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XL Tidy Cat buckets for nest boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KG in Oregon, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. KG in Oregon

    KG in Oregon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2016
    Not sure if anyone else is doing this, but I've started using the XL (35 lb or 17 lb lite) Tidy Cat buckets for nest boxes.

    I wanted something that had a hinged lid that I could set up to collect eggs from OUTSIDE my chicken tractor. The hinged lid is perfect. I drilled a couple of holes near the top of the lid and worked the hook on a bungee cord through, then pliered the hook closed so it couldn't come loose. The lid snaps closed and the bungee is insurance in case one of my girls pushes too hard on the back of her nest box. I used a jig saw to cut out the bottom as you would for a 5 gal nest box (just make sure you have the same top and bottom on both ends of the bucket before you start to cut - lol) and put a length of soaker hose over the cut bottom edge, drilled a series of holes under the hose edge and threaded a thin wire round and round the hose to keep it in place. I think soaker hose is easier on their feet.

    At the same time I fixed up a 5 gal bucket in similar fashion and put two TC buckets and one 5 gal bucket up for my new layers. No on ever used the 5 gal, but they fought over the TC buckets so I gave in and made up one more. This was great for me, the 5 gal bucket lid was hard to get on and off and the TC is so easy.

    I was afraid the TC buckets might be too small (they are only 10 in wide x 12 in tall). I have a barred rock, RIRs and EEs. They all fit, can turn around and seem to like the flat bottom. With the handy hinged lid, it's easy to collect eggs and to clean out the shaving if they get too dirty. Since I moved the cat litter from the TC bucket to a spare 5 gal, I know that the TC holds exactly as much as the 5 gal. so if your girls will use a 5 gal they might actually like the TC bucket better.

    Thanks to everyone for all the great posts. It's been wonderful to take one idea from one post and another from someone else to make a tractor run and a Rubbermaid coop that work perfectly for me. I'm so glad I didn't have to learn everything the hard way. Hope this helps someone else.

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    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Nicely done. I haven’t used those but I did use a smaller cat litter bucket as a nest. The top measured 7-1/2” X 11-1/2” and it worked fine for full sized hens to lay in. Your 10” x 12” should work great.

    I set mine up on a 45 degree angle so I didn’t have to worry about making a lip. I did have one problem though. I let a broody hen hatch chicks in it. The first ones that hatched liked to climb up on Momma’s back while they were waiting for the later ones to hatch. Because she was sitting so close to the edge when a chick fell off it missed the nest and fell to the coop floor. I had to pick chicks up four times and toss them back in the nest with Momma. I retired that nest after that. It just didn’t suit my needs, it was not wide enough for a broody to hatch in.

    Even if you let a hen hatch in that you should not have that problem, it’s set up quite differently than mine was. But maybe someone will read this and avoid my mistake.
     
  3. treefrogging

    treefrogging Just Hatched

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    Sep 8, 2016
    Those look great for nesting boxes. There are so many creative ideas on Pinterest. What is the name of your semi-circle coop called? Looks kind of like a greenhouse idea.....I like it...
     
  4. KG in Oregon

    KG in Oregon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2016
    It is like a hoop house. If you google hoop coop you'll get lots of pictures. I took the best (for me) ideas from several tutorials.

    Mine is a base of 2x4s screwed together. Then I drilled 3/4 in holes down through the 2x4s to hold hoops of pvc water pipe. I could have used metal fasteners made to hold pipes instead. Over the hoops went welded wire fencing (1x3 I think). I could have used wider spaced fencing with chicken wire around the bottom, but that was a lot more work and I had some of the fencing already. The wire fencing was stapled to the base 2x4s and zip tied to the hoops. I used a very heavy duty stapler and long staples. This made the whole thing quite sturdy. The ends are covered with 1x1 plastic fencing. I used 3/4 in mending plates to hold the 2x4 roost to the fencing and the 2x4 that holds up the front of the nest boxes. I used 4 lawnmower wheels and bolts to make it easily movable. The 8x10 tarp on top has a 1x2 board zip tied to each bottom edge, and dog leash clips screwed into the ends of the 1x2, so I can roll it up and clip it, to give more or less sun or rain protection. It cost me about $100, but I had some of the material on hand. A lot of the materials were chosen for low cost, or because I already had them on hand from another project.

    This is their daytime run. The girls sleep in a coop at night, but in areas that don't get too cold, this could be their only coop. I'm really happy with it.
     
  5. treefrogging

    treefrogging Just Hatched

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    KG in Oregon, thanks much for the info on how you built that! We built a covered, rectangular run next to our shed-converted-coop... but I'd love to have one of these sometime if we get a bigger yard!
     

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