Best Chicken Nesting Boxes & How To Use Them (Review Guide)

Chances are if you have chickens, one of your primary goals with your backyard flock is to get as many eggs as you can from your birds.

While it’s important to do this in healthy, reasonable ways, there are plenty of techniques you can use to improve your egg production and maximize the enjoyment you get out of working with your chickens.

One of the easiest ways to encourage your chickens to lay on a consistent and regular basis is to invest in good nesting boxes. These can easily be fashioned out of materials you have lying around the house, but buying a good chicken nesting box is a great alternative. It can save you some time, and, in many cases, some money, too.

Here’s what you need to know about the best chicken nesting boxes – and how to use them.

What to Look for in a Chicken Nesting Box

Here are some factors you should keep in mind when choosing a chicken nesting box:

Material

The best chicken nesting boxes will generally be made out of one of three types of materials: metal, plastic, or wood. When you’re selecting the right material, it’s important that you consider how easily it can be cleaned as well as how durable it will be.

While many people choose to make their nesting boxes out of wood, the major disadvantage to this kind of material is that it can break down very quickly. This is especially true if you clean your wood nesting boxes on a regular basis. Cleaning, especially with harsh chemicals or detergents, will cause wood to break down more quickly.

Wood also cannot be sterilized as well as other types of materials, meaning it can harbor dangerous bacteria that can harm your health as well as the health of your chickens. However, the major draw of using wood as a chicken nesting box material is that it is highly affordable.

Metal is another option. These have rapidly grown in popularity over the last few decades. Not only are they easy to clean and sterilize, but they’re also durable. It’s difficult even for an incredibly tenacious hen to damage the interior or exterior walls of a metal nesting box with its scratching and pecking.

However, metal offers a distinct disadvantage in that it is not comfortable for your hens to sit on. This is especially true during particularly cold or warm months of the year. Metal heats up and freezes up quicker than other materials, meaning your hens might be reluctant to lay at certain times of the year.

The final option is plastic. Plastic is beneficial in that it is less expensive than metal, yet more durable than wood. It can also be cleaned with ease, since plastic items generally don’t harbor as much bacteria. It won’t heat up during the summer or be too cold in the winter, either. However, keep in mind that plastic can wear down after some time when it is allowed to sit in direct sunlight.

Size

Size is an important consideration to make when you’re shopping for a chicken nesting box. Your birds need plenty of room to comfortably lay their eggs. Ideally, a box that measures 16”x14”x14” will be perfect for most breeds of chickens.

That being said, remember that larger hens will need more room. Some individual chickens also become hesitant when entering small spaces. Others don’t like nesting boxes that are so large they feel exposed and unsafe.

Quantity

Don’t forget that the number of chickens you have will also influence the number of nesting boxes you need. There are various opinions on this, but most people agree that you should have one box for every four chickens or so. The more nesting boxes the better, but you don’t need to go overboard. Often, chickens will crowd each other out of the same nesting box while ignoring the perfectly good one next door!


Best Chicken Nesting Boxes: Out Favorite Picks

Here are a few of our favorite chicken nesting boxes available at the moment:

Miller Wall Mount Nesting Boxes with Perch

Sale
Little Giant Single Plastic Nesting Box Chicken Nest Box with Perch (Item No. 163620)
  • QUALITY MATERIALS - This nesting box is made of high density, impact-resistant...
  • EASY-TO-CLEAN - This smooth plastic surface is easy to keep clean and does not...
  • INCLUDES PERCH - This plastic nesting unit features an entrance perch that gives...

If you really want the best bang for your buck, you should consider these large wall mount nesting boxes for your chickens. They are made out of high-density polyethylene that is impact-resistant, offering some of the best durability and longevity. It’s also incredibly easy to clean.

The Miller model can easily be affixed to your wall with its easy to use sliding screw holes. Easy to install and maintain, it can be up and ready to go in just a few minutes. It not only has an angled roof that makes errant roosting on it more difficult, but it also comes with a perch so your hens have a place to land before they hop into the nesting boxes.

What We Liked:

  • Designed and built in the United States
  • Large enough to fit any breed of chickens
  • Sold as individual units so they can be organized however you want

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Plastic can be somewhat slippery for hens at first (adding more bedding can help)

Roll-Out Nesting Box for Chickens by Homestead Essentials

Homestead Essentials Roll Out Nesting Box for Chickens - 3 Compartments
  • QUICK ASSEMBLY: All you need is a flat-head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench...
  • NO PERCH ROOF: The slanted roof design prevents the hens from roosting on top of...
  • KEEP YOUR EGGS SAFE: The laying trays slant forward slightly allowing the eggs...

