So when do you need to start considering simple & easy nesting boxes options? Most hens will begin laying around 6 months old. Some will lay earlier and some later depending on the breed. Hens will share egg boxes so you do not have to have a box for every hen. A good number for comfort of the hens is one box to every four to six hens. So now that you have discovered how many and when you will likely be needing egg boxes what are your options?
Nesting Box Options
Probably the most simple nesting box option is to buy the pre-made boxes. You can get these from many different places both online and in stores. It will depend on what you want as to the price. Be sure to have the measurements of area where you have available to put boxes so you can be sure to get them to fit. These boxes usually have holes already drilled so all you need to do is line everything up and screw it together. There are manuals to help with construction. You do not have to worry with cutting boards, proper measurements, and all the things you must consider if you build your own. You can often get these boxes in sections and not just a box at a time.
Build Your Own Wooden Nesting Boxes
You can always opt to build your own wooden nesting boxes. You can design and make them ever how big or small you want. Spacing is based on your preference. Build the boxes to fit your space available so there is not any wasted area. Some people make one big box with dividers for the hens, some use one large box. You can design these to be roll away, where your eggs will not lay with the hen to get dirty or hatched.
Options are endless when you decide to build your own nesting boxes. This option will require more time and effort on your part. Materials will not be cut or any holes drilled. You will need to be handy with a measuring tape. Consider if you have any building skills before undertaking this task. Though fairly simple if you mess it up, you will pay more than the pre-made options.
Nesting Boxes from Plastic Buckets
Another easy way to make nesting boxes is to use plastic buckets. This can be a very cheap option is you have 5-gallon buckets already handy on your farm. Even if you purchase the buckets it can still be a cheap and effective option for your nesting boxes. This method will require very little need to measure things and there is little nailing to be done. If you have a saw and drill this can be quick and easy. Place these boxes in your coop either by braces so they can’t roll or hang them with a few screws and a drill.
Our Nesting Boxes
When our hens were ready for nesting boxes we opted to use option 3. The only measuring you need to do is how high the opening for your box is going to need to be. We opted to cut our boxes to where we could use half a lid for the seal to hold the shavings, eggs, and hen inside. Next, mark with a sharpie where you will need to saw so everything is even and will seal up as needed. Then cut along where you have marked and cut your lid in half. One lid will seal two boxes since you only need one half per box. Finally, snap on your lid and fill the boxes with shavings.
Final Tips for Nesting Boxes
When filling your nesting boxes use enough shavings the hens can rest comfortably but not so full that they hide the eggs from you or kick off the lid digging. It is a good idea to rake shavings around as you gather eggs despite the amount of shavings. They can manage to hide eggs in the smallest amount of shavings. My rule of thumb for our boxes is a few good handfuls of shavings.
Change shavings based on how quickly the boxes get dirty or you see your eggs are unclean. These boxes are a breeze to clean! Open your lid, reach in and rake all the shavings out into the coop floor or a wheelbarrow. Once the box is empty, snap your lid back on. Make sure you hear the click to ensure that the lid is on well. Last throw in your new clean shavings. I rake them around to get them even and the box completely filled.
Nesting boxes can be the height of your choice. Some people chose a lower height while others choose higher. I like mine to be high enough that they are easy to see in and reach inside. This is easy on the back and the mind. You are able to evaluate what might be inside the box before you reach inside. In areas where chicken snakes love to steal hen eggs this is a big relief. I do not have to get my face or body close to the boxes to know what is inside. A snake could hide inside but in few shavings you should be able to see the threat.
Simple & East Nesting Boxes in Closing
Nesting boxes do not have to be complicated. They also do not have to be expensive. The choice you choose will vary based on your needs. Buying pre-made boxes can be fast and easy. Building your own boxes gives you more freedom to personalize to your needs and wants but will require more effort. If you have no desire to hatch chicks you can also consider roll away boxes.
The three options I listed are also not the only options to choose from. There are plastic or metal nesting boxes you can buy or make also. People sometimes use milk crates for nesting boxes. Google hen nesting boxes and you will see many of the available pre-made options. Check out YouTube videos for ideas on how to build your own. What you want from a nesting box is entirely up to you!
Do you have any experience with nesting boxes? Share with me what option is working best for you and why.
Connect with me
If you enjoy the content here at Saving-Sanity please follow the blog. You can also find more farm photos, videos, tips and tricks at Farmtastic-Friday with Rhonda Meadows. You can always contact me anytime here on the blog.