DIY Wine Barrel Nesting Box

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!



©2013 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. All rights reserved.


  1. I had a pet carrier that I had left in the coop after buying some more chicks. In a day or two I looked inside it and there was a nest full of eggs. So I moved it out in the yard and put it on the picnic table to hose it clean. ( My chickens can free range most of the time.) Lo and behold more eggs laid in the carrier. I didn't want to leave it out in the weather, so I put a small dog box up on the table and the hens loved it. Makes a great nest box.

  2. That is pretty neat.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Great repurpose of materials. I love ideas like this one.

    Sonja of

  4. I like this Lisa. Great idea I'm sharing on Pinterest.

  5. I like this Lisa. Great idea I'm sharing on Pinterest.

  6. I love this idea too. I'm always looking out (on the side of the road) when people leave their 'junk' out on the kerb. Recycled material make wonderful things for pets.
    I have a question and I'm not sure where I can post it on your blog (I've only just joined here).
    I'm a new Hen Lover. My (7yr old) daughter and I just moved 'country' in January 2012 and we have two girls, Ruby and Goldy. we raised them from 2 days old and they're now laying. Goldy is laying like 'clock work' but Ruby is struggling. They both sleep inside the laundry still (in a box)with water and come up to the back door at sundown for bed. (The laundry is right next to the back glass sliding door). Ruby has had a couple of eggs without shells (soft/paper thin) and has missed the odd day, has laid in the middle of the night in their bedroom, or afternoon etc. Then she began laying 3 days in a row in the morning with Goldy... But on these days, she ran inside the door, into the laundry and jumped up to a large round hanging basket from the ceiling, where I keep bags and hats, and promptly laid them in there. She has since skipped a day again and layed a shell-less egg again. The eggs when she lays them are whitish and a little speckled, with some tiny 'dry' bits on it sometimes. They are also 'quite large'. You can see deformities where she's 'held it in', one was squashed in on one side. Anyway, they both free range but when I go out I lock them in their coop, which I made out of an old kids swing set (triangle frame!). The top part of which has a shelf and a box and straw. This is where they will stay at night 'eventually'.
    Anyway, my question is, could Ruby improve her laying? I was told if they keep having shell-less eggs it can get stuck in their body and they'll die?? They have only been laying almost 3 weeks now. Goldy hasn't missed since she began. Also I tried moving the basket for Ruby into the coop but she wouldn't use it there so I returned it to the laundry.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your great blog... and please let me know where is best to post a question?
    Kind Regards,

    1. Hi Raelee. If you don't already like us on Facebook, be sure to check us out. That's the best place to ask questions If you're not on Facebook you can email us at:

      As for Ruby, some new layers do take awhile to get in the groove but the soft-shelled eggs can end being a problem. Try adding 1T of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water for them. You can also add some liquid calcium to their water if the shell quality doesn't improve. I assume they are eating quality layer feed and you are supplementing with oyster shell too? Lisa

  7. This is extra-ordinary blog.Akalsahai Wood Products, incepted in 1981, are an ISO 9001:2008 certified company. They are a trusted manufacturer of wooden packaging products as per ISPM 15. They as a company have a methodical approach coupled with expertise and experience.Wooden boxes

  8. What a great idea!! It reminded me of a book we read at Easter--the Easter Egg Farm by Mary Jane Auch. One of her hens had trouble laying eggs and then laid different ones and the other hens made fun of her. It is a cute story, and the first thing I thought of when I read your post is it would be perfect for this farm. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  9. My sister Deb showed me this blog. Have added herbs to my laying hen boxes. TYVM

  10. What a cute way to encourage hens to lay. Great way to re-cycle a tub.

  11. This is really cute....
    Over from Lavender Garden

  12. Repeat the process every six weeks to replenish the sulfur in the barrels. You should detect a light sulfur smell around the barrels at all times during storage.

  13. thanks for posting..

  14. I really want to get myself some chicks this spring... I have a large coop but I have no idea how big of run I should make... Free roaming is not an option, to many predators... Please help,