles so that the buckets will sit in them side by side. Allow the front of the buckets to be a good 4" higher than the back. This will assure that eggs will not roll out, and will help keep the nesting material in the buckets. Just saw out the quarter-circles with a small jig saw, or clamp the board in a vise and use a Sawzall (two-handed reciprocating saw). Next, build a suitable structure to support a nest shelf of plywood or OSB. 2x4's are most likely best, but not mandatory. Nail a1x2 or 2x2 to the bottom front edge to make this shelf firm . Make sure that this shelf is over 6" longer than the buckets in their mounted position will be so as to have a walkway for the chooks. Then nail your special piece with quarter circles to your shelf. When you place your nest row, do it against a wall. Then take a strip of scrap lumber, furring strip, whatever is handy and long enough to go the length of your nest row. After laying the buckets in their quarter circles, lay the furring strip on top of the backs of the buckets against the wall. Nail it to each of the wall studs. You now have a firm place so that even if the chooks get rambunctious, they will not dislodge the nest buckets. The framing for all of this has to be designed/ built to accomodate all of it beforehand so as not to be trying to 'add-on' what you forgot to design for at the last.
You can easily find free 5 gallon plastic buckets at any construction site where drywall is being installed. To clean them, just fill to their tops with water and let it sit for one to three days. Then use a stiff scrub brush and putty knife to clean out the drywall mud. Durable, free, easy to clean nest boxes, free of charge. An added bonus is that there is no place for mites to breed or hide.
Coop cleaning time (once a year, honestly, if coop is designed/maintained properly!) is a breeze because you have wisely left the handles on the buckets and positioned them on top. Just pull them up one by one and dump contents in a cardboard box or wheelbarrow for disposal, compost, or whatever. Then blast out each bucket with your garden hose and lay them inverted for drying. Do all of this only when you have fresh nesting material available so as to return the nests to service quickly. You can even leave one in service while you do all of the others, and save it for being the last one serviced.
Re: Plans for Nesting Boxes