It seems like you can never have too many large plastic buckets on a farm. They are invaluable for hauling water and feed, garden veggies, compost, moving baby chicks, storing tools, collecting maple sap, and even making nesting boxes.
My hen population has grown and they needed more nesting sites. Yesterday, I created five new nesting boxes from 5-gallon buckets mounted sideways, an idea inspired by my clever neighbor, Don, who uses them for all his chicken coops.
He likes that they are easy to clean. I like that they reuse a waste material and cost nothing. This construction project was fast and easy for me, a person with virtually no carpentry skills.
1. I got free buckets with lids from my local food co-op, which gets bulk peanut butter in them. I washed them well to remove the peanut butter aroma, although the chickens might not have minded the smell.
2. A portion of the lid will be snapped onto the bucket to help contain the bedding material inside. I clamped the lid in a vise and used a hacksaw, which sliced through the plastic easily, to cut across the lid, about 1/3 of the diameter. The lids for my buckets had notches around the rims, so I used the notches as a guide, cutting across from one notch to another.
3. A short piece of wood provides the hen with a perch for hopping in or out of the nesting box. I cut up a wooden garden stake in 10-inch lengths to fit inside the rim of the lid. The perch was attached to the lid with a couple of screws. Then, the slice of lid was snapped onto the bucket.
4. My coop already had a shelf on one wall that could support the buckets. I also secured each bucket to the wall with a couple of screws, so it won’t wobble around when a hen is moving inside. Then I filled each bucket with a bit of straw bedding, and … that’s it! They were finished!
So far, a few hens have hopped up to investigate, but nobody has laid an egg in a nesting bucket yet.
Based on my previous experience, it takes my chickens several days to adjust to changes in the coop. I am sure as soon as one hen has the brainstorm idea to lay an egg in this comfy, cozy, convenient bucket, they will all want to try it.