It recently became necessary for me to fashion some free-standing nest boxes for my coop, not because I don’t have enough nest boxes for all of my laying hens, but because some of them have staged a work-stoppage and nest-box occupation. Four of my hens are broody. A broody hen is one that is inspired to sit in a nest, waiting for chicks to hatch. However, there are no fertile eggs for my broodies to hatch and they won’t voluntarily vacate the nest boxes for the working girls to use. I would ordinarily “break” broodies, but for logistical reasons, it has not yet been possible.
The result of this broody nest box occupation has been that my three new layers have sought out alternate locations for egg-laying, which is not ideal. Eggs found in a hidden nest are not safe to eat, but I will blow them out and decorate them for the holidays.
Marilyn Monroe had apparently been working the lemon balm in my garden for days before I noticed.These were her very first eggs.
This lavender nest in the front of our house was clearly contributed to by more than one hen.
With the discovery of Marilyn’s two nests, and knowing that she and other hens had been intimidated out of the coop nest boxes by the broodies, I resolved to make some temporary accommodations until I could break the broodies. I had a large, Easter basket that I have used in the past, but I needed more than one extra nest.
A quick search of the basement turned up an old wine crate that I have used as a bookshelf since law school. The bare wood reminded me that there was a Pinterest tutorial that I wanted to try and I set to work refinishing the box for my girls. The technique is so simple! Just soak steel wool in apple cider vinegar for several hours and rub on wood for an instant barn wood/aged wood/pickled wood finish. Since I started several batches of raw, apple cider vinegar with the mother earlier this spring, I had plenty of extra ACV to spare for this little project.
Here’s a look at the wine box before I started.
This is how the wet wood looked after one coat of vinegar.
And this is the dry nest box, after two coats of ACV.
The aging technique works on all types of wood. This is a piece of cedar with one coat of ACV.
Two days after placing the new, nest box in the coop, and kicking out most of the hay, Marilyn left me a gift for my troubles. The things we do for our chickens!
Order your copy of my bestselling book,
Available now on Amazon!