Building a cheap nesting box

asthmaSeptember 11, 2006

Does anyone out there have a idea as to how to build a cheap nesting box for Millaflora chickens? They are a small group of one rooster and three hens. My husband and I are on a fixed income and he would like to do this before Winter sets in. Also how can we get the hens to increase their laying? We are only getting one to two eggs every other day. Thanks!

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shellyinmi(zone 5)

To increase your egg production, give the chickens light. As daylight shortens in the fall egg production natually decreases. I have a 60 w lightbulb on a timer to give my chickens 10 hours of light a day. you can just turn the light on/off yourself. Some people just leave a light on all the time. Aslo, are you feeding some laying food? If the chickens are forageing for a living they will lay less eggs. Not that they can't forage for food, but you should give them some laying feed (about 8lb/50#). It will give your chickens extra calium and protien for better egg production.
One other possible cause of low egg production if they are free range is laying somewhere else. Have you found any outside places they like to lay?

Ideas for cheap nexting boxes:
1. old filling cabnet drawers
2. 5 gallon buckets see link -
3. recyled kitty litter buckets turned on side top cut open
4. use old plywood and make a box of your own.

bedding ideas for in the box :

1. straw
2. old pine needles
3. grass hay
4. wood shavings

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 8:05AM
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I always thought wooden Pepsi boxes would be neat........warped brain I know heres another how about rubbermaid boxes???????sorry Im married to a builder..I bought aluminum 8 box unit for 99.00 in Mcmurry catalogue.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 8:46AM
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(Millaflora??) I assume you mean Mille Fleur. Mille fleur is a color pattern/variety in several breeds, not a breed in itself. It is common for novices to confuse this color with a breed. If your bantams are feather legged and single combed they are possibly D'Uccles; with clean legs, they could be Old English Games or Dutch?? Sounds as they are doing OK in the egg laying for this time of year. I use cardboard boxes and/or 5 gal. pails as nest boxes for my bantams.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 11:19AM
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pricem11(z7 NC)

Not to put too fine a point on it Fancifowl, but the correct spelling is actually 'milles fleurs'. It's one of those things that can't be referred to in the singular, since the translation is 'thousand flowerS'.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 4:58PM
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You may be correct Pricem11, I have always known the meaning but prefer to use the spelling used by the A.P.A & the A.B.A., the parent organizations of the American poultry fancy. For good or bad? we Americanize what we want!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 7:49PM
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pricem11(z7 NC)

As well, you might follow the A.P.A.'s and the A.B.A.'s preferred spelling of 'd'Uccles' and not the capitalized 'D'Uccles'. These are small things, but they make us appear not to know what we are talking about.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 8:17PM
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d'Ammit, Got me! and of course, it's d'Anvers too! which also come in mille fleur!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 10:02PM
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Okay, back to chicken boxes, is this particular breed fussy in anyway? I know i had a heck of a time finding "wooden boxes" or crates, and can certainly relate to a tight income. In the end, Goodwill supplied our nest boxes which were originally dresser drawers from furniture too dilapidated to display. The chickens sure don't care.
Just a thought.

We live in the great Northwest ...very dreery and dark during late fall to early spring, so have also heard that the amount of light effects egg production.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 5:14AM
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which breed?
Most poultry breeds can be treated equally, there may be some exceptions such as the Modern Games, or pit games, or the hybrid meat chickens. Quality feed, clean water and a safe, draft free environment should be in order.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 11:47AM
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bruglover(Gulf States)

I used those lidded rubbermaid type bins - not the clear ones, the ones that are blue or gray.

I cut an arched hole in the long side big enough for the chickens to go in. Either use really strong scissors, pruners, or a fine-toothed hacksaw blade if you don't have power tools (I usually use a jigsaw with a fine blade).

I attached mine to the outside of their pens by cutting a hole in the wire and bending it into the box, to kind of hold it to the pen. We do ours this way because our pens are either small, or not easy for us to enter. This way, if I want eggs I simply open the lid and gather them.

This is a next box for about 4-8 dollars, depending on the size bin you buy, no construction necessary. Not as cheap as recycled or found on the curb stuff, but it works for us.

