Are chicken nesting boxes important? What are they for?
Yes, chicken nesting boxes are important. You will need to build your nesting boxes when you are building your backyard chicken coop. The purpose of the nesting box is to provide a private, clean place for your chickens to lay eggs. The nesting box is necessary to keep the eggs safe until you can collect them. Chickens don’t really care where they lay their eggs, so without nesting boxes, you will be hunting for the eggs. You don’t have to have a separate nesting box for each of your chickens. Depending on which resource you use, each nest could be used by three to seven hens. The main rule of thumb is to not overburden the nest with too many chickens.
How to build a chicken nesting box
Really, the sky is the limit when building chicken nesting boxes. You can use materials you have around the house, or you can buy one ready made. It really is personal preference as you know the chicken isn’t going to care what the nest looks like!
One thing you need to keep in mind when deciding on materials to build your box is the durability of the material and if it is easy to clean. You will need to sterilize the box with bleach; metal and plastic make this easy to do. Additionally, these materials won’t absorb your cleaning material or the chicken’s feces. A wooden nesting box may look better, but cleaning it will be a bit trickier.
The dimensions of the box are flexible, but it does need to be tall enough that your chicken won’t hit her head on the ceiling when she stands up. Add a roost bar in front of the box so your chicken has a place to step before entering the box. Add a lip to each nesting box to give your chicken a sense of security and to keep the nesting material from falling out. Last, it is best to have your chicken nesting box raised above the ground.
What can you use to build your chicken nesting box?
Recycle things you have around the house. You probably have some things around your house that you aren’t using that can be made into a chicken nesting box.
Bookshelf. If you have an old book shelve that you aren’t using, this can make an excellent nesting box. You will need to take the bookshelf and create partitions on the shelves, and a lip in front.
Dish pans. This is an inexpensive way to put together enough nesting boxes for your chickens. You can buy the dish pans at a dollar store or any place that carries kitchen supplies. Simply cut the front out of the dishpan, leaving a lip, and put them on shelving…or even the old bookshelf.
Kitty Litter Pan. This is really an easy way to get your chicken nesting boxes set up fast. Just buy the kitty litter pan that has the top on it, fill it with your nesting material, and that’s it!
Plastic Storage Crate. Again, very easy to set up. Place them on their side, you can stack them, and add a lip.
You will need to provide some sort of nesting material for your chickens. Some examples are straw, wood shavings, even grass clippings if your don’t chemically treat your grass. You will need to clean out the nest about once a month and replace the nesting material.
Have fun building your nesting box!
You can really put together your nesting box with things you have around the house. The three main things to remember are:
- Make sure the nesting box has a lip so the nesting materials don’t fall out.
- Add a roost bar in front so you chicken has a place to step on when entering the box.
- Raise them up so they are safe from predators.
Let us know how your chicken nesting box turns out!