The Skinny on Chicken Nesting Boxes

There’s a lot of ideas floating around out there about nesting boxes. But, what is right for your chickens? and for you?

Basic Requirements for Nesting Boxes

The basic size of nesting boxes for chickens should be 12in x12 in x 12in. This provides enough room for a hen to comfortably enter and move around. Adjust the dimensions based on the size of your chickens. You will want to double that size if you have turkeys. My turkey hen somehow squeezes into the custom made lay boxes I have.

Durable and easy-to-clean materials for the nesting boxes are the best. Wood is commonly used, but is a porous material. You will need to make sure the seal the wood and/or line the wood with a material that makes it easy to clean. Plastic is a great material that is easy to clean – so if you run into those 5 gallon bucket nesting box plans: they do work. Metal boxes are also an option. Whatever material you choose: make sure the edges are smooth to prevent any potential injuries to the chickens.

Keep in mind chickens are birds and they poop everywhere – including in the nesting boxes. So, easy to clean is pretty high on the list of needs on the nesting boxes.

Nesting Box Entrance

Your nesting boxes will need perches for easy access to the nesting boxes. Install a low, chicken-sized entrance on the front side of the box to allow easy access. Adding a small perch in front of the entrance can encourage chickens to perch and enter the nesting box. This also helps keep the bedding inside clean – when chickens perch they poop. Cleaner nesting boxes means cleaner eggs.

A Privacy Please!

Who doesn’t like privacy? No one likes to be watched 24×7 and chickens like their privacy when providing you with yummy, delectable, tasty nuggets. So, gives them a dark and secluded nesting box to lay their eggs in. Ensure the nesting boxes are placed in a quiet area of the coop, away from excessive light, noise, or disturbances.

Cushy Booty Supports and Soft Landing

Yea, we all love that perfect mattress or sofas to help our booties be comfy and supported. Chickens do too. Does that mean you need to give them little sofas? Na. Just line the nesting boxes with clean straw, hay, or soft wood shavings to create a comfortable and inviting nest. Replace the bedding regularly to maintain cleanliness and prevent pests. Lining your nesting boxes also provides a nice soft landing for your eggs – helps prevents potential cracks in the eggs.

My favorite is pine shavings and I will dust the shavings with some diatomaceous earth to keep buggies down.

My #1 Choice in the Chicken Private Suite

My favorite nesting box that I have I found on Amazon. It is super easy to clean because I can remove it out of the coop and hose it down if I need to. If one of your birds resorts to eating eggs this is super helpful. (Eventually, you will have an egg eater.) All my chickens prefer these nesting boxes over the custom, homemade nesting boxes we have.

These are, also, great if one of you hens turns broody. I know, I know! Broodiness in hens are not that popular – in fact the trait is often bred out of the birds. But bear with me. I prefer for my flock the self replenish by having their own babies. I could incubate eggs…but I will tell you that having a mama hen do all the work for you is 1000000000x times better.

Optional Features

While not necessary, some people prefer to install a slight slope to the nesting box floor. This helps the eggs roll to the front of the box, making them easier to collect without getting damaged.

They make these roll away nesting boxes. These a very popular feature because it helps keeps the eggs cleaner and makes them easier to collect. Sometimes when a hen goes broody they become very protective of their eggs. We experienced this recently. She was super mean if tried to reach under her for eggs – and she would hang on to any ounce of flesh that came close. So, if you do not want your hen to hatch eggs then you can install an slope into your nesting boxes or buy these: roll away nesting boxes

Mmm, Butt-Nuggets

Yep, those butt-nuggets sure are tasty. Remember to regularly check and collect eggs from the nesting boxes to avoid them being broken or attracting pests. I collect 2-3 times a day. It is recommended to provide enough nesting boxes to accommodate the number of chickens you have to prevent overcrowding and encourage each hen to use a designated nesting box. However, chickens know what they like and they will typically take turns using 1-2 of their favorite nesting boxes.

Happy Homesteading!


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