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Buckets as Nesting Boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Poppy Putentake, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. Poppy Putentake

    Poppy Putentake Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all,

    I'm about to build the quarters for my first flock of chickens and want to ask about nesting boxes. I've seen quite a bit on the Internet about 5-gallon plastic buckets as nesting boxes. I can see several advantages -- durability, ease of fabrication, and ease of cleaning, but I'd like to ask whether the chickens actually like them and lay eggs in them. Has anyone given chickens a choice between buckets and conventional wooden-box type boxes and observed what they prefer? (I'm considering building them a couple of wooden nest boxes but giving them a few others made from buckets.)

    Are the dimensions right for both large and small chickens? (Nearly all 5-gallon plastic buckets are about 11 1/2" in diameter and 14-16" deep.)?

    What about orientation? All the pictures I've seen show the buckets with the wider top opening as the entrance for the chicken, (with something across the bottom to hold in bedding). I am planning to make my nest boxes accessible (for egg collecting, etc.) from outside the chicken enclosure, so I'm thinking it would make more sense to cut an opening in the *bottom* of the bucket as the chicken's entryway, with some kind of open-able door on the other end. That way the bucket would taper to larger inwards.

    Color -- most of the buckets I have are white, but I also have a few green, orange and black ones. I've read that chickens like a dark, cave-like enclosure for nesting, so would a colored bucket be better? (BTW, most of my buckets were originally containers for various foods like pickles, yogurt, etc.)

    What about kitty-liter buckets? I've seen pictures of these as nest boxes also. The rounded-rectangle shape seems good, but the dimensions at the top are just 91/4" x 111/4". Is that too small? Would they be better oriented with the longer dimension horizontal or vertical? I've also got some 9 1/2" x 9 1/2" square buckets about 15" deep -- would those be too narrow?

    Friendly greetings to all,

    Poppy
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have! It's more of s metal tub than a bucket really, but my girls seem to like the nest boxes better. However, when everyone is trying to lay an egg all at once, it's always a back up nest for them. Some chickens prefer it, some don't. If you but buckets in your coop and fill it with hay, they will most likely use it just as any other nest box.
     
  3. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have bucket nests. My chickens use them fine. I just had a broody hen hatch chicks in one too. I use straw as bedding inside. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cute picture!
     
  5. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    I've given them a choice between a 5 gal bucket and 14x16x16 nest.......they chose the nest.
    Even the slimmest pullet couldn't easily turn around in the bucket and that bugged her.
    But many people do use the buckets successfully.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  7. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My standard brahma that is laying likes the buckets. And my EE, and silkies too. I got a little worried when the brahma climbed in with the broody hen, but she backed out after a minute. It probably depends on what your chickens get used to.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I use the buckets when an overhead protection is available. Do not use black buckets in full sun during heat of summer. Either dirt or oyster shell is placed in the bucket with a little hay. The dirt / oyster shell provides a depression that prevent eggs from rolling. The hen then has an easier time standing and breaks fewer eggs prior to hatch. The solids may also help moderate humidity condition in contact with clutch.


    Once chicks hatch I go to considerable lengths to make so they can get back in with hen at night. Then bucket can be moved incrementally over a few days to get hens to cover broods in locations that helps keep conflicts over nesting sites to a minimum. I also like to tie buckets so they are not rolled. I have nosey dogs and in the past had calves that would come close to the buckets.
     

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