Nesting boxes help your hens know where they should lay their eggs, so you don’t have to search for them.
It’s best to have– at the most– five chickens to one nesting box. Ideally, you might want to consider having three to four to each. This way, hens are not stressed and can share easily. Moreover, it is less for you to clean up.
Nesting boxes can be almost any material, except cardboard. A generally a poor choice, cardboard would suit as a temporary nesting box, but then you might confuse your hens even more, because you will have to continually move and change out the place they are only now becoming comfortable with. It’s best to have a permanent nesting box that you maintain regularly. Plastic is perhaps the best choice.
Fill the nesting box with comfortable, clean hay (with no chemical additives– you must change out the hay at least every 5 weeks, or it will become moldy), sawdust, or shredded paper, and put in a nest egg (a fake, usually wooden, egg, to encourage your hens to lay there). And if you so choose, you might consider purchasing a nesting box liner, usually a rubber mat similar to a dog-pen liner usually easily found at your local pet store. However, this is not necessary, but it will make cleaning a lot easier, and discourage long-term aging on the bottom of your box.
It is best to place the nesting box in a darkened area of the coop, away from roosts. This encourages the place to seem ‘special,’ and keeps the possibility for accidental spoiling on the lower end. If you ever see the nesting box becoming disturbed by busy chickens in the flock, discourage them from being there– hoot, holler, and shoo them away.
A nesting box for chickens makes life with your birds a whole lot easier. You almost never have to search for your eggs, and you make your chickens feel more at ease when they are laying. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to let us know.