The Homestead Essentials Roll-Out Nesting Box is a great option for hens who aren’t quite sure where they’re supposed to be laying their eggs. When you buy this unit, you’ll receive three separate units that are made out of metal. Not only will this provide plenty of space for all of your chickens, but it will also be super easy to clean.

This roll-out nesting box is also incredibly durable. Although it does not ship already fully assembled, doing so is quite easy. It has simple, clear instructions and a sturdy frame that’s easy to hang on any surface.

Like the Miller nesting box, this one also has an angled roof to prevent unwanted perching. The laying tray can be moved, and even the ventilated box has an innovative design that keeps your eggs clean – the egg cover assists in this.

Collecting eggs from your Homestead Essentials Nesting Box is simple. All of your eggs will roll right out to the collection area. You won’t have to add any kind of nesting material if you don’t want to since it’s comfortable for your hens to use regardless.

What We Liked:

  • Measures 16x12x10.5 inches, making it comfortable for most hens
  • Easy to use and reliable
  • Collection is easy and prevents broken eggs

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Metal heats up quickly in the summer heat

FarmTek Chick-Inn Laying Nest

The Chick-Inn Laying Nest is one of the best if you’re hoping to make the most of the space you have in your coop – without spending a ton of money. It can lead to better egg production with its unique, innovative design. Not only that, but it has high back and front panels to prevent your chickens from removing the litter from the nests. You can easily clean up with a single scoop of the shovel.

This nest comes with removable plastic inserts that are remarkably easy to take care of. You won’t have to worry about not having enough time on your hands – cleaning will take a matter of minutes. The perches, too, have an upward hinge so the hens won’t feel tempted to sit there.

With six neat holes and a compact design, this nesting box is perfect for smaller coops. It’s sturdy and can be mounted with screws to the walls. It even comes with roost bars!

What We Liked:

  • Plastic bottoms allow for easy cleaning
  • Metal build is durable and long-lasting
  • Can be purchased with additional nest pads to improve cleanliness

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Does not come pre-assembled

Rite Farm Products Poly Egg Nesting Box

Sale
6 PACK RITE FARM PRODUCTS WASHABLE POLY EGG NESTING BOX CHICKEN LAYING COOP NEST
  • 6 washable, heavy duty nesting boxes
  • Open design made to wall mount
  • Cute egg shaped rear opening

This is one of the most sanitary chicken nesting boxes you will find. When you purchase, you’ll get a bulk value buy of these nesting boxes, built out of washable polyethylene. With a unique design with an egg-shaped back opening, it makes it easy for your hens to lay their eggs and even easier for you to collect them.

Made out of plastic, this nesting box stays cool and clean. It won’t get too cold in the winter or overheated in the summer. It’s very affordable and comes with a unique ventilated design. It’s 12”x12”x10”, giving even your large chickens plenty of room in the nesting boxes.

This unit can be used as a stand-alone unit or mounted on the wall. It comes with mounting patterns that can be secured with separate hardware. Plus, it has a space-saving design that makes it possible for you to mount additional boxes on top or off to the side.

What We Liked:

  • Has an open, ventilated design
  • Compact unit
  • Easy to clean and maintain


What We Didn’t Like:

  • Open design can be too exposed for some hens who prefer the dark

RentACoop Roll Out Nesting Box

Roll Out Nesting Box with Curtains and Removable Nesting Pad for Chickens
  • 🐓 Sloped Top Prevents Roosting
  • 🐓 Curtains Prevent Egg Eating and Give Privacy from other in Chicken Coop
  • 🐓 Nesting Area Has an Adjustable Slope as Some Eggs Roll Easier Than Others

Another roll-out nesting box for you to consider on the list is this option by RentACoop. It offers a comfortable feel for your chickens, built on an incline so that your chickens automatically roll to the separate compartment after being laid.

It’s one of the best chicken nesting boxes if you are dealing with hens that like to eat their own eggs immediately after laying them. Plus, it eliminates the likelihood of accidental egg breakage or dirty eggs inside the nesting boxes.

It’s easy to clean, too. This chicken nesting box comes with removable nesting pads and is built out of efficient polyethylene. It is practically impossible for it to harbor dangerous bacteria and is designed to be mounted less than two feet off the ground.

What We Liked:

  • Perfect dimensions for large hens to comfortably lay their eggs
  • Adjustable slope prevents egg breakage
  • Easy to clean and incredibly private for shy hens

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Egg collection area can become dirty over time and requires additional cleaning

Best Nest Box Roll Out Community Nest Box

Roll Out Community Nest Box with Reversible Egg Tray (Small - 17")
  • Small 17" size - Community style nest box with rollaway egg tray for clean,...
  • Easy to assemble and made of galvanized steel
  • Privacy curtain darken the nest box and hinged roost bar can be used as an...

