Rather than buy them ready made, or even buy the materials to make them, we used what we had on hand. I've seen several folks make them from plastic 5-gallon buckets, but we didn't have any of these to spare. The next best thing was the huge discarded cardboard tube DH pulled out of a dumpster. These are the ones he used to make the footer forms when he added support to our dining room floor. They measured about 4 feet long with an 18 inch diameter.
He cut one of them into 12 inch sections, which I painted to protect the cardboard.
I have 7 pullets, so I'm thinking that three nests should be more than plenty.
The tube sections were bolted together and then screwed onto a discarded board we had on hand. We used a 2x4 from our scrap lumber pile to add support and a perch in front. The outsides were painted with leftover primer paint, the insides and the boards with leftover barn paint.
I put the whole thing in the chicken coop on a couple of odd cinder blocks we had lying around. Straw, of course, we already had for the goats. I read somewhere to use golf balls in the nests as hints to the pullets as to where to lay their eggs. We found a box of old golf balls when we were cleaning out the shed, and that's what you see in the nests. Not eggs yet!
I put it in the coop at night, after the chickens had gone to roost. I figured they would worry less over it that way. The next morning, all seemed well when I opened the chicken door to let them out into their yard. They are usually very eager to get out, and they were, except for one.
That one was the Welsummer rooster. I went into the coop to find him still on the roost, fretting about how to jump over to the out-ramp without getting anywhere near that strange new contraption in the coop. It wasn't until the third morning that he seemed to get over it.
Hopefully these will work for awhile. Their shape means no one will want to perch and therefore poop on them. None of the chickens have paid much attention to them so far, which is okay. When the time comes though, I hope they know just what to do with them.
3R Nest Boxes text & photos copyright June 2010