chicken nesting boxes
Chicken Nesting Boxes are essential for your poultry business or hobby. Although a hen can just lay their eggs anywhere, its natural tendency is to seek a comfortable, cozy, and private egg-laying location. Birds in the wild tend to build their nests to shelter their eggs. As you provide nesting boxes for your chickens, you also give the most natural environment for your animals. It will also prevent stress to the hens as they seek the best location for egg-laying. Also, peeing into the boxes and seeing that the hens have laid their eggs each morning gives joy to every poultry owner. This joy is irreplaceable primarily if you have invested time, money, and effort for your chickens. Thus, in this article, we will discuss how to create a nesting box in your backyard and some of the best materials to use. Meanwhile, if you don't want to build one, we will introduce some products that you can buy ready-made in the market today.

Best Materials to Use for Chicken Nesting Boxes

Creating a nesting box can be simple or complicated, depending on the materials you wish to use, budget, and creativity. The best materials that you can use are those that are easy to sterilize and clean. Some of these are plastic and metal materials. Both can be scrubbed, bleached, and sanitized quickly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and the spread of foul smell in your boxes. Plastic and metal are widely used by chicken owners since they don't absorb the feces or even the cleaning products you use. Meanwhile, wooden chicken boxes are easy to install, readily available anywhere, and eco-friendly. However, cleaning it can be extra challenging.

Alternative Materials

There are materials available in your backyard that you can use as the chicken nesting box. Nests need not be expensive, and you can even build one for your animals. Furthermore, you don't need to have expert carpentry skills in making these nests, and you can also start from scratch. Here are some materials you can use to make chicken nesting boxes:

Cat Litter Nesting Box

Clean your old cat litter boxes and convert them into a chicken nesting box. Put some wood shavings and other linings on it, and you can now let your hens lay their eggs peacefully.

Dishpan Nesting Boxes

You can also try an old dishpan to make it a nesting box for your hens. Just cut the front, and you could now put it on the frame. You can do a broader version of this using small litter boxes and other storage containers.

Milk Crates

Take your old milk crate and attach rigid cardboard to it to make a lip. You can also put screws on the wood so you can connect it to the coop.

Old Plastic Buckets

In making nesting boxes using plastic buckets, you will need the following materials:
  • 2' x 4' plywood boards
  • 5-gallon old plastic buckets
  • Bike tubing
  • Knife
  • Screw or nails
  • Straw or wood shavings
  • Wire
First, clean your old plastic buckets thoroughly. Then, using a knife, cut it out to two-thirds of the lid. Next, attach an old bike tubing on the cover to protect the delicate feet of the hens from the sharp edges of the sheet that you cut. To keep the bucket sturdy, attach it to the boards and then to the coop. Lastly, put some straw or wood shavings inside the nesting boxes.

Old Tire

Don't throw your old tires yet, and you can still use them for your poultry business. Cut the tires in half and make it a nesting box. Put straw, hay, or wood shavings on it.

Plastic Bowls

Try to use old plastic bowls in your kitchen and convert it into a nesting box. Use those which have different colors to make them more attractive to the hens. Put some straw on it and place it on a dark section of the chicken house.

Scrap Wood

You can also use your old bookshelf, toy storage, furniture, wine crate, and other scrap wood and convert it into a nesting box. Just be creative and make a masterpiece with care.

Wine barrel, Whiskey Barrels, or Drums

It is good to make your nesting boxes portable so you can cope up with the egg-laying habits of the hens. Amazingly, you can make a nesting box using a barrel in ten minutes. The materials to use are as follows:
  1. Cordless drill
  2. Wire
  3. Wooden barrel cut in half
  4. Wooden Slab
First, take a slab of wood and make small holes in it. Then, make sure that you also make the exact size of holes in the barrel. Finally, join the two using a wire. You can paint the slab with something colorful to make it appealing to the chickens.

Limits Per Nesting Boxes and Linings

Experts recommend poultry owners to have one nesting space for at least five chickens. The idea is to provide enough space for the hens so they can lay their eggs properly. Meanwhile, the linings of the boxes can be wood shavings, shredded newspapers, or sawdust. Some owners use grass clippings, and you can do it too, as long as you don't treat your lawn with chemicals. Some of the poultry shops today offer rubber mats that fit in the bottom of the nesting box, and you can opt for these products. It is easy to clean, and it can last a long time. Hay and straw can be moldy and can cause adverse effects on the health of the chickens. Thus, always clean them for about 4 to 6 weeks if you wish to use these materials.

Keeping Predators Out of the Nesting Boxes

Experts recommend that the nests be inside the chicken house for easy access to egg gathering and periodic cleaning. Chickens must not lay their eggs outside on the ground because predators can detect the eggs and eat them. Some hens will have less interest in soiling nests inside the chicken house, especially if the nests are on the darkest part of the building, which is far from the outside activity. A piece of burlap at the front of the nest can be a sound barrier. Do not let your chickens from doing anything else but only lay their eggs in the nests by shooing them out when you see that they are loitering.

