Chicken nesting boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The basic idea is to have a dry, clean and relatively dark area where your hens can lay their eggs. Here are some of the basics for a good nesting box:
- One nesting box for every 2-4 hens.
- Size: Nest boxes should be big enough for your hen to stand in comfortably. Usually 12 x 12 x 12 inches is adequate, but building bigger is usually a good idea.
- Nesting material: Many people use either wood shavings (pine usually) or straw. We personally suggest dry wood shavings over straw.
- Often a roost bar or step is added in front of the box to give the hen a place to jump to before entering the nest box. Also a "lip" is added to the front of the nesting box to keep the bedding material and/or eggs from being pushed out.
- Sloped top: You don't want your chickens to roost (sleep) on top of their nesting boxes (that would be a big mess). We suggest angling the top of the nest box to disuade hens from being able to roost on or above the nest boxes.
- Most people like to raise their nest boxes up off the ground. Just make sure they aren't too high that the hens have a hard time accessing them and that they arne't higher than the roosts or you'll have hens sleeping inside the nest boxes.
Here is an example of "insidel" and "ouside" chicken nesting boxes (submitted by our chicken forum community).