How to build a nest box for macaws

Written by terri rawls
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How to build a nest box for macaws
Large wooden nest box (Illustrations and Photos by Terri Rawls)

When it comes to building a nest box for macaws, there are several ways you can go. If you were to ask professional breeders what type of nest box they prefer, each will have a different choice. Some breeders use oak barrels or plastic 55-gallon drums, while others use hollowed out, natural logs or large, thick pieces of PVC pipe. More commonly, breeders build their own wooden nest boxes for macaws.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1/2-inch plywood pieces:
  • One (24 x 36-inch) bottom piece
  • Two (23.5 x 23.5-inch) side pieces
  • Two (24 x 36 inch) front and back pieces
  • One (24 x 36 inch) top piece
  • Screws
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill with hole saw bit
  • Strong welded mesh wire (optional)
  • White paint

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  1. 1

    Gather all of the materials and supplies you will need to build a macaw nest box. This will include thick plywood, at least a 1/2 inch thick, a saw and 1-inch long screws. Many macaw breeders also choose to encase the nest box with a strong, welded, mesh wire to help protect the macaws, eggs or babies if the birds chew through the wood, which happens often.

  2. 2

    Assemble the pieces of plywood you will need to build a macaw nest box. You will need one 24 x 36-inch piece for the bottom; two 23.5 x 23.5-inch pieces for the sides, two 24 x 36-inch pieces for the front and back; and one 24 x 36-inch piece for the top. It is a good idea to label your pieces as you cut them so that the macaw nest box will be easy to assemble.

  3. 3

    Draw an 8-inch hole on the front piece of plywood, towards the top to make the entrance to the macaw nest box. Use a drill to get the hole started and then cut it out using a jigsaw. Hole saw bits can be purchased at building supply stores that can make this job much simpler.

  4. 4

    Screw the sides, front and back of the Macaw nest box together using 1-inch screws. Place one of the side pieces on the inside of the front piece and screw into place. Move to the other side and add the other side piece, making sure you place it in the same position as the first side piece. Now add the back piece of the nest box by placing it on the outside edges of the side pieces and screw into place. With all four sides assembled, add the bottom piece by placing it against the frame of the nest box and screw into place.

    How to build a nest box for macaws
    Place sides to the inside of the front and back
  5. 5

    Connect the top piece of the macaw nest box. Since it is necessary to be able to look inside the nest box and clean it, it is necessary to make it where it can be easily moved without the macaws being able to knock it off. This can be easily accomplished by screwing the top of the nest box on with one single screw. This allows the lid to slide to the side without being completely removed and can be easily removed when it is time to clean the nest box.

    How to build a nest box for macaws
    Attach top with a single screw to provide yourself access into the nest box
  6. 6

    Paint the macaw nest box white if it is going to be exposed to the sun. White will reflect the heat, helping to keep the nest box cool.

Tips and warnings

  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • The cock bird does not take part in the incubation of the eggs but may still spend time in the nest with the hen.
  • Common nest box entry holes are normally circular but it is not uncommon to make square entry holes for a macaw nest box.
  • If you are placing the nest box outside, encase the box in strong welded mesh wire in case the macaw chews through the wood.
  • Macaws are destructive to woodwork and should be provided with plenty of chewing material.
  • Clean the outside of painted nest boxes regularly to help the white paint maintain its reflective properties.

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