One note: These don't last forever - the sun can make them brittle. So either put in the shade, or spray paint when you have the chance.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 10:45AM
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You might want to search around for trucking companies or related businesses and ask if they have leftover pallets that they are looking to get rid of. The wood is usually very sturdy. I know around here I often see signs for free pallets.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 9:53PM
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gail_ish(5a ON)

We live near a city that has a 'Little Italy' section, and right now alot of people are making their own wine from grapes. I drove through the area & a couple of people had the empty grape boxes out for the garbage man. They would be great, I think.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 3:02PM
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okay I like to look up old posts where people asked a question and then see later how they ended up resolving the problem. Did you make a nest box? Do you have photos of it? I personally am not into spending $99 on a box for a chicken. kind of defeats the purpose of having chickens to save money on eggs!

interested in a photo if you have one!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 10:46AM
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One idea is watching for free pallets that have plywood on the top.
That plywood usually isn't too hard to remove and can be used to build nice nest boxes.
Right now with our lower economy I just saw 1/2" sheets of OSB priced at $5.94 at Home Depot.
I could make an eight foot long row of six nest boxes from one sheet and a cheap roll of plumbers strap iron from Home Depot or Ace Hardware.
I would also use a small box of 1/2" drywall screws.

OSB isn't much good for nailing pieces together so I would be cutting pieces of the strap iron and using the screws to join the pieces.

If you have any scrap wood to make nailing blocks you can nail or screw the assembly together without the strap iron.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 9:53PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

A friend of mine uses covered kitty litter boxes, cheap, easy and movable.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 10:08AM
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I have read that milk crates work well too and can be hosed down. You could use heavy cardboard and just replace it when it gets too deplatidated.

I collect cardboard from an industrial area on recycle pick up day. I also collect shredded paper at that same location to use for litter in the boxes and on the floor. It works great and it's free. There are always many bags of it with the cardboard in an industrial/office area of town, which happens to be just around the corner from me.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 7:10AM
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As a short term solution, I have used the very sturdy boxes you can get at Sam's Club. The best, ironically, are the boxes used for frozen chicken breasts--take off the label so as not to offend the hens! These boxes are deep and the open side has a 2-3" edge to keep in the pine shavings/straw. Last summer, one of our broodies used one of these boxes--it lasted until the chicks were several weeks old!They can be set on the floor of the coop or if you have deep, sturdy shelves, they could be secured there.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 11:01AM
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You might try a liquor store for some wooden wine boxes or the produce section of the grocery store for some grape crates or other wooden boxes.Some of my pullets are laying on the floor in a kitty litter tray that I fixed for them to dust in.At least the ashes and sand are clean!Posy Pet

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 8:27PM
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I found some 2x4s laying around, if you don't have any you can get the stud grade I have them at Lowe's for $1.57 for the 2x4 x96 studs. I used about five, if I count my scrap. Then I used a peace of 15/32 inch plywood at 2FT x 4FT as the bottem. I ran a 4FT peace of 2X4 on one side, and four 18 inch peaces on the ends standing up right with supporting 2x4 peaces forming a box at the top and bottem of my up right peaces. Make sure the supporting peaces are on the outside, as you will need them later. My only question, of witch I have not tested, as I still have nails to cut off before doing this, is I atached screening to the short ends as I was reading that a open air coop is better then a dark dank closed up coop. I then took some old barn wood from a barn we took down next dore, and used it for the back as I didn't have any more plywoodI then started running out of scroos, hints the nails that I have to cut off, my framing gun only had really long nails in it at the time. I plan to add a hinged top as I am thinking of cutting an opening in the coop wall, and ataching the box over it on the outside so that the Hens can go in and out at will. I spent in all $20 on my coop and nesting box. I had the deck scroos and the 15/32 plywood left over from building the dog houses, and the 1/4 sheets were removed from the walls of the house when we took out the old bathroom. This is why I tell people not to get rid of things that you might use later. if anyone has a good idea about the screened sides, Please let me know if I should close them up. On the coop, I am installing a screen dore on the south side, that can close at night, but open in the day time to let the hens out to the yard.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 2:08AM
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