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How To Build Nest Boxes Using 5 Gallon Plastic Buckets

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

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.

Gerry 
cool

NECESSITY MAY BE THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, BUT GOD IS THE FATHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS.    (G. Simpkins)
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NECESSITY MAY BE THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, BUT GOD IS THE FATHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS.    (G. Simpkins)
Reply
post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsim 

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.

Gerry 
cool


Can you post a drawing?  I have an ideas to make 2 eggs nest box with one 5gal bucket, but haven't got around doing it.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Can you post a drawing?  I have an ideas to make 2 eggs nest box with one 5gal bucket, but haven't got around doing it.


If you visit 'My BYC Page' you will see that I did not use this method.  I used plastic parts bin boxes that I already had which just happened to be the ideal size for a chicken nest.  I only posted this as a service to those on this forum who might have access to plastic buckets, and who might be able to work with basic hand tools.  It is an alternative to spending $8 per nest for boxes from Lowe's. 

I have no 'drawings' or 'plans' to be able to post.  Sorry.  Simplest thing I can say about it is to take a few buckets and lay them in a row on their sides and picture what you have to build to support that at a ht of 12" to 24" above the floor of the coop.  Having said that, it sounds as if you want to saw one in two lengthwise to make two nests.  I do not see why that would not work.  In fact, I see two benefits from doing it that way.  You will not need as many buckets, and the nests themselves will not be quite as hot for a sitting hen being that they are open top affairs.  Really, either way will work fine.  Chooks are very adaptable.  Mine prefer the two corner nests for whatever reason.  I have seen them double up in one of those when all other nests are empty.  I have twice seen them even triple up in one nest.  In fact, once I saw the 3rd one climb onto the backs of the other two already sitting in one of the corner nests and lay an egg on their backs?  10 other nests were empty!
  lol

Gerry

NECESSITY MAY BE THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, BUT GOD IS THE FATHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS.    (G. Simpkins)
Reply
NECESSITY MAY BE THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, BUT GOD IS THE FATHER OF ALL GOOD THINGS.    (G. Simpkins)
Reply
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