Chicken Coop Nest Boxes
Last year was pretty eventful for my little family. We got chicks (even though we honestly knew better). We picked up a mix of adorable chirping little babies and next thing you know (in a way only my husband and I have a knack for) managed to turn a simple idea into a BIG project. I even decided to find as large a window as I could so they could have a southern exposure in the winter. Then, on the way home one day, saw a set of nice double doors by the road up for grabs. We also get a lot of wind here, a little coop could practically be blown away; so we ended up pouring a concrete foundation. We have coyotes around here too, so it also had to be strong. It's a big pile of overkill.
We have some of the luckiest chickens in the WORLD. Our coop project turned into a mini-mansion... Meanwhile I was pregnant most of last year and instead of wrapping up a few things in the house, we spent a lot of time making a cozy home for chickens. Not to mention I was handling them a lot, in an effort to keep them tame (so we could handle them when we needed to later). Oh yeah, and because we didn't have a chicken-run ready right away, they were constantly digging up and eating seedlings in the garden, cuttings, and anything else I'd spent time on. We (finally) temporarily fenced in the garden but they were still managing to ruin a ton of my work outside (>> work that happened to be extra hard because I was pretty pregnant)..........................
ANYWAYS. Now that that's off my chest (not really). Back to the point of this page: the nestboxes. As we were building this coop we were studying how nest boxes should be built. I liked the idea of easily cleaned and removeable boxes, like ones I'd seen with plastic bins. They also need to be off the ground a 18-20" and many designs have a steep roof so that the chickens won't roost on them. While we were doing all that, I decided to not waste all that space above, I built a simple cabinet. (I have a stash/hoard of cabinet doors
In the basement) I don't advise using a miter saw when pregnant (but old habits die hard) and my husband was busy enough as it was. I'm sure I was quite the picture using all those tools, trying not to hit my big belly (I'm actually extremely cautious so don't be too nervous).
I found the bins on Webstaurantstore.com. We then framed around those dimensions, the bin's rims rest on 2/4s. We went ahead and used scrap 2/12s between boxes too. Six nest boxes were more than we'd need, but thought it wouldn't hurt to give the hens less competition for spots to lay. (Later, I tacked up some little privacy curtains for them too...a lady needs her privacy). My husband was going to cut the framing out to create smaller boxes and a boxed out egg-door on the exterior for collecting eggs, but I talked him out of that. It seemed like a waste of effort and I didn't want to weaken the building for no real reason when we could just change the design up a bit. This meant that the boxes we made had to match the 16" on center studs. We also made some improvements to the egg doors, I still need to get pics of those. They run vertically (one door per two holes) so water sheds down them nicely.
That's pretty much that. I'll have to post pics of the coop and run sometime too. If you aren't amazed you might as well be amused. :D