Chicken nesting boxes are very important to your overall operation of raising chickens. Nesting boxes are where your hens go to lay their eggs. If your chicken nesting boxes are not constructed and placed properly, your hens may feel stressed and this can affect their productivity.
It is no secret that there are dozens of plans available for chicken nesting boxes. The type you choose is up to you, but every nesting box must provide the following: they must be kept clean; they must be kept dry; and they must be placed in a fairly dark and quiet area.
These are the three most important conditions and failing to meet even one may cause your hens to lay fewer eggs.
For those new to chicken nesting boxes, the following may be helpful:
The minimum size for a good nesting box is one cubic foot. This means building or buying a box that is 12 inches long, deep, and wide. Remember, this is the minimum size. If you provide a nesting box that is bigger, your hen will be happier.
The number of nesting boxes you keep should be determined by how many hens you have. You should always keep at least one chicken nesting box for two to four hens.
There is often some debate as to what type of material you should use in the bottom of the nesting box. Pine shavings are an excellent choice but some people prefer to use good old straw.
Hens that are about to lay eggs are not as agile as those who are not. For this reason, it is often a very good idea to add a roost bar in order for them to get into the nesting box easily. A roost bar is basically just a step to help them get up into the box.
You may also want to add a small lip to the box to help keep the nesting material inside the box as well as help keep the egg inside the box.
Generally, hens prefer to have their nesting boxes off the ground. As a practical matter, this also helps to keep predators out of the chicken nesting box and away from the eggs. Just ensure the box is not too high and that you add a roost bar as mentioned above.
Once your hens begin laying eggs it is important that you collect the eggs every day. If you do not, your hens may stop laying eggs and take over the duty of hatching the egg. With that in mind, make sure you place your chicken nesting boxes within easy reach.
Good owners will inspect the nesting material often and change it out as they need. Some material, such as hay, will get wet and rot very quickly. This needs to be replaced as needed.
These are the basics of managing a chicken nesting box. The more time and care you put into your nesting boxes the more successful you will be. Keep your hens happy and give them the right chicken nesting box and they will lay eggs for a very long time.