Raising and caring for animals in a proper fashion, regardless of the type of animal in question, can be costly and expensive at times. Because of this, we all try to cut corners where we can to make up for monies spent. Never one to want to compromise on care and jeopardize the health and well-being of my animals, I am always looking for ways to create more economical shelters, feeders, fences, etc. Every cent I am able to save in those areas will enable my dollars to go further in other areas, enabling me to take greater strides for the overall betterment of my animals and their environment, which is important to any successful operation.
If you are a believer in making the most possible use of items before throwing them away, you likely already have an understanding of the joy involved with repurposing. To take an item past its prime and find a new use for it is almost a challenge around here, one I take on giddily. When a 5 gallon bucket cracked recently, resulting in a drip, it seemed like that bucket was a goner. With a little thought and ingenuity, however, it did not have to be disposed of; it had plenty of life left to give! That bucket became a nesting box as did many others like it.
Since the damage to the bucket in question was minimal and did not pose a threat to the hens, that bucket was reborn as a nesting box. Being that the bucket had a lid and was sturdy enough to offer both privacy and protection from the elements, it seemed meant to serve this purpose. This bucket as well as those similarly done living out their days holding water were turned on their sides and placed in a roost for the laying hens.
These buckets have lids, which are great for keeping bedding and eggs from rolling or falling out. Leaving a portion of the lid intact to act as a barrier that would hold bedding and eggs in place, the rest was cut away carefully with a sharp knife (there could be easier ways to do this but unfortunately I am more of the \'get it done now\' type than one to mull it over in search of easier methods). With a space cut away to act as a chicken entry and exit, the lids were reattached to the buckets. If you have extremely large chickens, however, it could be a tight fit, but average-sized breeds have fit in there comfortably.
Add bedding and set up the roost and an economical, repurposed nesting box was born! Alternatively, if you do not have lids you could cut an entry/exit hole in the bottom of the bucket and secure it in place against a wall for basically the same effect. Cutting the bottom of the bucket will be much tougher than cutting the lid, however. The 5 gallon bucket solution has been a great addition thus far that will surely work for others. If you have damaged buckets lying around, give this idea a try before you banish those buckets for good! You and your chickens very well might be glad you did.