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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by worms7, Sep 28, 2016.
Out of all the nest boxes on the market how many people use wood
No way to know for sure but I see a lot of pics posted of coops that have wooden nest boxes. Might peruse the Coops page here https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/2/Coops
Those with pic of the interior can give you some idea.
I suspect most home built chicken coops/houses also use home built nest boxes made of wood. There are mine:
They can be made out of scrap and/or leftovers. These were made of odd pieces of leftover plywood and scrap boards I had on hand and are a bit larger than typical. These are 14" square, with a 24" height along the back to slope the top. The birds instantly started using them. They like the one on the far right the best. Why? Probably because it is farthest from the light and coop opening on the left so is the darkest of the three options. They use the middle one next and rarely use the one on the left at all. About 1 nest box per each 4 to 5 birds, although many more than 4 or 5 birds will wind up using the same box. Sometimes uninformed / inexperienced builders make the mistake of including more nest boxes than birds. Embarrassing.
Next boxes need to be kept below the roost bars or else birds will roost in and on them. Slanted on top to keep the birds from sitting on and soiling them, and elevated up off the coop floor enough birds on the ground cannot peak in to see eggs from the ground. A bored bird will see those, peck at the egg, break the egg and eat it. And will keep doing so.
Downside of wood might be with pest management in the form of mites, lice and such. A metal or plastic nest box might be easier to clean keep pest free.
BTW, I believe you also asked about the Little Giant boxes?
I would see no problem with using these. If you wanted to gather eggs from the outside, simply build in a fold down panel about half the height of the nest box so the eggs and bedding don't fall out. Secure your fold down door so predators can't get in and it should work OK.
I don't like wood so much, myself.
I don't know if it's just me, but I've gone through periods when I have broken eggs. Broken eggs in a wooden nest box are a pain.
My main coop is an old greenhouse. The hens just started laying on the floor in the corner, so I went with it. I use plastic totes, either upright and kind of wedged in so they don't tip, or on their side. I've also used milk crates, 5 gallon buckets, and a section of black culvert. I like things I can move and rinse out with a hose if I need to.
The trick with wooden nest boxes vs. roost mites is to paint the nest boxes with a non-drying oil once or twice a year. Mites hide in the cracks and crevices, but non-drying oils block their breathing pores and kill them. The classic non-drying oils are raw linseed oil and used motor oil, and they'll keep thing mite-free for months. Linseed oil is more aesthetically pleasing, of course. It's hard to find raw linseed oil these days, and boiled linseed oil dries to a varnish, so its effectiveness is shorter.
This works great on roosts, too. My experience is that when I paint roosts with oil, the wood sucks it up so they soon feel dry to the touch, so the chickens aren't going to get their feed oily, but nevertheless the roosts stay mite-free for a long time.
With regard to broken eggs, there's an old trick I've only heard mentioned a couple of times: Instead of making nest boxes with a solid wooden floor, use 1/2" hardware cloth for the floor. It's softer, so you get fewer broken eggs. When one breaks anyway, the contents drip through the bottom of the nest and cause less trouble than they would sitting pooled on the nest box floor. Works great!
My plan for the roost bars shown, as well as the nest boxes, is to oil them as Robert suggests. I think I already have the raw linseed oil on hand.
Also, the nest boxes shown above do have wire bottoms. I used the same 1/2" x 1" 14 gauge wire as I used on the window openings. Dirt, dust and yes, broken eggs can fall through them, keeping them cleaner and fewer places for mites etc. to hide in the bedding. It was also common once upon a time to use wire bottoms and if you were to get a mite or lice problem going, pass the removable nest boxes over a hot fire to scorch the little vermin. So those nest boxes shown are not fixed to the wall. They are simply resting on a bracket that is fixed on the wall.
I use wood and I think it is great!
I built these to fit and function like I wanted them to.
Angled board (cobbled with cardboard perch cover extension) at top is hinged and covers nests when I have pullets trying to sleep in nests,
another angled board behind cover keeps them from roosting on top of nest bank.
I pack all cracks and crevices in nest construction with DE, as are all roost C&C's.
Pieces of vinyl in bottom of nests make broken egg clean up a breeze, have a couple extra to swap out quick if needed.
Haven't ever had mites, but my birds are confined with no wild bird pests in run or coop, and I never bring in adult birds.
Back of nest bank opens for egg access, cover has chains attached to make a handy shelf.
So you have to clean floor under nest as well as hardware cloth nest bottom? No thanks.
Do you not use any bedding in nests?