Chicken Nest Boxes
The suggested size for chicken nest boxes is 15″ wide, 15″ high and 11 1/8″ (see picture for example). This can vary to a certain extent. My nest boxes are about 2″ smaller than this and work just fine. You can fill your boxes with straw or place some type of padding down on the bottom so the eggs won’t crack when they lay them.
Addition To (or alternative to) Straw Bedding
A picture of a couple of my Nest Boxes above – I originally put only straw in the bottom as cushioning for the hens to lay in so the eggs won’t crack once layed. The only downside of straw or any type of loose bedding is that they often scratch and kick it out of the box, meaning more clean up and (possibly) cracked eggs.
If you’ve ever had chickens, you may have experienced this before – you reach into the nest Boxes to grab the eggs and suddenly your fingers are dripping with wet, gooey egg yolk! To remedy this, I added a piece of artificial turf. It’s the “fake” grass material that you see at miniature golf courses, putting greens etc.
I was fortunate in that I found this material at a used building materials business while searching for lumber. There was just enough of it for me to cut out a few squares to line the bottom of my nest Boxes with. I stapled it into the bottom to prevent the hens from scratching it out like they often do with straw.
However, I added straw on top of that because I think it’s a softer, natural bedding that the chickens prefer over turf alone. When the turf got mud or droppings on it, it cleaned up pretty well. I definitely noticed it provided a sufficient amount of cushioning to reduce the number of broken eggs I was finding.
Above is a picture of a similar product that will cushion the eggs.
I’m sure there are other options to cushion the bottom of your Nest Boxes as well, like an old towel, blanket, clothes you no longer wear, a folded burlap sack, a double layer of cardboard box perhaps – the list goes on. I’m guessing you have ideas of your own.
If you are interested in purchasing turf, you may be able to find some at a used building materials store, Goodwill etc. You could also find some at your local lawn and garden center, or online:
Other Considerations For Nest Boxes
I started off with 8 chickens and made a nest box for each chicken. It turns out they all used the same 2 nest boxes for laying eggs! I’ve even seen 3 chickens in the same nest box at the same time – therefore, you don’t need to make too many boxes. They tend to gravitate toward the same box. If you have a big flock – obviously you’ll need to make more.
Another thing that can happen is once you get into raising chickens, you’ll realize it’s fun! Of course when this happens you’ll want to buy more of those feathered creatures. At least that’s what happened to us. We were happy with our original 8, but loved the idea of getting more, selling the eggs etc. So over the span of 10 years we gradually increased our flock size to nearly 60.
Needless to say, I had to build more Nest Boxes.
In some of the links I’ve provided for building chicken coops, there are some excellent pictures of nest boxes, diagrams, and “how-to” instructions for building nest boxes. I hope you will find them useful if you build your own nest Boxes.
If you decide you’d rather not go through the effort of making a nest box, there are many other places to buy Nest Boxes like your local farm store or online:
Thanks for visiting. Please leave a comment below. I appreciate any ideas or comments you have about building nest boxes!