Chicken Keeping

Information and help for keeping Hens in your Garden


Chicken Nest Boxes

Dry, Quiet, Comfortable - somewhere to lay their eggs for you

A Nest Box for your Hens is a fairly essential part of your Chicken Coop, the thing to remember is that it's not necessary to have a Mansion Suite, just somewhere cosy, more private and relatively quiet

The reason that I haven't really specified anything before is that chickens appear to be similar to Cats !
They will have their favourite places for a few weeks, then move on.
Also, no matter how well you build their nest box - it ain't necessarily where they're going to lay eggs.

Mind you, I'm speaking in terms of having two chicken sheds, a pen of about 50 feet square and occasionally letting them out in the garden.

The basic 'favourite' type of box is the one on the side of the shed in picture top right. This has two holes from the main shed in it, lots of wood shavings, bits of paper etc. in it.

You can see two chickens in it (second picture down - one is a 'just out' battery hen by the way).
I spent a long time building that and in the first six months, they laid about 2 eggs in there, only going in when I opened the outside lid to look for eggs.

There is a possibility they haven't laid in there because it's like their old battery cage home - just a theory.

However, this can just as easily work for your hens and they'll stick to it.

By the way - make sure the lid is either locked or so heavy that a fox can't get in. It's the only part which is more or less open to the outside world.

The third picture down shows the inside of the shed. As you see, 'frugal' is an over statement!
It's a 'cupboard' about 4'0" wide divided into two with 'own space' behind the entrance.
About one third of our eggs are laid in this.

My hens, for about the last six months, have laid in about 4 places;

1. Inside the shed in their nest boxes (as above

2. In the yellow plastic bucket underneath

3. The plastic trays on the left

4. The other shed - on the floor (although there's a nest box in there)

The main thing about the nest boxes is that they are reasonably warm, definately dry and the hen has some feeling of privacy.
Not being rude, but it's a bit like us and toilets!

The only problem is when you let them run free. They will find anything ! I noticed a drop in my egg production and a few months later found a bounty of eggs in an old lawnmower grass box at the back of the shed.
If the weather is nice, they'll lay in bushes, behind stinging nettles - ouch - in the coal shed, almost anywhere.
The best one for me so far has been behind the sofa!

So I seriously don't think you need worry too much about nest boxes.
I liken it to a child - you spend £60 on a lego set that he never plays with. But give him a cardboard box with a saucepan lid and it's his very own car for six months !!

Chickens are, if you like, captured wild creatures. Their natural habitat is in woodland and trees.
They'll scrumage around, scraping away to find their domain and place where they feel comfortable.

Maybe brash, but build them a shed and put a cardboard box inside, you'll get eggs!

 

              


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