Sunday, 19 August 2012

Grass catcher nesting boxes for my chickens

Back in the distant past when we first got chooks, they lived in the kennel that was rejected by the dog as too small or too big or really - just not on our bed (which I think was the real issue!)

That was fantastic for the the chookies and they nested and laid in it for many years. When our flock increased, we built a tempory house out of mulch bales for them and all was well - the chookies roosted in the bale house and laid in the dogs kennel.

Then when the flock increased again - the new smaller chookies were cast out of the bale house in true pecking order style and so after a few nights up on the fence were persuaded to roost in the laying house.

For some reason, the big chookies stopped laying in there and we had to start hunting for the eggs all over the pen. They managed to make a hole in one of the bale house walls and started laying in there. We had to lift the roof off the bale house each time in order to get the eggs and it all started to look like it might fall apart!

So a solution was needed; Here's what I did...

I went to our local recycling dump shop and bought three mower catchers for $10 They are normally $5 each so it was a bargain and as she sold them to me me, the woman commented that lots of people buy them for chicken nesting boxes - which of course is egg-sactly what I wanted them for!

I brought them home and set them up in their normal nesting spot (after buying a new bale and blocking their hole up). I also had to prop them up so they didn't rock or move. The first chookie that examined it got a fright when it moved and hasn't gone back up.

The plank is to stop them rocking and the brick to stop them moving.

Our chookies seem to like laying up high so I put them on the rook of the old nesting box.

The shelter over the top was from when it rained for 18 months straight and they needed a dry patch to preen and sit in and watch the rain!

Voila! Eggs appear!

I think a couple of my chookies still aren't laying in here as egg production has dropped slightly. I have put one on the ground as they are all laying in the same box that the chief chook chose and the second one remained unused. I put the second one down on the side of the bale house where I have found a few eggs and hope tomorrow they start laying in it.

Score card: 
Green-ness: 5/5 for reusing/upcyling an item from the dump (and supporting a recycling initiative!)
Frugal-ness: 4/5 Cant buy a nesting box for much less
Time cost: The travel to the dump and the time it takes to battle with your husband about only buying what we came for - nesting boxes - I did however relent on  the rocking chair if he paid for it!
Skill level: Just chocking them up so they don't rock!
Fun -ness: Great fun when they use it for the first time!


Sarah @ Gladys in the said...

That is so clever. Love the upcycling.
I like your scorecard. :
Are you serious, did it rain for 18 months solid?

Practical Frog said...

Pretty much Sarah, It rained till it flooded the whole city last January (Google Brisbane floods 2011) and then stopped for the rest of summer. Rained all winter and suddenly we have had a month a sun again. Normally in the subtropics, we have beautiful days with high humidity and a 20 minute storm just about every afternoon. The winters are fine and sunny and it never rains and we water our gardens in winter. There is definatly climate change afoot here in Brisbane - no matter what the naysayers say! - K xx

Lois said...

What a great idea. We can't have farm animals of any kind here with renting, but will pass this idea on to my son who is thinking of getting a few chickens.

Practical Frog said...

The council will usually let you have a few chooks in the backyard - oh unless the landlord doesnt want you to... Darn - But your son will give you eggs thanks to your suggestion I hope! - K xx

Kathryn Ray said...

Hi Kara - figured it might be easier to come over here and answer your questions. :-)

* The wingspan is a scarf. A few photos of what it should look like when finished:

* Apple Butter = apples, sugar, spices cooked down into a very thick sauce. Recipe I used more or less is here:

* Tomatoes should be in full sun. Mulching with egg shells and coffee grounds is supposed to be helpful. Ours are doing will with the alpaca manure mixed in the soil. Have also had a bumper crop when the dog had access to pee on them every day.

I'm not sure why, but you comments usually come across as from "Anonymous" and are flagged as spam. But earlier this month you left a couple of comments from "Practical Frog" and they were immediately published.

Have a great day. Kathryn

Practical Frog said...

Wow - how cool is a wingspan scarf???? I have never seen anything like it! There are soma amazing colours and designs on that site!!! You gotta post some picture when its done! (Im very impressed!)

Your apple butter seems like a thick sauce...? What do you use it on? The lemon butter we make in Australia is used as a toast spread or in baking as a filling for small one bite tarts and things like that (this is a cultural exchange I belive, figuring out one word with different meanings accross the globe!)

Until our wether settles down a bit - Im not sure I will be getting much out of my garden... Im trying cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets - but lets say, if the three tiny tomatoes ever reach maturity - I will be suprised (and still hungry when Im finished them!)

My comments look like they are going through ok on your blog until they get published - then I can see them as annonymous, hence I started signing them. Im finding that on many blogs that I read, I cant leave comments. Did you see my post on Christines site from the last Slow living? Of 18 blogs, I could only leave comments on 8...

But talking to you like this works for me!!!
- K xx

Kathryn Ray said...

Yes, I did see your comment on Christine's blog, that's why I mentioned it. It's just weird, because you're the only one that comes across as "Anonymous." :-/

I have had lemon curd... so yummy.

I put the apple butter on most anything I would use jam or fruit sauce for... peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with cream cheese on a cracker or bagel, as topping on ice cream, in an empanada or turnover or even just straight from the jar on a spoon. ;-)

I will definitely post photos of the wingspan, but I suspect it will still be awhile before it's finished. :-)
Have a great day. Kathryn

Practical Frog said...

Hmmmm... I will check my settings and see if I can find the glitch. Most of the time I cant get past the "prove you arent a robot" part of the security, which is frustrating when you put time and thought into commenting...

Now Apple butter and cream cheese - that sound REAL good! Im starting to think I need to add apple butter to my diet! And a jar or two of lemon butter...

I think that wingspan may take a while too - but how amazing will it be when its done!!!

Thanks for letting me know - I will see what I can do - I may leave some test comments on your site to see if I can figure out what setting needs changing! Cheers - K xx

Joan Price said...

So creative! I like to think of neat new projects for everything I have laying around my house whether it's grass catcher
or egg cartons. I'm glad other people like to get crafty as well!

Practical Frog said...

Glad you liked it Joan, they work really well. Its also a good wee house for the chooks when I put them in the isolation pen for some reason. Easy to move and easy to clean! Thansk for dropping by! - K xx

Practical Frog said...

Glad you liked it Joan, they work really well. Its also a good wee house for the chooks when I put them in the isolation pen for some reason. Easy to move and easy to clean! Thansk for dropping by! - K xx

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