Nest Boxes Made From Buckets  

This is our little coop. Bull built it. He used clear corrugated siding for one wall and the door. This is to let in light and so we only have to stand on the back porch with a flashlight to see that the chickens are OK if we hear a commotion. Smart man!

These photos were taken last year when we first got our chickens. We have more chickens now, plus two turkeys, and three guineas. They will all be roosting in there this winter. Bull may have to build an addition... a wing?

But what I wanted to talk about today, was the free (or cheap) and EASY nest boxes.

I got the idea from my wonderful Uncle Whit. (Uncle Whit is not his real name. I chose it because I remember being amazed at all the amazing things he used to whittle from wood when I was a kid.) He just screwed five gallon buckets to fenceposts around his farm for his chickens to lay in. So that's what we did on the inside of our coop. Then we cut the lids so that there was an opening big enough of the chickens to get in and out, but we left a lip to keep the hay (and eggs) from falling out.

The hens like them and they were so much easier than building something out of wood. They are easy to clean too. Just pop off the lid, rake out the hay, hose them out if you see the need, and pop the lid back on.

I think we actually bought these buckets, but I have since learned to ask the nice folks in the bakery section of our local grocery stores for their empty frosting and bread mix buckets. They are usually already washed out for me and they come with air-tight lids (which will be important for the next project I will post about).

So there ya' go! The easiest, cheapest, coolest nest boxes I have seen. :D


Farm Life... and Death  

It's been a bad few weeks for animals on the farm. Our Rooster died. Roo was a good rooster. I liked him a lot. He was good to his girls and I could trust him around my little guy. He was never aggressive toward us.

He wandered into the road and got hit by a car. We also lost three hens that way. Yes, we need a fence. Yes, they shouldn't be in the road. But seriously, we don't live at a sharp curve, or on a hill. You can see what's in the road in front of our house for a good long way before you get there. It's not a busy road by almost any standard. It is a country road, lined with farms and more than one with free-roaming, road-wandering chickens (and dogs, and cats, and horses). All the chickens who were killed were bright white, like most of the flock. And they do try to get out of the way of cars. So how hard is it to avoid them? I know the guy we actually saw hit one, didn't even try. He didn't even slow down. In fact he hit the gas after the deed was done. Guilty much?


And then we lost all three of our keets (baby guinea fowl). It turned cold and rainy this week and they couldn't keep warm. We lost two of them in one day, before we realized that they were in trouble. The three older guineas and the lame rooster that shared their run and coop had been doing a beautiful job of keep them tucked under a wing, so we hadn't been worried. After that, I moved the last keet inside with a guinea hen to keep it company, while I spent the day moving and setting up their coop to be dry, warm and out of the wind. Then I put them all back out there and they did fine that night. But last night they didn't go into their coop (they like to sleep in the run, for some reason) and the last keet died.

So, it's been a rough few weeks.