Any ideas for nest boxes for chickens? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Our hens will hopefully start laying soon. What to do for nest boxes? Husband says he doesn't have time to make wooden ones - he just wants to put cardboard boxes with hay in them out there. Any suggestions for homemade ones? Or some catalogue or online place with reasonably cheap ones?

-- Christina (, June 16, 2001


Plastic milk crates w/ hay or shavings work well.You can buy them at Walmart for just a little. Or you may find them at fleamarkets/ yard sales. Cardboard boxes may not work well unless you change them often.

-- Debbie T in N.C. (, June 16, 2001.

I have literally dozens of plastic 5 gallon buckets (we get them from a nearby restaurant that throws them out). These work great for bantams and small hens. Actually, the bigger hens sometimes use them, too, but they don't look real comfortable in them- they get kinda squished up in them. Cathy<><

-- Cathy Zeiler (, June 16, 2001.

We took a bunch of old tree containers, like the ones you buy trees in, (about the size of five gallon buckets) and screwed them about 2 feet off the ground. We used washers to reinforce the screws. Then we put 6 or 8 inches of wood shavings in. Fast, easy, and for us cheap, as we had these stored in our garage from some trees we had planted several yrs ago.

-- Maylene (, June 16, 2001.

I use milk crates. I cut one side down and fill with hay.

-- Elizabeth (, June 16, 2001.

I've cut the bottom 4-5 inches off the plastic 5 gallon buckets and used the bottoms, lined with hay or shavings. But your chickens will lay their eggs just about anywhere you leave hay, straw, or shavings - a shelf, the floor, the hay pile. One hen consistently used a box of nails!!!!

-- glynnis in KY (, June 17, 2001.

Fellow Kentuckian Glynnis gives good advice. A comfortable nest is a plus, I think. If the hen is allowed to set the eggs, you are pretty well stuck with the nest you begin with. Moving the hen and the eggs is not a good idea.

But in a time of need, gather a few of the carboard bottoms in which soft drink six packs come in ... available just about anywhere. They are not deep enough to allow a lot of hay or shavings, but will work. Deeper cardboard (corrugated) will last one laying season if the sides are cut low enough that the hen doesn't have to stand on the side to get into it. If the corners tear, use duct tape or run one or two strains of string from rolled or baled hay around the outside to strengthen it.

Actually, cardboard boxes have some advantages. When the laying season is over, it is small work to take the boxes and their hay or shavings (I prefer hay) and burn them ... thereby destroying whatever vermin has accumulated. Sprinkle wood ashes in the bottom of the box and under the hay to help reduce their numbers ... something not possible with wire nests.

-- Gordon B. Crump (, June 17, 2001.

My neighbor used a 2 piece kitty litter box, the kind with a removeable cover. Its easy to clean and will last longer than a cardboard box. Walmart or similar has them pretty cheap.

-- Kate henderson (, June 17, 2001.

Thanks, everybody for the suggestions. We have lots of 5 gallon buckets, and the milk crates are a possibility too.

-- Christina (, June 17, 2001.

I have some nest boxes that used to be the backs off of tv's. Hubby used to fix electronics and so we had a few around, they are easy to take out and hose down once in a while, I lay hay on the bottom to make them comfy.

-- Terri in NS (, June 17, 2001.

I use the Booda Loo covered cat litter boxes. They sit on the ground and there's 5-6 in each pen. I toss in Coastal hay and the hens arrange it to their liking.

Here's a pic ~ I remove the swinging door and don't use the litter mat!

15 1/4 wide x 16 1/4 high x 19 1/2 long.

-- ~Rogo (, June 18, 2001.

I would say NO to a cardboard box nest. I killed one of my nice hens that way. I had cut a hole in the side of the box and taped the top shut. The hens were using it but one day one went in to lay and somehow the box turned over with her inside. It was a hot day and it was too late by the time I found her.

-- Mel Carroll (, June 19, 2001.

This may sound crazy but i put old tires around the garden fill with hay and that is where our chickens lay i also i one with the babies and they nest in it also

-- Debbie Johnson (, June 26, 2001.

debbie that dosen't spund crazy i also do that

-- drew (, August 21, 2001.

How about 5 gallon cooking oil bottles. Wash out the oil, dry, cut out an entrance, paint the outside walls flat black. Any fast food or restaurant will gladly save you the bottles.

-- Charles Haddon Jr. (, September 26, 2001.

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