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nestbox hole

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sharol, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. sharol

    sharol Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    OK, I know this has been covered, but a search didn't unearth anything.

    I am building a 3 hole nestbox out of OSD that we got really cheap at Home Depot last weekend. The unit is 36" long x 12" high and is divided into 3 areas. I have the bottom back and dividers in place. the top will lift off for cleaning. Now the question. How big should I cut the holes for the girls to go in to the boxes? I have the 36x12 piece cut, but I'm not sure how large an opening they would need (or want). their existing nest box (in the old coop) is about 10x10 and pretty much the whole front is open.

    Anybody have any suggestions about size and shape? I'm getting pretty good with the jig saw (just don't ask me to use that scary table saw ;-) ).

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'd leave the bottom 5" on so you have a good lip to hold the nesting material and eggs in there when they start scratching, then take the opening to the top. Hopefully it is framed so they have at least a 6" opening if you do that. If you have it framed so they do not have a 6" opening if you do that, lower the lip but lower it as little as possible. I had some nesting boxes in a tractor where the openings were only 6" high and they used those nest boxes. I know 6" worked for mine.

    I don't have as good a handle on the absolute minimum width they need. I'd probably go with 8" just to make sure they have plenty.

    Depending on how high they are off the ground, you might want a perch in front of the opening to help them get in. Again, I don't have a solid number for you. Mine don't have any trouble with 18", so I know that is OK.

    Good luck!
  3. sharol

    sharol Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    If I leave 5" at the bottom, there will be nearly 8" to the top of the box. I was thinking a round opening -- maybe a half circle that opens to the top. It won't be very high off the floor. 18" tops (and there will be litter for part of that space - more as the winter goes on). I was going to draw the opening around an 8" skillet, and I suppose if it is too small, I can enlarge it later.

    Thanks for the suggestions

  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Any chance of using the OSB for something else, and using plywood or a converted plastic container for your nestbox?

    Just suggesting that because even if you prime and paint the OSB very very heavily, there still remain about fifty thousand little crevices (because it is so rough) such that if you get a mite problem started you will be hard-put to deal with it short of either a) repriming and repainting the nestbox or b) discarding it and making a new one out of something smoother.

    Anyhow, to address your actual question [​IMG] -- the easiest way to make nestboxes is with the entire front open (so, no holes being cut) and a 5-6" lip on the front to hold the bedding in and provide partial privacy. If these are external nestboxes and you have to be cutting a hole thru the wall for them ANYhow, I'd still go with something like that, where the upper 2/3 or so of the nestbox is pretty much all open in front -- if there will be more than 1 nestbox you can just cut one long hole for them all. You may wish to add a piece of 1x or 2x lumber to reinforce the sill (bottom of the hole you cut) so it is less prone to wear damage and so the birds have a wider spot to perch on as they enter or leave the boxes -- though how much this matters depends on the layout of your coop.

    Good luck, have fun,


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