Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chicken Coop: Nesting Boxes

Hey Y'all!

When I posted my beeeuuuutiful chicken coop (thanks to Ana White's amazing plans!), I said that I'd share plans for the nesting boxes, if anyone's interested.

Well, not surprisingly (because the chicken coop plans are so outstanding), people are interested. So I'm going to share the super basic nesting box plans that fit into the chicken coop!

Before I do, however, I want to mention a few things that I don't like about my nesting box, which will explain why the plans are a little different.

First and foremost, the lips at the front and back are not tall enough to contain nesting material (which chickens like to kick around - A LOT), so I've added higher lips in the plans to hopefully help you contain at least a little. If you feel that it's necessary to add another board a little higher up (think like the sides of a crate), I know that it wouldn't interfere with the chickens getting into the box, and might help to contain the bedding even more.

Secondly, these are WIDE nesting boxes. When I cut the dividers and sides, as seen in the photo above, I cut four thinking that I would make 3 boxes (see how two are glued together in the middle?). I did this before ever having chickens, so I thought that three, ten(ish) inch boxes would be too small. After researching why my chickens kept kicking out bedding, I read that they should be smaller rather than larger so that the chickens could create a snug little nest in there. Unless you have super large chickens, you may want to go smaller.

Also, I did an angled top on mine because most of the nesting boxes I've seen had that (and I thought it was appropriate since the nesting area has an angled roof). It's totally unnecessary, and I wouldn't recommend wasting the energy on that step. It's not even worth it for aesthetic reasons, because you never see it.

Finally, my girls all only go in one nesting box. I think that I might move the divider over to make it smaller (I'd move it over 3-4", making the nesting box 11-12" wide) and then block off the part of the other box (so that they can't access it from the coop) and use it for storage. I'd store the broom that I clean the coop, my small bag of scratch, and extra nesting material in there. Obviously if I do decide to do that, I'll share a whole, long post on that.

And with all of that out of the way, here's how my nesting boxes are built!

31" W x 9" H x 10 1/2" D

1/2" Ply
Wood Glue
Brad Nails

Cut List:
1 - 1/2" ply @ 9 1/2" x 31" (bottom)
3 - 1/2" Ply @ 9 1/2" x 8 1/2" (sides / divider)
2 - 1/2" Ply @ 3" x 31" (front and back lips)

Step 1 -

Glue and nail side pieces to the bottom piece, making sure they're flush to the sides.
Step 2 - 

Measure where you want the divider to go (middle would be 15 1/2" from the edges of the bottom), and glue/nail into place. Then glue/nail the front and backs, making sure to nail into sides/dividers and bottom.

It's so easy, I put two steps into one (in the spirit of full disclosure, I just forgot to take a screen shot of just the divider in place).

Since my coop reveal, I've customized a few things for my girls, and will either update the coop-building post or add a new post with updates. And will update this page when that's done!


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