Sometimes it's nice to have a portable nesting box. If you free range, you can put it out in the yard where your flock has decided they are going to lay their eggs to try to encourage them to lay in the box instead of under a bush or on the ground.
In the summer our coop is sometimes just too hot inside for our hens to want to lay their eggs, so I have some baskets and wooden boxes out in our run where its cooler. Maybe you have an injured hen or one who needs to be separated for some reason, so she doesn't have access to the coop nesting boxes. A broody hen needs a safe nest away from the general population where she can hatch her chicks and raise them.
In all of these cases, it's nice to have a nesting box that you can move to where you need it. You can make this cute 'box' in about ten minutes out of a wooden half wine barrel.
The only materials you will need is a wooden half wine barrel (the large size for standard chicken breeds and ducks, the smaller size works for bantams, other smaller breeds and call ducks), a 1x6 board that is two inches longer than the width of the barrel, and a piece of wire. For tools, all you need is a cordless drill, a pencil and wire snips.
To make your wine barrel nesting box, turn the barrel on its side and position the board where it will ultimately need to be wired. Mark on both sides of the barrel as well as both sides on the front of the board where holes should be drilled for the wire.
Drill the holes in both the barrel and board where you marked.
Snip two short pieces of wire and thread it through each set of holes and twist to secure. Be sure the ends of the wire are on the outside of the barrel so the hens won't get cut on them.
Fill the barrel with some nice clean straw and it's ready for business. Some fake eggs will help encourage your hens to start using the box.
I decided to dress my barrel nesting box up just a little bit more and paint 'Eggs' on the board. I printed out the word from my computer and then transferred it to the board with carbon paper and used outdoor acrylic paint to paint it on.
I'm really pleased with how this nesting box project came out. I am going to keep my eye out for more wine barrels and make a few more.
I put it on the floor of our new coop. Some of our heavier breeds don't like climbing the ladder to the nesting boxes so they will like this barrel on the floor. I even caught one of our new layers checking it out this morning!