Chances are if you have chickens, your goal is to have fresh eggs. And you can’t have fresh eggs without a suitable nesting box. When you design your coop, there are so many options that it can get confusing. Today we are going to make your search a little easier. We are going to show you our best 15 nesting box ideas for chickens.
What To Look For?
You might be wondering what our criteria are for the best 15 nesting box ideas for chickens. Before we talk about our designs, we are going to tell you what we look for in a nesting box.
The first thing chickens look for is a little peace and quiet. A nesting box that provides dimmer light and a sense of privacy is best. These conditions help relax a hen to lay her eggs.
The perfect nesting box will also be easily accessible. Your chicken should have the ability to get in and out quickly. If it is hard to get inside the box, you might find your eggs lying on the ground.
Your chickens will choose a place that they think their eggs will be safe. So to encourage them to lay in their nesting box, you should make it safe for your chicken and the eggs. Tall sides on three sides will help your hens feel secure. And they need a lip on the front that is just tall enough to keep the eggs in the box. And elevating the boxes at least 18 inches off the ground provide the perfect safety conditions for hens.
You don’t want nesting boxes that are too large or too small. The best chicken nesting box size is 12×12 inches. But if you have larger birds, you will need a box that is 16x14x14 inches. There should be enough room for your hen to get in and turn around without being crowded.
Your nesting box should also allow for the use of nesting materials. Most people add straw or wood shavings into the box. And since you are choosing a nesting box with a lip, you don’t have to worry about materials falling out.
Are you wondering how many nesting boxes per chicken is ideal? For smaller flocks having one box per every 3-4 chickens is plenty. Having just one nesting box per chicken will encourage them to sleep in the boxes. Since chickens tend to poop as they sleep, it gets the nesting boxes unnecessarily dirty. And you don’t want your hens laying eggs in messy nests.
Easy And Quick To Clean
And finally, your box should be easy to clean. Most nesting boxes are made from wood, metal, or plastic. All of these materials are easily cleaned and disinfected in case of illnesses. Having easy access will speed up the cleaning process and makes the eggs readily available.
15 Best Nesting Box Ideas For Chickens
Now that you know our standards, you can see why we have chosen these boxes. The boxes on this list pass all of these expectations, and then some.
1. Milk Crates
If you are making your coop from recycled materials, you will love these. Many chicken keepers use old milk crates as nesting boxes with hand-made shelves. To do this, all you need to do is build a frame long enough for your milk crates 18 inches off the ground. Then attach a 2×4 along the front to make a lip on the shelf. Ta-da! You have the best nesting box for chickens. And all for a low cost.
2. Cat Litter Boxes
Another great DIY is to repurpose old cat litter containers. The plastic Tidy Cats containers make fantastic nesting boxes with a few modifications. You can build a shelf just like the ones used for milk crates. Then tilt the tub on its side and cut the flap of the tub off, leaving the small piece of lid left. These homemade nests are easy to clean and virtually free to make.
3. Storage Totes
There are many types of storage totes that make great nesting boxes.
- You can modify one side to have an easy entry point by cutting it lower or adding a hole.
- Or you can place these totes on a shelf like above or in a cubicle style shelf.
- Or you can find these storage bins almost everywhere for cheap. And they are easy to clean, which you will appreciate later.
4. Buckets (5-Gallon)
If you have 5-gallon buckets lying around, they can be transformed into a nesting box. Laying the buckets on the side makes for easy entry. If you have lids for them, you can cut them to have a low lip. But if you don’t have tops, don’t worry. You can use a shelf with a 2×4 to keep your eggs from rolling out. And don’t forget to keep the buckets level. You can do this by keeping the nesting box in a cubby style shelf.
5. Wood Crates
Wooden crates are found everywhere or made from 2x4s. They are low enough for chickens to enter and exit without problems. If you keep the boxes on a solid shelf or cubby, they will be elevated off the floor. Some chicken owners also like to place plastic placemats in the bottom of the crates to keep the eggs from falling in the cracks. Plastic mats also make cleaning easier and preserve the life of your wood.
6. Little Giant Single Plastic Nesting Box
Some people don’t want a DIY nesting box and prefer to buy some. We love the Little Giant Single Plastic Nesting Box because it is ideal in every way. They are easy to install, and your hens will love them. They are roomy, safe, and quiet, making the perfect conditions to lay some eggs. We also enjoy that these boxes are easily cleaned and durable against all elements.
7. Litter Boxes
Cat litter boxes are cheap and convenient for everyone. You can buy cheap tall sided boxes that make excellent nesting boxes. And these boxes are so versatile. You can put them in cubbies for larger flocks or on a shelf. Even the smallest litter box is roomy enough for a hen.
8. Toy Box Cubbies
Were you looking for wood nesting boxes for chickens? A toy box like the Prepac Monterey Stacked 6-Bin Storage Cubby makes for a sleek and stylish nesting box for cheap. Each cubby is the precise space needed for even the largest chickens. And since there is a lip on each cubby, your eggs will stay in. While your chickens might not prefer the lower cubbies, you can remedy this by attaching simple furniture legs.
9. Stackable Baskets
Many people use stackable baskets in their garage or craft shops. But these baskets are perfectly designed to make the best nesting box for chickens. Their high sides and low entry front makes them ideal for chickens. You can stack these or place them on sliding garage shelves for easy egg collecting and cleaning.
10. DIY Plywood Boxes
If you are wondering how to build a nesting box for chickens, YouTube is your place to go. There are simple boxes that anyone can make from cheap plywood all over. These boxes also have the benefit of being customizable to your needs. Need a smaller version? You can resize the boxes to whatever you need. You can even make the outside of the boxes cute by adding paint or wallpaper.
There are beautiful nesting boxes made from repurposed dressers and armoires all over Pinterest. You can do this by either using the drawers attached to the side of your coop. Or you can put dividers into the furniture to make the shell a nesting box. Going this route can add some character to your coop and even make it feel more like a 5-star chicken hotel.
12. Wine Crates
Wine crates usually have unique and vintage labels on the outside. These rustic crates can make the perfect nesting box that can be attached right to the side of your coop. Wine crates are roomy and durable. If your wine crates don’t have a solid bottom, you can add a plastic placemat to keep your eggs from falling out. You can even put these crates on a shelf for easy removal.
13. Large Bowls
An abnormal nesting box is actually a nesting bowl. You can purchase large bowls to place inside cubbies or on shelves. Your chickens can quickly get in and out of large mixing bowls. And you can buy them for less than $2. These bowls can hold your eggs and bedding without fear of dropping. And they are easily cleaned.
14. Metal Nesting Boxes
Metal is an excellent choice because it is durable and easy to sanitize. The Brower 406B 6-Hole Poultry Nest has three sizes for any flock size. And your hens will love how easily they can get in and out. You will love that you don’t have to be an expert welder to design the perfect nesting box.
15. Laundry Baskets
Small laundry baskets are last on our list of best 15 nesting box ideas for chickens. Plastic laundry baskets have a solid bottom and a small enough weave to be used for eggs. And most baskets can be modified so that they have a low entry. Laundry baskets are an excellent option because they are cheap and versatile to any coop that you have.
What Will You Choose?
There are so many options with these 15 nesting box ideas for chickens. Depending on your likes and dislikes, many of these containers can be modified and spruced up. Or you can leave it in its DIY glory and be proud of your resourcefulness. Whatever route you take, your chickens will love their new nesting boxes.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!