There are probably as many different ideas for nest boxes among
keepers of Bengalese as there are varieties of the bird.
I have seen Bengalese breeding in every type of site from plastic baths,
canary nest pans, wicker basket's etc., but with what sort of success.
When it comes to our aim of producing youngsters from our birds this item of
cage furniture needs more thought in its placing and design than anything
else, it is the centre of our bird's world sometimes for the best part of 6
months of the year. So the more trouble free we can make it the more
acceptable to ourselves and our charges it becomes.
The ideal material for box construction is wood, and most boxes are made
from this material, the alternative is cardboard, and you can either
construct them yourself or buy either type readymade.
For siting your boxes you have the alternative of inside the cage or
For boxes hung outside I think wood is the best material to use, mine are
constructed of 6mm ply.
I have seen some very good and practicable cardboard boxes used inside the
cage, and if you must hang your boxes inside, they are probably best, due to
the reduction they bring in weight.
My boxes are hung outside the cage, and my reasons for recommending this
are, boxes when hung inside bring a reduction in cage space, also the need
for a large cage door that can lead to escapes, and having to remove the box
for inspection. The sequence of actions required in inspecting an interior
box brings with it an increased possibility of accidents. We bend all our
efforts to producing eggs and then chicks and don’t want to lose any through
bad box design or placement
The general opinion and advice given about nest box dimensions is that it
should comprise of a 5 inch cube. I have tried this and finally settled on a
box 5½ inch's square and 6 inch high. Having seen half a dozen full grown
chicks plus the parents crammed into the box I found this was the ideal
In some places it is recommended that the box has a hole for access, in my
opinion I would advise against this, baby Bengalese start looking out of the
box at an early age and they will hang out of the box in a line, this is
natural behaviour and should be encouraged, something they have to take
turns at if the box has a hole for access. Have a full access along the
When I construct my boxes I use a liberal amount of strong waterproof glue
at all joints to ensure the least amount of cracks and crevices were nasty’s
A hinged lid at the top of the box giving you access for inspection makes
this job so much easier and causes the least amount of disturbance to
breeding birds, my boxes are detachable, so that I can remove them and place
them on a table when ringing youngsters, saving any accidents such as
dropping a chick.
Make sure which ever method you use to attach your boxes they are strongly
and firmly attached, it's better to have a bump on your head than a box on
Where nest building materials are concerned I have tried most things that
have been suggested, but find that either meadow hay that is sold in most
pet shops for rabbits and guinea pigs or coconut fibre are ideal, usually I
start the nest of for the pairs with a good handful of meadow hay and let
them finish and line with coconut fibre.
Although a fit pair of Bengalese will attempt to breed in almost any type of
nest site, we as their sole providers should ensure we provide the best and
safest environment for our birds to reproduce.