Thursday, March 10, 2011

Building Some Nesting Boxes

I have needed to build my nesting boxes for a while now, but I have to admit that I have been more than a little hesitant.  Partly because I have been busy doing other things, and also because I really have no idea what I am doing.  I have investigated various options and styles, and even considered purchasing nesting boxes, but that quickly became out of the question.  The cheapest boxes that I could find were a four box unit made of metal and it came with a price tag of $75.00.  I mean, come on?  How can the girls make a profit at that rate?  I even tried to enlist the help of the Man in Charge, but to no avail.  The last thing that he wants to do is help me with my chickens when he has a free moment.  Plus, we already have a list of things that he needs to help me with.  A list that easily trumps chicken nesting boxes by my own standards.  So, left to my own devices and his tools, this is what I did yesterday.

Keep in mind that the goal here is to build something that is functional and cheap.  When at all possible, I used supplies that I already had.  Based on what I have been able to read, chickens like dark little cubby holes to lay their eggs in.  That makes sense to me.  Also, I read that the boxes should have a slanted roof to prevent them from roosting on top of it.  That also makes sense to me.  The goal is a great place that they want to be, and clean eggs. 

My original nesting boxes were seriously lacking in all of the qualities that I listed above. We will find out how important those qualities are in the very near future. Needless to say, I have dismantled the old unit and am reusing some of the supplies. The black crates are from the old units and I wanted to reuse them because they are plastic, and they can be removed and washed periodically. This is important.

These were given to me by a friend that received them from a friend. Other than that, I don't know where they came from.

I should tell you now that there was not a lot of measuring involved here.  It was more like holding the board up to the crates and marking it with a pencil and cutting it.  It just seemed easier to me to do it this way.

I would feel bad about this, but after I put it together, I found that the crates must be different sizes because they only fit in this frame one way.  So, it would not have worked out if I had done it correctly. 

Score one for me.

The next part was a little trickier, simply because I was working with some plywood that I had already purchased for another project.  I wanted to use it and get it out of my way.  The other project is a new rabbit cage, and that is not on the near horizon.

Poor Rabbit.

It took me a little while to figure out how I could cut this and get the result that I wanted with the least amount of waste.

For those of you that may not know, the handy gadget in the photo is a chalk line.  I have nightmares about this gadget that date back to the barn remodel that we did several years ago.  My job was to measure and cut.  I really don't like that job, but they gave it to me anyway.  The decision was based on a couple of factors. 

1.  I am not geared for hammering and running the drill.  I am hand safety challenged. 

Funny that they put a saw in my hand.

2.  My measuring skills are severely lacking. 

Not that I can't measure accurately, but I can't convey the measurement accurately.  What do I mean by this?  Well, I read a tape measure like this. 

"Okay, it measures 28 1/2 inches plus a little line." 

They would shake their heads in disgust, and make me do it.

They includes the Man in Charge and my brother.

If you have never had the pleasure of using a chalk line before, let me give you the basic instructions.

1.  Measure your board.
2.  Mark it on either side.
3.  Pull the string from one mark across to the other.
4.  Holding it tight, snap the line.

My next challenge was how to get this assembled.  And I will admit that it took two attempts and a break for lunch to get it figured out.  I did have some help though, and they were intent on participating.

They were intent, but it had nothing to do with me.  It was focused on Kid, and he didn't care too much.  He knows that they will stay where I put them, and the barn is his safety zone.

After thinking and contemplating and wasting time taking pictures of everything except what I was working on...this is what I came up with.

Have I mentioned to you that I am a bit of a tool junkie?  Can I just say that my favorite tool, hands down, is the brad gun in the photo.  It is easy and accurate and efficient and all of those other things that make a tool great.  It also looks pretty handsome to me.  That is based more on how easy it is to use, but if a tool could be handsome...this one is gorgeous.

I added a few modifications for comfort and ease of use.

Then finally placed it in its proper place.

The girls were very curious when my full-timer and I carried this thing in, but they were in the process of tucking themselves in for the night.  I am curious to see what they have done to it this morning.  I have another double box to build and then I also have a single crate that I will use to build a single box.  I really hope they appreciate it and repay me with an abundance of eggs. 

I am impressed with how it turned out, and I am only in for pocket change at this point.  Not to mention that I am cleaning clutter out of the garage.

Now I am off to build the others and then get all these tools put up before I get in trouble.


  1. I am very impressed! I have all those tools but have not used the saw or the brad gun but I may give it a whirl. Maybe I can get the trim up in the bathroom after I dust it off again.

  2. Dusting is over-rated! Just put the trim up and very loudly exclaim, "When I find the maid, she is fired!"