Re-Purposing 5 Gallon Buckets into Chicken Nesting Boxes

It is tough to throw away perfectly good items around the farm when it is much more preferable to stretch our nickels and dimes. It is also difficult to throw away items that are flawed but still have life in them. A good example of this would be a five gallon bucket that has seen better days. Perhaps that bucket has a small crack and is therefore no longer useful for carrying or holding water. Although it may not be able to serve that particular purpose, that doesn’t mean it is useless and should be thrown away. Rather than tossing it out, re-purpose it instead! Five gallon buckets, especially those with lids, have many uses around the farm. One use in particular involves providing a cozy place for chickens to settle down and lay eggs. Rather than purchase new materials to build nesting boxes, you can use buckets to give each hen a private place to lay her eggs with the comfort and seclusion she needs. To get started, you will need to have a location established for placement of your new nesting boxes upon completion. This could be a shelf or a rack of some sort; all that matters is that buckets can be positioned securely so they will not roll or fall. Also important is ease of access for laying hens as well as safety from predation, so inside a secured coop or barn is a good place to start. The next task to accomplish is cutting a hole in the lid. The purpose of this is to allow entry and exit by laying hens while still at the same time leaving enough of the lid intact so that bedding and eggs will not fall out. Cutting away half of the lid should be adequate for this purpose but take care not to cut yourself in the process. Once your cut is made, the lid can be reattached to the bucket. At this point, the bucket nesting box is essentially complete. All that remains is to get it securely into a position that will prevent rolling or falling and possibly chicken injury. From there, add bedding and introduce it to your hens. If they seem hesitant to enter, give them time and they should figure it out. However, if they need a little encouragement, placing golf balls inside can fool chickens into realizing that this is where eggs are to be laid. Using five gallon buckets for this purpose is actually quite economical. Even if you do not have such buckets handy, they can be bought for $2 at Firehouse Subs (these are used pickle buckets but are not always available) or at your local home improvement store for around $4. When you factor in what you might spend to build wooden boxes or boxes made from other materials, going this route can be quite cost effective. Equally appealing is that the job can be accomplished with only a sharp knife to cut the lid rather than requiring a plethora of fancy tools you may not already own. The end result will be happy hens laying plenty of eggs from the comfort and seclusion of their new bucket nesting boxes which is a good deal to be had all around.

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