I use plastic file boxes for chicken nests. They are easy to clean and don’t have all the nooks and crannies of wooden nest boxes for mites to hide out. I have four nests for every 16 hens. That’s all I have room for and it seems to be plenty. I’ve set them on the floor of the coop and no longer have chickens trying to roost on them at night.
22 Chicken Approved Inexpensive Nesting Boxes
Nest box construction can be pretty basic or more elaborate, depending on your creativity, available materials and finances. The best materials from which to make chicken nests are those that are easy to clean and sterilize. For example, metal and plastic can be sanitized, bleached and scrubbed. In addition, these materials don’t absorb chicken feces or the product you use to clean them. Conversely, wooden boxes are convenient and easy to fabricate, but a little more tricky to clean.
Chickens and Nesting Boxes - Treats For Chickens
This is another type of wooden nesting boxes for chickens. This is ideal for these backyard farmers who want to get done with a nesting box which caters three or more birds at a time. For triplex type, you may need help from a friend or maybe professional. The problem occurs when you are supposed to join wooden slabs all together and form a secure nesting area. Don’t forget to place fake eggs into the boxes; else you won’t be able to convince your flocks to lay eggs inside it.
Chickens generally want to lay in a dark and secluded area
During much of the year, the average hen will lay an egg nearly every day. Although we might like to think chickens are happy to provide us with breakfast, the truth is they are only interested in finding a safe location where they can lay their eggs in peace. Those new to chicken keeping may find themselves wondering why their hens aren’t laying eggs, only to later discover a clutch of eggs hidden away in long grass, under the porch or in a corner of the coop obstructed from view.
Providing a secure and welcoming location for chickens to lay their eggs not only makes it easy to collect eggs without hunting for them, it can reduce stress in the coop as chickens learn to rely on a consistently comfortable nesting site. Nesting boxes can be made of a variety of constructed or re-purposed materials, but a few guidelines will help to make them not only inviting, but easy to access and maintain.
How many nests are needed depends on the size of your flock. Contrary to popular belief, nesting boxes are not intended to be used for sleeping and chickens should be encouraged to use nests only for laying. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of one nesting box for every four chickens.
Constructing boxes from found materials can save on costs and give character to the backyard coop. Boxes need not be square, but should be roomy enough to contain a laying hen, yet small enough to feel secure. About a cubic foot is ideal, with comfortable access and a lipped edge to retain bedding. Boxes can be built from wood, metal or plastic for stability and easy cleaning. If building from scratch, pitch the top of boxes to discourage chickens from roosting on top of boxes. Repurposed materials like 5-gallon buckets tipped on their sides, milk crates, wash basins or old pet carriers all make good nesting boxes, but should be thoroughly washed before use.
Finding a good location is imperative when installing nesting boxes. Place nests in the least traveled part of the coop to prevent disturbances while hens are laying. Elevate the nest to a height of 1 to 3 feet to discourage predators and the collection of debris from the coop floor.
Line boxes with bedding to keep chickens comfortable and to protect the egg once it has been laid. Wood shavings, straw or sawdust are economical choices. Replace bedding every few weeks to keep the nest sanitary and attractive.
Encourage chickens to use nesting boxes by placing plastic eggs or golf balls in the nests to simulate recently laid eggs. Eggs should be collected daily, but chickens are more likely to add to an existing clutch of eggs than to start a new one. Keep boxes clean and do not disturb laying chickens. Once nesting boxes are accepted as a safe and serene laying site, chickens will return daily without prodding.As far as sanitation is concerned, nesting boxes of plastic and metal work best, but neither are creative or give the visual of the happy chicken. Personally, I imagine hens comfortably nestled into old, hand built wooden boxes, plush and overflowing with fresh straw. I certainly don’t think plastic and I sure don’t think metal. However, plastic and metal don’t contain little cracks which allow places for nasty mites and lice to hide and breed by the thousands. If you’re stuck in the same visual I enjoy, there are ways to safely keep wood in the picture, and metal out.