Monday, April 6, 2009

Raising Poultry - DIY Nest Boxes

Trying to raise chickens on a very tight budget can get expensive if you always have to go out and buy the necessary equipment. If you are a do-it-yourself chicken farmer, there are plenty of places where you can buy different types of poultry equipment. You can save a lot of money by just re-cycling everyday household items. One of the easiest things you can make is nesting boxes.

Building a nesting box is not a requirement but it sure makes it easier to collect eggs from your hens that are laying. This will save you from having to hunt for eggs and will allow you to gather them in one specific location. No need for egg hunting, all you do is go gather your eggs from your nesting boxes. Of course you will always have one or two hens of an “independent” nature that will decide to go off somewhere on their own and lay their eggs. You’ll just need to keep an eye out for them. Most hens if given a good nesting box will use it on a regular basis and continue to do so the majority of the time.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to make a nesting box for your chickens is by using old five gallon plastic buckets. Even if your bucket has lost its handle or got a crack or small hole in it, they can still be used to make a simple nesting box. By laying the bucket on its side and giving it a little additional support on the bottom, they make excellent nesting boxes. We use old plastic buckets all the time and they work great. Another good thing about the plastic buckets is they also offer some additional insulation value for the nests and they aren’t affected if you happen to get a small leak in the roof.

Just add a little nesting material to the bucket and you’ve got a great nesting box. We also use old golf balls in the nests as fake eggs. Use your imagination and get creative before you go out and spend a lot of money on fancy equipment you can get by without if you just give it some thought. You can also use old milk crates, plastic bins and storage containers, old plastic trash cans or whatever you may have lying around.

So don’t throw your old cracked and broken buckets away when you can make a nesting box for your chickens!

Check out Bitmap’s pics of chickens and other stuff.

Staying above the water line!


11 comments: said...

I would like to add that eggs contain first class proteins, in the perfect combination for the human body. Better than any meat including beef, pork, fish, or chicken. Cannot go wrong in raising egg layers as a staple of your diet.

Bitmap said...

We keep our chickens in a big cage instead of letting them free range. Our chickens use a 55 gallon drum turned on it's side as a nest box. We don't even put nesting material in it. We tried and the chickens just pulled it out and scattered it around the pen. They use a big square plastic trash can about the same capacity as the 55 gallon drum as a shelter. We also have an old dresser with the drawers removed as another shelter.

I've got pics on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Good post - chickens are pretty easy to raise.

We have a couple of escapee 'transgenic' (Dark Angel reference) hens that prefer the wide-open spaces. What we do around the home is cut some 'cubby holes' in the the vegetation, under cover and generallly in a semi-secluded space, providing some buffle grass and other natural materials for them to form a nest. It works SOMETIMES - they get spooky when their nests are robbed, and change locations.

Speaking of chickens, Big John Lipscomb's blog has an interesting idea about feeding chickens if bugging out. A small homemade cage for transporting chicken. Then allowing them to free range feed, tying leg with about 72" of lead, allowing them to forage in a 12' circle in 24 hours. The post is dated March 9 - here's a link.

Again, great post RW.

YeOldFurt said...

5 gallon buckets are primarily used out here in the hinterlands.

riverwalker said...

To: SurvivalTopics

Got to love those eggs! You need them for a lot of baked goods as well! A common ingredient in a lot of recipes. Thanks Ron!


riverwalker said...

To: Bitmap

Put a link to your blog pics! You also mentioned in your article about a lot of people getting involved in 4-H and FFA. It's a big thing around here also. A lot of times you can get rabbit cages and chicken coops for free just for hauling them off. They do the 4-H or FFA thing for a year or so and then they want to get rid of the accessories. Thanks my friend!


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:12

Them chickens can be a lot smarter than you think and are good at finding hiding places for their eggs. Had a few that all of a sudden show up with a clutch of chicks and it makes you wonder where they were hiding all this time! Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: YeOldFurt

Yep! Use buckets, cans or scrap lumber to make nests and coops!


FarmFor5 said...

Really enjoyed your ideas for nesting boxes. I can't see paying $10 or more per box. Great tip for us fragalista's.

Anonymous said...

5 gallon buckets is a great idea. I have 2 dozen hens. I found old plastic milk crates best. You can always find them in convenience store dumpsters. I cut the front out leaving a 2 inch lip. Put in some Spanish moss and stack them 3 high. The hens love them. At night they use them as perches. Tom

Anonymous said...

I eat all my chickens

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