If you plan to make a living out of growing birds, especially chickens, you need to provide all the necessary comfort for them to live a healthy and happy life, and that includes creating welcoming chicken nesting boxes or trying to integrate an automatic chicken feeder to prevent overfeeding.
However, if some of these ideas seem difficult to grasp, perhaps our following tips will put your fears aside and help you become the best flock provider your chickens can have. Here is how to build a nesting box step by step.
What makes a good nesting box?
If you want the eggs to be delicious and your chickens to live unstressed, you need to know the main elements that make a good nesting box before building one. Keep in mind that chickens tend to be fussy, so each box should be private, quiet, and dark.
If one of these elements is missing, your chicken may not be interested in laying eggs inside the boxes, which will make your job so much complicated as the traditional Easter egg hunt will become a routine.
Therefore, try placing the boxes somewhere quiet and private, where children, other animals or staff members don’t have access to.
Maintaining a dark atmosphere will help your chicken relax better and create a sense of comfort and coziness.
Consider the correct size
Although pretty much any type of box can be turned into a nesting one, you need to take into account your bird’s size and behavior if you want it to lay eggs.
Think about how many nesting boxes you’ll need and how big they should be in order to be comfortable and intimate at the same time.
If you’re not sure about the exact number of nesting boxes required, consider this general rule – each box should be shared by up to 4 hens. So, if your flock counts for 20 hens, you’ll need a minimum of five nurseries.
As for the size of the box, we already mentioned that it depends on the chicken breed. For instance, large chickens require boxes measuring 12x14x12 inches, while Banham chickens require two inches less, so the correct measurements would be 12 inches tall by 12 inches wide and 10 inches deep.
Although paperboard would suffice, if you want your boxes to be durable, you’ll have to look for alternative materials. Wood is the most reliable choice because it is hard and will keep your chickens warm at the same time. In addition, it can withstand harsh weather conditions and is solid enough to prevent sun rays from getting inside.
The good thing is that hens don’t require fancy designs to lay their eggs. On the contrary, a simple wooden box with dividers is more than enough to keep them satisfied.
You can also opt for a metal cage with an attached nesting box. Metal is even more durable than regular wood but won’t maintain a warm environment inside, especially in the cold winter days.
Designs and plans
Once you figured your favorite type of wood material, you can start designing and building the actual nest. If you’re out of inspiration, there are various online videos and tutorials showing you how to build the chicken box step by step.
If you’re a newbie, we suggest sticking to plain designs without having to cut or alter too much of the piece of wood used. This will also prevent accidents and will help you practice until you’re able to pick up fancier constructions.
If you have enough room to spare on your property, individual nesting boxes could also prove a good solution as your hens will benefit from even more intimacy.
How to build
Once you have decided on the right design and size of the box, you should consider all necessary materials to start building, and that includes, aside from the wood, drills, screws, and other tools.
Another thing to make sure of is that the wood is properly cut. Sand the edges and remove any splinters or sawdust that might hurt your hen.
Start by building the walls and making sure you leave enough room for your hen to move. Once the walls are done, consider adding a functional lid or door for the box to enable easy access to the eggs.
After you finish building the entire construction, add the paint and other decorative elements. We suggest an additional protective coat that is weatherproof and won’t allow sun rays or water getting inside.
Make sure to test the nesting box too before adding the hens. Double-check for any flaws in the construction, including flimsy walls and structures or splinters. Moreover, all screws should be perfectly sealed and covered to prevent accidents that might lead to cuts or wounds.
Training your chicken to actually use the nesting box
The last step is to train your birds to make use of the new construction. In order to make the space more appealing to chickens, try adding about an inch of straw bedding to the base of the box. This will make your bird feel more comfortable and warm.
If your hens are still hesitating, you can try out various other methods that will lure them into the nesting boxes.
One idea is to add some food or treats inside. Another trick is to use plastic eggs that replicate the original ones and place them inside. This will intrigue the hens and they will be curious to find out more about the mysterious eggs, thus exploring the box and getting used to it.
Are there any other tricks or tips people should know before building a hen nesting box? Let us know what you think and share your valuable insights and information with the rest of the community.