New Nest boxes

Now, forgive me if this looks crude.  The picture you are about to see represents 15 minutes worth of thought and actual work.  I needed a quick solution to hanging the nest boxes so I could continue moving the chicken tractor.  Three and a half 2x4s later…

The boxes are hanging from screws in the upper 2×4.  There are tarp straps holding the bases together so they don’t swing in the wind.  Everything seems to work fine but it’s suddenly quite a heavy chicken tractor.

I put part of an old tarp between the two nest boxes hoping to offer the hens a little privacy without adding much weight.

So, there you go.  There’s still room for feed and water in the shelter and there’s plenty of airflow.  I just need to make it a bit lighter.  Let me know if you have any ideas.

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15 thoughts on “New Nest boxes

  1. Two possibilities come to mind: first, I can see that you’ve attached it to the base of the chicken tractor for stability, but if you could make it free standing instead, you could move it separately. This would add time to the chore for sure though. Second: only use 1 set of boxes, take the other one off. You have 40 layers right? 10 boxes is plenty. I guess you have all those pullets coming on, though…are they joining this tractor or getting their own? Put the other nest boxes with them. The tarp between is a good idea. Salatin hangs these nest boxes from the ceiling of the a-frame in his feathernet enterprise, not really feasible with cattle panel roofing.

    • I have 40 layers in my front yard. These are the 75 new pullets that are just starting to lay. There are also another 65 pullets that we are raising in a chicken tractor in the same pasture that will start in December. That means I’ll be buying another two nest boxes for the greenhouse.

  2. Also, I think the main reason the nest boxes are usually in the shelter is for shelter, and also because the chickens are such creatures of habit and need to know they can go to the same place every day for this little event in their lives. What if you built it a little roof, even out of tarp, while you were giving it stability feet and then parked it just outside the shelter. Every time you move, it gets moved too, and put in the same relationship to the shelter. This doesn’t save a lot of time, but it would make it easier than pushing it in and out of the shelter.

    Wait, there’s more….my brother has these boxes too,and he keeps them on the floor, not raised up – it has not affected egg production one jot, and the hens use the bottom boxes equally with the top ones. So if you just let them rest on the grass, you’d only have to stabilize them from the top somehow…

    • I wanted to keep them off of the grass because I wanted to keep the boxes from rusting. I do want to keep them under a roof.

      With the wooden framework and boxes the chicken tractor is about as heavy as my Salatin-style boxes. It’s not impossible to move but is more than my lovely bride can handle.

  3. Yeah, I get that about the rusting, Makes sense. Except that I can see that it’s heavy, the set up you’ve built looks great. And it probably won’t blow to smithereens like the one a couple of weeks ago. Wheels? Teleportation?

  4. looks good, but i can see how that would add serious weight. how much the nest unit weight? could you just have the whole thing rest on one span of like a 2×6 across the bottom, and then stabilize the top with lengths of chain?

    • The nest boxes weigh a fair amount. I would guess 35 or 40 pounds. They are so large and awkward I could be overestimating though. The vendor’s site says it ships at 60 pounds.

      I am thinking of redesigning this chicken tractor to match the new layer house design. Then I can hang the boxes from chains and letting them swing a bit though swinging mass will be hard to move. Stay tuned. I’m not totally ready to abandon this idea but I think we can do better. As far as trial runs go, I think it’s pretty good.

  5. We hung ours with chain and quick links (for easy removal for winter) from the bows in our skid. If they hang, you do need them back to back though or they tend to not hang straight. Chickens are pretty Type A and prefer to not feel like they are on some carnival ride when they are laying their eggs. But our skid was a moveable greenhouse, not sure how that will work with your new design. But I love, love, love the nice nestboxes compared to our first generation plywood jobbies! Nice closeable perches and clean eggs!!

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