Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Making Nesting Boxes from Salvaged Materials

Salvaged materials had been collecting over the years in a stockpile on our small farm. Friends visiting the farm would look at the collection and ask, “What are you gonna do with that?” The answer had always been, “Build something, don’t know what yet.”

Last summer we bought some chicks and Chris started an on-going building project using the materials. What it turned out to be is what we laughingly call the Chicken Condo, a four-room dwelling, that will eventually be complete with kitchen for grinding and storing grain, two brooding rooms, and the coop with its nesting boxes and larger roost.
Chris is deciding his next step in the building process as he builds the Chicken Condo.
 The time has come to finish it, ready or not. We have 48 Speckled Sussex pullets and 4 young Pekin ducks who think it’s time to start laying eggs. Basically, they’re in puberty and can’t wait to get on with their lives! So, they’ve started showing us what they can do, and they’re very proud of themselves.

little brown pullet eggs and duck eggs

Our problem is that we hadn’t made the laying boxes, so Chris would play like it’s an Easter Egg Hunt every day. He’s currently finding about a dozen eggs a day, and he’s getting tired of the game. He wants his little hens to have what they need. They’re still sleeping in the brooder, so not what they need.

The local people know that Chris has always been, dare I say, frugal. Out of necessity he has become a resourceful fellow when it comes to building. He envisions what he wants, looks at what he has on hand, and then makes it happen. (The Chicken Condo actually looks like the beginning of a very modest home. People have stopped by the farm to ask about renting it.)

These nesting boxes are made from old culvert.

Buckets make a quick and easy nesting box. This photo shows the work in progress.
To finish out the coop, Chris was convinced that it wouldn’t take a lot of money. He again conceived a plan for salvaged materials, recycling what he had, or could easily barter for, to achieve what he needed. Form materials from pouring a bridge, a few used buckets, and some old culvert started to take shape in his mind. Here you see examples of two different styles that now adorn what appeared to be a boy’s bedroom just a few days earlier.

Look closely. You’ll see the camouflage paneling, one of the few things he bought new. Right after deer hunting season, it was the cheapest thing at the hardware store!
OOPS! The camouflage wall is deceptive, like a hen could roost there!


  1. I loved this article this morning with my coffee. I kept reading it because so interesting. Wow you're a wonderful writer. Such a talent. Keep us posted how things are going. The sun is shinging so nice today.Please keep posting those articles for us. Will have to see the chicken coop soon.Hugs

  2. Allie, I'm blushing! We have fun with Pauley's Pampered Poultry! Chris is now making a recipe and a designing a grinder to make fresh ground feed for them. Expect a post on that too.

  3. I love the camo! In describing his resourcefulness, you left out "ingenious" ;) He sees something and just knows exactly what he wants to do with it...someday. It's really a remarkable building - and larger than a few apartments I've rented!!

  4. These are just perfect! I love this creativity.

  5. We've been observing the use of the nests. The hens prefer the black nests made from culvert, probably because of the darkness. The yellow buckets are between a picture window (yes!) and another large window, so it's very bright where they are. When more hens are laying, remember they're still so young, Chris will put a light-filtering shade over the windows.

  6. After four weeks, we average 1 egg/day in the yellow bucket laying boxes, and 28 eggs/day in the black culvert laying boxes. I believe the chickens prefer the dark coziness of the culvert. This is mid-winter and the chickens are young. It's surprising to us that they lay eggs at all!

  7. Now, five weeks later, the hens have decided to use both kinds of boxes. I don't know what took so long, but now they're using the buckets and culvert nests about 50/50!

  8. I want to know who sells this camo plywood? i have looked all over and cant find anyone.