Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Make a Nest for Next to Nothing!

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When we inherited those new hens, our hen to nest ratio was too high. We just had these three nests:
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That's not enough for twenty hens, so I gathered up some stuff to try something I saw, somewhere, long, long ago.
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You need a 5 gallon bucket, some wire, a piece of wood, a drill and a drill bit, a pencil or pen, wire cutters and pliers.

First, lay the bucket on its side and mark the curve of the bucket on the board. You want the board to be at the bottom edge of the bucket. Once this is done, the board will keep the bucket from rolling side to side and making your hens seasick.
(Note to self - rinse out bucket before the tutorial!)
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Drill two holes along each side along the curve.
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Hold the wood up to the bucket again, 'eye it', and mark on the bucket to drill holes that correspond to the holes in the wood.
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Cut some wire. Lace it through the wood, then the inside of the bucket. Pull the ends out, twist it tight and trim it. Push it down close to the bucket. I like having the ends on the outside, where the hens are less likely to get tangled up with them. You could duct tape over them too, but knowing my hens, they'd peck at the duct tape because it's a different color.
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Once you've done this on both sides, you're basically done (except for cleaning out the bucket!).
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There, better!
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The nest so nice, I made it twice.
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These nests really cost almost nothing. I get food-grade buckets from supermarket and superstore bakeries, free of charge. Once in a while, I get one where the lid doesn't have the little rubber seal anymore, so I use those for 'chore buckets'. There were two of those chore buckets. The wood is a scrap of OSB that's been piled out for 'odd projects'. It's left over from when we built the house. The wire is off the roll of all purpose wire that we keep on hand, which we bought for some other project once upon a time. So, pretty much free. Best of all, since the little holes you drill in the buckets are right at the top, they are still fully functional as chore buckets if you don't need the nests any longer.

My happy news is that today, I found two eggs in one of the nests, so my girls are using them. Hooray!

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