do chickens make their own nests?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ucheeco, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. ucheeco

    ucheeco In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2007
    im a new chicken guy, and this may seem like a "i should no this quesion" but do chickens make thier own nests?
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    ucheeco, when building a coop you need to provide 1 nest for every 4 hens. They should be at least 12"X12" and larger depends on your breed of hens. I have some at ground level and some 18" off the floor. Some hens use different nests from day to day all depends on where they want to lay that day.

    Please read as much as as you can, cause it solves most of problems, by doing things right to begin with. Good Luck.

  3. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    you provide the nestboxes for then to lay their eggs put shavings in the nest to make it the eggs wont get can build the nest 16in high 16in wide by 2ft put it 2ft off the make a ladder so they can get to can also put a rail in front of nestbox for hens to stand on.
  4. Rooster01

    Rooster01 Songster

    Feb 25, 2007
    Southern WV
    Some will if they have what they need.(grass, twigs, hay) Its best to provide a nest for them and keep something like shavings in it. I use old Fruit crates. Which are about 12x12x12.
  5. ucheeco

    ucheeco In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2007
    thank u everyone. i guess i need to read a realllllll lot before i get ym chickens!

  6. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    You do need to give them a nesting box, but also be sure to put shavings , hay, or other good stuff in there for them to actually nest in, because that is a part of the whole laying process. Some hens seem to need to spend an inordinate amount of time in there arranging things perfectly before they'll lay an egg. It's kind of cute!
  7. bravevline

    bravevline Songster

    Apr 30, 2013
    my grandfather built boxes out of small old bookshelf. before that, they laid their eggs in little holes they dug!
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Chickens will make their own nests, but it might be where the eggs get dirty, where it is hard for you to get to them, where predators can get the eggs or even them, or maybe even where you cannot find them. It’s best to make your own nests and try to coax the chickens to lay in them. It’s easier on you and helps you manage it to get clean eggs if they lay in your nests, not ones they make.

    There are many threads on here that show what different people do for nests. Here are a couple of those threads but there are many more like these.

    Nesting Boxes

    Opa’s Rollaway Nest Box

    About the only thing that limits what you can use for a nest is your imagination. People build all sorts of contraptions and configurations or use things they have handy like buckets, crates, furniture, or even a kitchen sink. The chickens don’t really care that much but some people do.

    For regular sized chickens what you are looking for is something at least 12” x 12”. If you put a top on it, make that at least 12” high too. Chickens actually stand up when they lay, so they need some room to stand. Personally I like them bigger because sometimes two or even three chickens will share the nest and lay at the same time. I think a broody has an easier time hatching chicks too if she has a little extra room.

    All sides need to be high enough so that the hen won’t scratch out the bedding or even the eggs another already laid when she is rearranging the bedding to lay her egg. That helps keep baby chicks from falling out too. I find a lip at least 5” high and preferably a little higher keeps bedding, eggs, and chicks in the nest.

    I have had chickens use a nest that had an opening on the front that was only 6” high (that came from having to raise the lip to keep things in), but I’d suggest shooting for a minimum of 8” high.

    If you have 20 hens or less, that 1 nest for every 4 hens works out pretty well. If you have more hens you can cut back to 1 nest for every 5 hens if you want to. You’ll find that most of them lay in the same nests anyway, but not having those extra nests seems to lead to problems.

    I recommend putting a fake egg in each nest you want them to lay in. I use a golf ball but ceramic eggs, wooden eggs, even plastic Easter eggs or ping pong balls can work. Hens like to lay where other hens are laying. Part of it is that hens like to lay in a safe place and it another hen is laying here it must be a safe place. Part of it is that if another hen goes broody she’ll hatch my chick. Some people remove the fake eggs after the hens have learned to lay in the nests but I leave mine in permanently.

    Like you aid, you do need to do a lot of reading and studying to avoid some of the mistakes I and others on here have made. You can just look for posts of interest, do searches on specific topics, or go to the Learning Center up at the top of this page. There is a whole lot of information in the Learning Center.

    Good luck!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: