Recycled nest boxes can come from the flea market! If you spy a good sturdy box or shelf. with some DIY makeover magic it can become a recycled nest box! I make no secret of the fact that I am a flea market addict. The love for picking through the stalls set up with other people’s treasures gets creative thoughts flowing. I am always on the lookout for things we can use around our farm and have found many used dog crates, rabbit hutches and other animal enclosures for just a few dollars each. These have come in handy when animals need to be quarantined or transported. That’s not the time to be looking for a crate!
I also am addicted to farmhouse kitchen tools and decor. I particularly love things from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. So, that is where my mind was when I spotted this little beauty. Ugly? Why yes, I agree. At this point I think it was rather hideous. A light purple paint covered this storage bin/shelf. I imagine it was used to hold a little girl’s toys or stuffed animals. It probably looked quite cute in her room, too. But now it sat here, in a field, at a tractor show and looked forlorn. So I took it home. I had an idea of what I could use it for.
Old Book Shelf Transforms to New Recycled Nest Boxes
First, it needed a good cleaning. It was obvious that this shelf had been sitting in a dusty garage for some time. I let the shelf dry in the sun for a bit while I grabbed the paint.
I knew I wanted it to complement the rustic look of our Chicken coop. Soft colors and earth tones were in my mind. I am drawn to soft yellows and cream colors and as soon as I walked into the hardware store I saw these spray paints by Rust Oleum 280699 American Accents Ultra Cover 2X Spray Paint, Gloss Sun Yellow, 12-Ounce“>Rustoleum, the American Accents collection. I am glad that I chose this paint because it really did only need one coat of paint.
The Cream colored paint went on first. After it dried, it was time for the fun stuff. Have you heard of Frog Tape? It is painters tape but with a better grip for painting. It comes off clean and no paint seeping lines.
How to Use Chevron Frog Tape
I chose the chevron shape of Frog Tape because I want my chickens to have a current decor style!
After the Chevron Frog Tape was put on the bookshelf, I sprayed the shelf top and sides with the yellow paint, leaving the inside of the chicken nest boxes openings the cream color.
After fifteen minutes, the paint was dry enough to remove the tape and see the chevrons! Perfect!
The bookshelf sat for a full 24 hours to allow the paint to completely dry and for the paint fumes to dissipate.
For the final touch I added some scrap book letters to the top board, so the hens would know what this fine piece of furniture was to be used for.
I’ll let you know how they like the new nest boxes once I find an egg in there! It being molting season, eggs are scarce right now. Hope this gives the hens a little incentive to get back to the job.
** I placed a cinder block in front of the shelf to keep it from tipping over. I thought about screwing it into the wall but I wanted to be able to remove it easily for cleaning, so I chose to place the block in front to stabilize the shelf.**
Other Types of Recycled Nest Boxes
Other items can be recycled nest boxes too. Dresser draws, vegetable bins, wooden crates, and even vintage suitcases. Instead of searching just for standard farm nesting boxes, think outside the box. Here are some criteria I use to make sure an item will make a safe, sturdy nest box for my hens.
1.Is it heavy weight enough to not tip if the hen stands on the side.
2. Can it be cleaned easily
3. Are there any toxic paints or small parts that could be a hazard.
4. Does it smell musty and gross? I sure don’t need any additional bad smells added to the coop!
Buying an old wooden crate can be a good deal and the crate can be given a quick coating of spray paint to repel mites from living in the old wood. Wire baskets may be a good choice if they can be secured to the wall or somehow prevented from tipping.
Use your imagination and think of safety. Then,your next trip to the flea market might find you bringing home a recycled nest box.
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Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily says
That is beautiful! What a find and nice job repurposing it. I love how the scallop design sort of looks like eggs!
Janet Garman says
Thanks Lisa. I had a blast refinishing this piece. Not bad for a few dollars.
Heidi @ Pint Size Farm says
That turned out great 🙂
Janet Garman says
Jan VanDeWalle says
I love the shelf for a nesting box, and so cute when you got thru painting. I bought an old hen house at an auction years ago and cleaned it up to be a play house when my first grand daughter came along. I only had two boys so a girl got really spoiled. now the 4 grand kids are out growing the play house so it might just go back to being a chicken house. A shelf like yours would be perfect if I redo the play house;)
Janet Garman says
thanks so much for the comment Jan. I really enjoyed this project. – Janet
Joan @ The Chicken Mama says
These are so cute! I’ve seen similar furniture pieces at thrift stores and it never dawned on me they would make perfect nesting boxes – you’re very smart 🙂
Janet Garman says
Thanks Joan. I had a blast working on this piece
Ann Marie Mones says
Thanks for posting this! I have an old tool shed I plan to convert into a chicke coop over the next few months. Your story gives me inspiration of what to look for, and where to find treasures to convert into useful parts of the coop. Your project is beautiful, and I am sure the hens love it too!