5-gallon bucket nest

LD Jackson

8 Years
May 1, 2011
Roland, OK
Okay, I have seen many examples on BYC of 5-gallon buckets being used as nests. Wonder of wonders, I just happen to have several of them sitting in my shed, so you can see where I am going with this. My question is two-fold.

First, my chickens are Black Australorp, Buff Orpington, and Barred Rock. The buckets are 12" in diameter, so will that be big enough for these bigger hens to lay in? If the answer is yes, then we can go to the next part of my question.

I have room to lay four of the buckets side by side in what I hope will be the nesting area. There would be room for two buckets on top, but they will be very close to the ceiling, with about 18" from the front edge of the bucket to the side of the nesting area, where I will be opening the doors and leaning in to collect the eggs. Will that be enough room for the hens to jump up to the upper layer or will there even be a need for six nests with only 15 hens?
Just to be clearer about how the buckets will be set up, the first layer will be stacked on the floor of the nesting area, with the second later on top. The floor is actually about 3.5' from the ground, in a separate, raised section of the coop. It is currently being used as the brooder and it is my hope that they will use it as a nesting area when they start laying.
The 4 should be plenty for 15 hens. They will probably pick out one or two favorites anyway and not touch the others.
I have also used them with the lid on sitting upright. I cut out a whole in the side about 3" from top and bottom and about 1/3 way around. This leaves an empty doorway for them to go in and out of.
5 gallon buckets are big enough. I've got Orpingtons, Wyandottes and Australorps that lay in them every day.

I use 5 of them for 19 hens. My hens might be oddities - they seem to shake things up every day and spread them around the different buckets/nests and most days leave one empty.

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