Our little chickies have been laying eggs like crazy! I was told not to expect much this winter because the days are short, and hens typically don’t lay as much in the winter. Well, our hens didn’t get the message. Today 11 of our 15 hens laid eggs. That’s nearly 7 dozen a week if it keeps up!
We have just been using 5 gallon buckets laid on their side as nest boxes. We didn’t have the materials to make the nice ones we wanted right away and the buckets were working great when we only had 4-5 hens laying. I think since they are being awfully kind in their egg production, we could probably make them some nice boxes.
I will start by listing my cutting list for each pair of boxes for anyone interested in making their own. It should only take one sheet of plywood (although I’m not entirely sure, because we used scraps of other projects for this).
- 1 – 15″x30″ (Base)
- 1 – 17″x30″ (Back)
- 1 – 16″x30″ (Top)
- 3 – 15″x17″ (Sides)
I wanted the top to be on an angle, so I cut the 15″x17″ rectangles to only reach 13″ in the front and 17″ in the back. The top can still be hinged at that angle.
You can pocket-hole drill these pieces together, but we just used some nice self-tapping screws. The pocket-hole would be stronger, but our birds don’t weigh enough for it to matter. We attached the back to the base and added the dividers. Pretty simple.
It took us about 45 minutes to build each unit. I plan on putting laminate flooring on the top to discourage roosting on the boxes. I also plan on adding curtains to the front of the boxes. There are a lot of benefits to adding curtains (outlined well at http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/03/nest-box-curtains-more-than-fashion.html)
I will give the hens a little time to adjust to the boxes before I hide them away behind curtains. Now maybe we can get the other 4 hens to lay (not that we need more eggs)! Thanks for reading!