How to Find the Right Chicken Nesting Boxes For Your Flock
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Do your ladies require some privacy?
Chicken nesting boxes help encourage your hens to lay eggs in a clean location.
They are a great way to offer both privacy and peace for the chicken, and are a popular addition on any chicken coop.
A good nesting box ensures that the eggs are in a clean environment. This means that you won't have to worry about them laying their eggs all over the pen or worse, in chicken poop.
What Makes A Good Chicken Nesting Box?
A good nesting box will have room for the hen to sit comfortably while she lays her eggs.
It should be a decent size that allows for room to sit comfortably but not too large. If it is too big, the hens wont like it becuase there is no feeling of security or privacy for her
Good nesting boxes are also made of durable and easy to clean material. Often several hens will use the same nesting box, so they will get used a lot and can get quite dirty
There isn't necessarily one material (like plastic or wood) that is better than others for your boxes. You can re-purpose materials or you can buy them ready or you can create your own out of reclaimed wood, plastic materials or even milk crates.
Some easy to make alternatives use buckets or baskets to create nesting boxes
NOTE - Scroll down for more information on building your own nesting box
The Most Popular Nesting Boxes
|Roll Out Nesting Box With Curtains and Removable Nesting Pad for Chickens||Olba||N/A||$$$$$||N/A|
|Rugged Ranch Products XLDUPLEX Nesting Box for Chicken||Rugged Ranch||5||$$$$||Plywood|
|HARRIS FARMS 1254 2-Hole Nesting Box||HARRIS FARMS||4.8||$$$$||Rust Resistant Galvanized Steel|
|Dragon Poultry Rollaway Nest Box Insert Chicken Coop Poultry Hen House Roll A.||Dragon Poultry||N/A||$$$||Plastic|
|Miller Manufacturing 163620 Single Chicken Nesting Box for Birds||Miller||4.7||$$$||High Density Polyethylene|
How Many Chicken Nesting Boxes Do You Need?
Most experts on chickens suggest one nest per four hens. Still other experts will stretch it out to five hens per nesting box.
Basically, it will depend upon how many chickens you have and how much room you have to work with.
If your chickens get along well and will allow one chicken nesting box per five chickens you can work from there.
Otherwise, stick to one nesting box per three or four hens. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect number of nesting boxes for your ladies.
Chickens want to be able to sit comfortably in the nesting box with just enough room to turn around.
If they have too much room they won't use it and if there isn't enough room they won't use it. The standard size is 12x12x12 inches (30cm).
Getting More Eggs with Your Nesting Box
Chickens like being treated well. If you keep this in mind your chickens will treat you well
It's best to use soft bedding in your nesting box that will allow the chicken to create a nest in it for laying the egg
You don't want to use something like shredded paper that absorbs water as it will stick to the bloom on the egg when it is first laid.
This will then require the egg to be washed which will remove the bloom. (The bloom is a clear coating that protects the egg from bacteria.)
A good way to get more eggs is to give your chickens a bit of privacy in the nesting box. You can do this by creating a curtain or a doorway that allows the chicken to enter the nesting box while protecting her privacy.
Chickens much prefer privacy when laying eggs. It's simple to create and will likely mean you get more eggs
What Are The Average Prices of Chicken Nesting Boxes?
The price is going to be dependent upon whether you buy your nesting boxes ready made or create them yourself from materials that you already have on hand.
On the cheaper side, with a bit of creativity and some time you can build your own nesting box for very little money (sometimes even free).
You can pick up a nesting box for less than $20
On the other end of the scale, the higher quality nesting boxes retail for under $100
What Is The Difference between a Pricey Nesting Box and a Cheap One?
Nesting boxes can be very basic and cheap or they can be relatively elaborate and expensive
It will be dependent upon your budget, what you decide to make your nesting boxes from and if you're re purposing other items for your nesting boxes.
The best nesting boxes are those that can easily be cleaned and sanitized. Metals, plastics and the like are much easier to clean than wood or other materials (although wood and other materials can also be cleaned, it's just more of a challenge).
The Most Recommended Ways to Make Your Own Nesting Box
Here are some great ideas for Chicken Nesting Boxes:
- Use a cat litter box with a cover.
- Old cracked ceramic crocks on their side may work well if they are large enough.
- Wine or whiskey barrels.
- A 55 gallon drum that is cut into half and put up on legs will work well and can be divided into a few nesting boxes.
- Shallow trash cans of metal or plastic.
- Milk crates.
- Soda crates.
- Any wooden crates (keep in mind these are more difficult to clean).
- Medium sized pet crates.
- Large plastic salad bowls.
- Check out the dollar store and see what plastic items they have (remember, you can lay them on their sides).
- Large plastic planters on their side.
Always remember, happy chickens will lay more eggs than chickens that aren't happy. When chickens are happy they will lay eggs in their proper places (nesting boxes) and you won't have to play hide and seek with them for the eggs.
Keep the bedding clean and comfortable and the chickens should do the rest of the work for you by providing you with plenty of eggs.
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