Egg laying chickens should have a comfortable place to sit and nest if you don’t want them to lay eggs here and there and everywhere. All pre-made chicken coops or chicken coop plans will include 12″x12″x12″ nesting boxes (one cubic foot), which is considered to be big enough for all sizes of laying hen.
A standard 5 gallon plastic bucket has a radius of 5.5″ and a depth of 14″, making its volume 0.76 cubic feet, which is close enough to keep most breeds of chicken happy!
You can see that 2/3 of the lid is cut away, leaving the bottom 1/3 intact, which is necessary to prevent the chickens from kicking all the straw all over the floor. Use wood shavings instead for the best bedding. The rubberized strip is important to protect those delicate chicken feet from getting scratched by the sharp plastic edge. I would probably use a segment of bike tube for my rubberized edge, bike shops give them away free by the dozens.
The back of the nesting box is screwed onto 2x4s which run the length of the coop. This ensures that they won’t roll around.
(Update) A reader has informed me that any breed of chicken will use these types of nesting boxes – even the very large Buff Orpington variety!
There’s many more ways to use buckets for chicken care. Check out these additional five gallon ideas: