Nesting box help


In the Brooder
May 30, 2020
I’m new to all of this so please excuse me if this is a stupid question. I read up on nesting boxes and thought I had a good plan, but now I’m not sure. We set up milk crates on their side, built on a platform about 3’ off the ground with ladders, and a 3” lip in front of the crates. I put a piece of wood on the bottom and filled with shredded straw. My hens just kick all the straw out no matter how many times I refill them. They lay eggs wherever they happen to be in the coop, usually on the ground. They have a roost they seem to like, as they hop right up at sunset and seem very content. What am I doing wrong? Is it that I used shredded straw and not regular straw? Any help is appreciated.


11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
Are the crates high enough that the hens can stand up? Enough head room in a nest is required in order for a hen to stand up as she is laying her egg. She lets gravity help her. If she cannot stand up in a nest, she will search for a more suitable nest where she is able to stand as the egg is about to come out.


6 Years
May 22, 2015
North of Phoenix
Some additional thoughts... Is the wood bottom fastened down so it doesn't rock, and feels "solid" when the hen moves around and rearranges the bedding? Are these the crates that have an open design, or do they have more solid sides for privacy? Also 3 ft sounds pretty high for the bottom of a nest box, mine are about 16 inches off the ground, tall enough to walk under but the top of the boxes is lower than the lowest roost bar. As for the bedding, I've used straw, corn cob horse pellet bedding, and shavings, in combination. I can't say any of my birds have been picky. Have they been laying long? I've had newer layers lay an egg out and about the yard.


In the Brooder
May 30, 2020
Here are a few pics of our set up. I’ve gathered from your advice that I need to lower the nesting boxes,,,,easy. I probably need to build them taller and solid (private) boxes. And possibly a higher lip to keep the bedding in when they scratch around to make their nests?
The first and 3rd pic is how I set them up every morning after we take out the roost (saw horses) and clean their house. The 2nd pic is how we found their house this morning just before we cleaned up and fed them morning fruits :)
Notice the 2 eggs just laid anywhere. But Lucy seems to like the box. Several of them do get in them throughout the day, so I must be close. I’ve also noticed they don’t really use the ladder, they just hop up & down. Can we do without that especially when we lower the boxes?


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