Nest Box Construction

In my dim and distant impoverished youth I bought and assembled my fair share of Ikea furniture, and today that skill set came into it’s own.  A couple of years ago, I bought a 10 hole conventional nest box set, and it came flat packed, just like the bookcases used to.

My hen house had perfectly functional wooden nest boxes we’d made years ago, but I’d bought these metal ones with a view to switching when we switched flocks.  The wooden ones are fine, but can be difficult to clean out.  My brother has the metal nest boxes, and he’d shown me how you can pop the bottom out of a single nest to clean it if need be.  I was pretty impressed with the idea of being able to raise the perching bar to close the boxes off at night, too – my brother doesn’t bother, but Salatin and many others do.  Broodies and other birds often want to nest or roost in the boxes at night, requiring more clean outs, and I’m getting tired of that.  With this new flock getting used to the patched up hen house, it was time to get the nest boxes put together.

nest box construction 001 small nest box construction 003 small

See the instruction sheet?  The writing on that top half of the sheet is all the writing there was.  The part that’s folded over is a very hard to decipher diagramme of where the two different types of screws are supposed to go.  The top half of the text you see in the picture is just the contents list.  The little paragraph after that is the sum total of actual instruction.

This wasn’t exactly like putting together a bookcase, however, because the contents included 73 pop rivets.  I had to go and check these out on Google.  Every single hit said you needed a riveting gun to use them.  So then I had to go to YouTube to see how the tool was used.  And then, because riveting guns are bigger and more expensive than Allen keys, and therefore not included with every flat pack of nest boxes, I had to find one that I could use.

Ten minutes later I was walking briskly down to Hay Guy’s workshop, where he was glooming over a hydraulic something or other from his excavator that has stripped threads, which even I could tell was a Bad Thing.  However, he demonstrated how to use the riveting gun and chatted for a minute before I headed back up the road to my project.

Two hours later, I was able to return the riveting gun, my nest boxes fully assembled and looking like the real deal. Of course, the birds don’t need them yet, but now I’ve got them ready to go at a moment’s notice.

nest box construction 009 small

In addition to swanky new nest boxes, I’ve acquired a new skill, should the need to use pop rivets every arise again.  And yes, HFS, this project wasn’t difficult to do after all.  You were right.


10 thoughts on “Nest Box Construction

  1. Look at you! Nest box looks great!

  2. 2 hours? You show off!
    My brain just doesn’t do flat pack and who draws those diagrams?! When the Ikea furniture first hit our shores we bought up large which goes a long way to explaining the wonky desk, filing cabinet, bike shed etc etc etc. Some of us are best left to our own devices with mismatched hunks of salvaged wood, a couple of pellets, bindertwine and long nails. Failing that, reaching into our pocket and (gasp) paying someone else to do it. We know our limits.
    That said, you definitely have the gift. Nesting boxes looking awesome – you deserve a huge glass of something decadent 🙂

  3. They look great! I really like the idea of the perching bar folding up to block the broodies. Do you have a name for the hen house? With all this spiffing up – it certainly deserves a name.

    • Well, it’s not as spiffy as all that, it was just a patch job in the end, but the name will probably continue to be Hen House…we are the people who called our pigs Big and Little Pig after all :).

  4. Bill says:

    I’m envious of both those shiny new nesting boxes and your new skill as, alas, I have neither.

    A neighbor had nesting boxes like that and after she passed away her daughter asked me if I wanted them. I enthusiastically accepted them, but when I later came to pick them up I learned that somehow in the confusion of cleaning out the place they’d been thrown away. Sigh. We have wooden boxes and chickens who sometimes like to poop in them at nigh.

    • The riveting skill may have limited applications frankly. My elderly neighbour who used to be a contractor brought over a really awesome cordless power drill and some special screws that might have done the job, not just faster, but more importantly, with less strain on my hands. A big disadvantage of the hand riveting tool is that it requires a good strong grip to close the handles for each rivet – I figure I did about 70…in my job at the library where RSI is far too typical in women my age, this is something I have to be careful about. On the other hand, the battery pack on the drill makes the tool about 10 lbs, which would be hard on the wrist if I used it for long. My neighbour pointed out that construction workers often cause their own back injuries by packing tools like this around all day hanigng off their belt.

      Nothing wrong with the wooden nest boxes, but I’ll admit, being able to shut these new ones with the bar is pretty awesome.

  5. df says:

    Those nesting boxes look amazing, and like everyone else here, I’m seriously impressed with the speed at which you put it together and the skills you pressed into service! In your shoes, I’d have handed the project off to my older son in all likelihood (that means, 100% for sure!). Glad to hear you had a celebratory drink – well deserved!

  6. Funny you should mention the idea of passing the project off to a teenager – I enlisted the help of the younger daughter (16) to get these boxes actually hung up on the wall in the hen house, and she basically took over. It was awesome :).

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