Considering used nest boxes (galvanized metal)...are they safe?

TN Henny Penny

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 22, 2011
We saw some nest boxes for sale on craig's list. Can we safely clean them to be sure we're not introducing harmful bacteria or other hazards to our chicks? The lister had 10 sets of 12 stacked boxes (6 on 6), so it seems unlikely this is a backyard enthusiast? Our chicks are only 4 wks old, so they won't be needing the boxes soon. Any advice? Linda
Personally, I wouldnt use metal nest boxes because they hold heat and cold. I prefer wood boxes, little or no conductivity/transferrence of heat or cold. There could also possibly be a chemical reaction between the cleaners/solvents used with the metal to clean it.
I don't like galvanized nestboxes but they work ok and if you really want them you should be able to disinfect them satisfactorily (if they are in clean-ish condition already) using bleach or oxine and good scrubbing of the crevices.

Personally I'd make nestboxes that were more customized to my coop and my #chickens, though.

hmm..thanks for giving us something to think about. Twelve boxes is more than we need at this point and that's the only size unit available. Six would be plenty for us and with the heat/cold considerations definitely give us pause! Thanks for the feedback - think we'll just get out the wood, screws and nails like we originally planned! You guys are great!
Another thing to think about: using portable plastic nestboxes. You can cut a hole in plain plastic lidded bin, or use a covered kitty litter box, etc. Plastic is easy to clean and there are no crevices to harbor mites.

If one nest gets pooped in, you can just take the whole box over to your composter, dump out the contents, hose it down and leave it in the sun to dry. Then you can replace fresh bedding (maybe put a little poultry dust on the bottom of the box first), and return to your coop, all done.

If you have stationary boxes that are screwed or nailed to the wall, cleaning one becomes more complicated.

A portable nestbox is also very useful if you're managing a broody, too. You don't have to disturb her from her nest to move her to a separate pen. You can just move the box with then hen, nest and eggs inside it.
You know, the one thing I most wish I'd have done when building my nestboxes is I wish I'd built them sized to exactly contain some sort of plastic tub (dishtub or the like) so that when a hen goes broody I could remove her and her clutch to another area some night by just picking up and relocating the whole tub. As opposed to having to actually move the hen and move the eggs individually and hope she continues to set.

Not a *huge* thing, but if you expect to raise chicks, worth considering.


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