When I first got chickens, I sweated the whole layer box thing. Since I like to take the approach of making my life easy while ensuring the girls have what they need, sometimes I hit a challenge that I make much bigger in my mind that what it really is.
Like layer boxes.
With my first flock, I didn’t even use them. The coop, while weather proofed, was not complete and I simply provided a hiding place where the girls could lay their eggs. One winter I propped up an undecorated xmas wreath which proved to be their absolute favorite laying spot and they laid egg after egg.
When I started with the new flock, I wanted to be more on the ball and at least look like I knew what I was doing.
But those darn layer boxes cost so much! I just couldn’t see paying the money. The few inexpensive boxes were made of wood and seemed to be too difficult to clean. I wanted something easy, that didn’t require mounting, with easy upkeep & cleaning.
I tried a large peat pot as a layer box. That worked for a bit. But chickens are messy and those are biodegradable. And I couldn’t find them again to replace the original when it fell apart, so that was a bust.
And then it hit me — square kitty litter buckets. My fav? Tidy Cat 35 lb pails.
I cut off the lid where it folds. I then set the pail on the short side with the remainder of the lid on the bottom, handle on top. That holds in the wood shavings. When they need to be refreshed, I dump the shavings in the pen, carry to where the fresh shavings are stored, fill and return. The pail handle makes it easy!
When it’s time to clean, they are easy to rinse, easy to wash, and easy to dunk in a bucket of bleach water to disinfect. They are stable, so no problems with the boxes tipping over.
Also, this solution is relatively cheap. Since serial killer doesn’t use a litter box, I donated the litter to a local animal shelter. A win-win all the way around.
I’ve been using these for about a year and am really happy with the solution. As an added bonus, they easily fit in my isolation boxes and the segregated chicken still has room to move as well as privacy and quiet if she’s laying eggs.
And should I try raising my own birds, these should work nicely keeping the chicks together for the first few hours. I can then pop the bottom so they can move about and get to their food and water.
All in all, this was a great DIY solution to my (manufactured) conundrum of providing appropriate layer boxes for my girls. Hopefully, it will work for some of you!