I’ll bet you are asking yourself why I would want to make my own nest boxes. Well let me tell you about my flock:
I’ve read on so many sites how you can have one nest box for anywhere from 4 to 10 chickens. Well that may be true for chickens, but I raise ducks. And ducks are a little different. Ducks like to have their own nests. At least mine do. They tend to be very territorial and not like to share. I’ve seen when a duck gets off the nest to eat, another duck will get on her nest. But when the first one comes back….well, it usually results in one duck sitting on top of the other, and that’s on a good day. Another problem is if a duck can’t find a nest to sit on, she will lay her egg wherever she happens to be standing, in the middle of the run where everyone is walking, in a pile of poop, or from the rim of the plastic pond, down onto the rocks where it breaks.
There also is the issue that chicken nesting boxes are not big enough for ducks. They will try to squeeze into them, but it reminds me of trying to see how many people you could squeeze into a VW bug. How many of you did that? Ducks also like a place that is dark and where they feel secure. I need a place where the eggs will stay dry (it rains here a lot) and a box that is easy to clean. Lastly I need something that is not going to take me a month of Sundays to make.
This is what I came up with. I looked for a dark plastic tote that was the right size for my ducks. My wonderful hubby cut the opening in it for me. He started by drawing the opening with a sharpie then he cut it out with a hand saw. We first tried with a circular saw but the plastic wanted to crack and splinter. The hand saw worked great. After it had been cut, the edges were a bit sharp so he edged it with duct tape. It was unlikely any of the ducks would have been hurt the edges but the tape was just in case.
I took it out to the duck pen and tried it out. I put the top on the ground. It becomes the base and helps keep the eggs dry and clean. I then put clean hay on it and placed the base, which now becomes the top, on top of that. Done! Wow does that sound clear as mud? Hopefully the photo will explain it better than I just did.
Now I can take what is now the top off to gather the eggs, add fresh hay, or clean the box. It did take a few days for my ducks to trust that this “new thing” in their pen was not going to eat them. They are so leery of anything new. But now they love their new nests and I really love the clean eggs. I’m going to give them a larger one soon so we can raise a batch of ducklings. Mama will need a little extra room for her brood.
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