Where do nesting boxes need to be and what to put in them?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Suz13, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Suz13

    Suz13 Just Hatched

    Aug 6, 2016

    Where do nesting boxes need to be placed in the coop to entice chickens to lay in them? Do they have to be a certain height off the ground? While I wait for my hens to mature to egg laying age what bedding should I keep in the nesting boxes? Currently our nesting boxes are only a few inches off the ground which I thought was okay and the chickens are emptying them of all the bedding I put in them. I also have a few fake eggs in some of them. We have 15 chickens - 12 are hens.

  2. Fletch83

    Fletch83 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2013
    Mine dig in their coop bedding too [​IMG] They are just messy and like to dig. I use shavings and chopped straw.

    My nesting boxes are built into the inside of the coop, so they are the same "height" as the coop floor, just sectioned off. The fake eggs should "train" them to lay in the nesting boxes.
  3. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    A few inches off the ground is fine. I have some about 6" up and another set over the top of them they don't seem to favor one or the other. I suggest having a 3-4" lip on the front of the box. That may keep some of the bedding in. I use hay in the nesting boxes because it seems to stay in place better than shavings. They threw the savings everywhere! I try to place mine in the back of the coop so there isn't a lot of traffic nearby when they are laying. A dark corner is supposed to be the best. Boxes attached to the outside of the coop even better than best.
  4. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I have the floor of the nest 12 inches off the floor, a perch four inches in front. I have 2 boxes for 5 hens, the minimum for my hens. 4, many times 5 hens lay before 10am. Some are in there 30 minutes or more. My boxes are covered. 12.5" deep x 11.75" wide x 13" high, with a 3" ledge. I would put a 4" ledge next time, so I could pack in more straw.
    Straw is less prone to scratching out. (No chopped straw). I also left out the boxes till they start to squat. I also put a ceramic egg in each.GC
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  5. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Here is my setup:
    Coop is about 24" off the ground, bottom is secure, provided shade.
    Nest boxes "hang" off the back with a fuly hunged lid.
    Here is a look inside. All my hens lay in the box in the far corner. There is a lip to keep the straw in the boxes, which works with mature layers, not so much with pullets that dont have laying instinct yet. My pullets make a mess and bury the eggs. Roost bar above.


    Looking the other way towards the door and ramp into the run.

    Little Hen & pullets looking at me looking at them:
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How old are your pullets (not 'hens' until one year of age)?
    You can keep the nests covered until they are close to laying....about 16-18 weeks.

    They can make a mess of the nests as they 'practice' to get ready to lay...they'll stop doing that so much after they've been laying awhile.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by