General Guidelines for Making Chicken Nesting Boxes

Hens are comfortable when the size of the nesting boxes can accommodate their body size. Indeed, the nest should be too large rather than too small. Here are some of the general guidelines for making it:
  1. For standard breed chicken, the size of the nest should be 1' deep, 1' wide, and 1' tall. For bantams, it should be 10" high, 12" wide, and 10" deep. Meanwhile, for larger breeds like Jersey Black Giants and New Hampshire, the nest must be 12" wide, 14" high, and 12" deep.
  2. Must be 3-4 feet off the ground to prevent predators from getting the eggs.
  3. Put a piece of burlap on the front entrance to protect the hens, give them privacy, and make their surroundings darker.
  4. The opening of the nest must be 1' high so hens can enter quickly.
  5. The roof must be steep, with a 45-degree angle. With this, the chickens won't sit on the top and soil the nest at night time.
  6. There should be a wooden lip that measures about 4" high across the bottom front to keep litter in place.
Some poultry owners provide ladders to the nests. However, predators can use this ladder to access the eggs. What you can do instead is to let hens fly in and out on perches that you install in the entrance. You can also buy pre-made Chicken Nest Boxes on Amazon for your convenience. Here are our recommendations.

Best Nest Box Rollaway Chicken Nest Box (Medium - 24")

The Best Nest Box Rollaway Chicken Nest Box is a must-try community box for your chickens. The product is made from galvanized metal, and it is made in America. It has nest pads that measure 1" x 1" on the wire mesh, enabling better air circulation. You can convert it to either a rear or front rollaway. Meanwhile, the bottom egg tray is mountable on either the back or the front side of the box, and it is reversible at any time. It also has an egg guard positioned unto the laying area to prevent the chicken from damaging the eggs in the tray. Moreover, you can allow the product to stand freely due to its robust construction. It includes eye rings if you wish to mount them on the wall. Unlike other boxes, this product has vinyl flaps which make the interior darker and makes the hens feel more hidden and secure. It also does not have any dividers, so the chickens will not crowd. Finally, the product is easy to assemble, and you need a wrench and a screw.

Check the Price on Amazon here.

Brower 410B Poultry 10-Hole Nest

This product is available in various sizes, which are 4-hole, 6-hole, 8-hole, and 10-hole products. The 10-hole nest has a capacity of 50 to 60 hens, and it has two tiers. This nesting box is removable and easy to assemble. Plus, the exposed edges can be folded to prevent injury to the owners. It is made from galvanized steel, and it has ventilation holes to make the circulation of air easy. The bottom is removable for easy cleaning and replacement of the litter. You need a wrench and a screwdriver to assemble the product. As to the specifications, the nest opening has a measurement of 12" x 12" x 7.25," and its overall length is 60". Meanwhile, the height at the front and in the back is 27.62".

Check the Price on Amazon here.

Miller Manufacturing 163620 Single Chicken Nesting Box

For a wall-mount chicken nesting box, you can purchase the Miller Manufacturing single box. This product is made of high-density polyethylene, and it is resistant to impact. Plastic like this product will not corrode, rust, or rot. Its roof is sloped so you can prevent roosting. You can mount it on the wall using a screw. There is also a perch on this product to enable hens to have a place to land before they enter the nest. It also includes built-in holes to have fresh air.

Check the price on Amazon here.

Precision Pet 7029288 Triple Nesting Box

If you are looking for a nesting box made of wood, you can try the product of Precision Pet. It is available in three nesting boxes, and it prevents the sharing of chicken nests. Also, it is made of plywood with an overall dimension of 35.25" x 12.5" x 12.5," and it is easy to assemble.

Check the price on Amazon here.

Rite Farm Products 6-Pack Poly Egg Nesting Box

If you are looking for a washable nesting box, you can try the Rite Farm 6-pack poly egg nesting box.

It has an oval opening on the back for a quick gathering of the eggs from the rear side of the coop. Also, this nesting box is made of high-density polyethylene. It is resistant to impact, rust-free, and corrosion-free. Unlike metal boxes, this product will not hold heat or cold, suitable for all kinds of weather. It has a hole in the rear of the base for easy cleaning too. You can mount these boxes on the wall using screws or bolts, and you can buy them at any local store. The product measures 12" x 12," and it has a space on the side, so you can also mount it vertically.

Check the price on Amazon here.


In sum, chicken nesting boxes are an essential part of the growth of your chickens. With this, you can provide a safe place for your hens so they can lay their eggs in peace and without stress. You can make the chicken nesting boxes out of inexpensive materials or even scraps in your background. Just be creative and make one with extreme care. However, if you don't want to exert effort in making one, you could buy a ready-made nesting box on the market today, such as the five products mentioned above.
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