I have three nest boxes for the hens. All my hens have always laid their eggs in these boxes. I haven't had to worry about not having enough. It always seemed to work. Fortunately, or unfortunately, three of my hens have decided they want to set on eggs. So they have been. The problem then is that all the hens still want to lay their eggs in those same three boxes. I don't know what eggs are old and what are new. So we haven't been able to get the eggs.
Sure I could mark the ones that they are setting but the hens get really pissed off when you reach under them and pick them up. I needed to come up with a different solution.
Since I'm still moving things around and trying to figure out what the final, final configuration is going to be I don't want to spend much money putting together nest boxes.
Today while I was at the post office it hit me. Boxes from the post office will work perfectly. I folded up a medium sized box. Then I cut the top off on three sides. It's still attached on one of the long sides. Then I put together one of the square boxes. I closed up the bottom of that one and kept the top open. Then I placed the square box on its side inside the medium box. The medium box is about two inches longer but the width is exact. The top of the medium box didn't get cut off. It is used as a divider between two of the nest boxes.
I'm going to take them out to the coop as soon as I get off the computer. I'll but shavings in the bottom of each box. Then I'll move the three hens into the second coop. After they are moved, and totally ticked off, I'll place the eggs into each of the boxes. I'll bring the nest boxes into the second coop. Hopefully the moms will want to still set on those nests.
If they do set then all will be good. If they don't then I'll gather up all the eggs and candle them tonight. Then I'll put the good ones into the incubator. If they do reject them then I'll put a few other hens into that coop with them as well as the rooster. Hopefully they will set on their new eggs.
The nest boxes were free to make, and I'm sure we should all use used boxes rather than brand new boxes. As long as they don't get rained on, and they are under cover, they should last for quite a while. For free, I could make more if needed.