Whether you are just getting started with raising chickens and harvesting eggs or you are a seasoned pro, one of the first things you quickly realize is just how important nesting boxes can be for your flock. However important, buying brand new nesting boxes (especially if you have a large flock of birds) can be a costly investment, which is something you probably cannot afford if you're just getting started as a raiser. Thankfully, raising chickens does not necessarily mean that you must go out and purchase new nesting boxes which are pre-built and ready to go. There are a few simple ways you can create an ample nesting area in your barn or coop without a lot of expense.
Create nesting boxes using a series of plastic crates.
Plastic crates actually work well as nesting boxes for a few different reasons:
- they are lightweight
- they are easy to clean
- they often have holes which allows debris to fall through
Pick up several square plastic crates and secure them to the wall in your coop with the open end facing outward. The crates can simply be screwed into place through the bottom, and they can be lined up, side by side, depending on how many nesting boxes you need.
Check with local retailers about old shelving systems.
Think about a trip to a retailer and consider the different types of shelving systems you would see. In many cases, shelving can work out just fine for nesting areas for your hens. Most retail shelving units connect together via a hook-in-place design, which is easy to change and maneuver as needed. If you are lucky, you may even stumble across shelving which is already divided into squares. Because retailers are constantly updating their shelving, you can usually pick up something they are getting rid of fairly cheap.
Utilize heavy-gauge rolled wire to create nesting areas.
Although this method is a bit more of a short-term solution, it will work. Simply stretch a piece of rolled wire out and attach "walls" with cut sections of the same rolled wire. Attach a second long piece of rolled wire to the top of the walls you just implemented using zip ties. Once complete, this makeshift nesting area can be attached to the ceiling of the coop. Just make sure you fully line the bottom of the wired nesting area with hay or straw to ensure your hens are comfortable when inside.
For more information, contact a farm equipment company, like Big Springs Equipment.