A final chicken nesting box for you to consider is this option by Best Nest Box. This option is a community-style box, designed with a tilted floor that allows the eggs to roll away from your hens immediately after they are laid. As with the last option, this one reduces the likelihood of hens eating their own eggs, and it also keeps your eggs nice and clean.

After they are laid, the eggs can be collected in the separate covered tray. This tray is completely reversible so you’ll be able to get your eggs out even if there are still hens inside the nesting boxes. This can eliminate stress to the hens and also reduce the likelihood of you getting your hand pecked!

This chicken nesting box is made out of galvanized steel. It offers durable and functional performance, as it won’t rust, and it can handle all kinds of humid or undesirable weather. It’s easy to maintain and comes with a nest pad that can be removed for quick cleaning.

Finally, this nesting box is easy to assemble. It takes most people less than an hour, as it comes with its own eye rings to attach it to a wall.

What We Liked:

  • Boxes are fully reversible so you can use rear or front egg trays
  • Nest pad looks like grass but is actually made of polyethylene
  • Prevents egg breakage with its angled design


What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can be a bit cost-prohibitive

Where Should I Put My Nesting Boxes?

You can put your chicken nesting boxes anywhere you want in the coop, but the best place will be a location that is as least traveled as possible. This will spare your hens from any unnecessary hassles or disturbances while they are trying to lay their eggs.

The nesting boxes should be elevated at least four or five inches off the ground. It can be higher than this, too, but try not to go any higher than two feet.

If your nesting boxes are elevated more than two feet off the ground, some chickens will be unable to reach them. It should not be higher than or at the same level as the roosting bars because this can confuse your chickens about where they should be sleeping.

Finally, it should not be positioned directly beneath the roost bars, as it will get covered in poop.


How to Use a Chicken Nesting Box

The first step in using a chicken nesting box, after installing it, is to encourage your chickens to use it. The easiest way to do this is to start when they are young. As soon as your hens are at the age where they might begin to lay, it’s time to get your nesting box in place. Wait too long, and your chickens will be encouraged to lay their eggs elsewhere.

Make sure you have enough nesting boxes available so that your hens don’t get overcrowded – one box for every four hens is fine. Install the boxes in a dark corner of the coop, ideally one that is a few inches off the floor.

Your chickens should begin using the boxes automatically, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, they need a bit of extra encouragement to do so. If your chickens haven’t started to lay yet – or if you find that they are laying in odd places besides where you actually want them to – you can put a golf ball or a fake wooden egg inside the box. This will trick your chickens into laying in the proper spot.

Don’t forget that you will need to fill your nesting boxes with ample amounts of clean, fresh bedding, too. This bedding needs to be replaced on a regular basis (usually once a week). There are all kinds of nesting box bedding materials you can use, but some of the most popular are sawdust, straw, and pine shavings, most of which can be purchased at a low cost. Some people also use dry leaves, pine needles, or store-bought nesting pads.

Collect eggs regularly, because boxes that are overly full might not appeal to your chickens as good spots to lay their eggs. This will also ensure that there are always empty spots for your hens to lay and reduces the likelihood that your eggs will become broken.

If your chickens begin pooping inside the nest boxes, that likely means that your birds have started to sleep in them at night. More often than not, this happens with young pullets who are unaccustomed to sleeping on roosts. You need to make sure your roosts are just as high-quality as your nesting boxes in order to prevent this behavior from occurring.

When poop in the nesting boxes becomes a problem for you, make a point of checking your coop every night. You’re likely going out there to shut your chickens in at night anyway, so when you do this, double-check that there aren’t any hens in the nesting boxes. If there are, pull them out and genty position them on the roost.


Is a Store-Bought Chicken Nesting Box Worth It?

Without a doubt, purchasing a store-bought chicken nesting box is worth the investment. Unless you have the perfect materials already lying around your house – which is unlikely – you’ll have to go out and buy the materials anyway. Plus, you’ll have several hours spent in constructing your new boxes.

That being said, you can easily fashion your own nesting boxes out of materials you have lying around the home. There are plans available online that you can follow, and it won’t take you long to build them. In addition to homemade nesting boxes made out of plywood, other people have made nesting boxes out of materials like:

  • Plastic totes
  • Milk crates
  • Five-gallon buckets
  • Dog kennels
  • Old wine barrels
  • Plastic bowls

Get creative! There are plenty of unique options out there.

But if you don’t want to spend the time to build your own chicken nesting boxes, don’t worry. There are plenty of inexpensive chicken nesting boxes that come pre-built and ready to use – with no hassle required. Your chickens will love their new space either way!

Last update on 2020-08-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API