How to Build a Nest Box
Give your hens a clean place to lay with this simple DIY project.
By Kelly Wood, Photos by Stephanie Staton
Chickens are ground-nesting birds and prefer dark, secluded areas for their eggs. Providing a nest box gives your chickens a clean, protected place to lay, and you’ll have an easier time collecting the eggs and keeping them intact and dirt-free. Sometimes a hen will choose a laying spot on her own, in which case you’ll just have to learn where it is and check there regularly. But with a secluded, comfy nest box, your hen might be inclined to make egg gathering easy for you.
This nest box has a very basic design: The sloped roof helps keep the hens from roosting on the top, and the flat bottom allows the nest box to sit on any stable surface. It provides approximately 1 square foot of space with a sloped top higher at the front chicken entry. Use 1/2inch-thick plywood and 1 x 2 lumber for a sturdy box. Drill pilot holes in all pieces before screwing the nest box together, or the wood will likely split. You can also squirt some wood glue into the holes before securing the screws to make it really strong.
Once your basic nest box is built, add creative touches to it beyond just a cute paint job. Try hanging a curtain across the front of the nest box to give hens privacy, or make the nest box weather-proof and mount it outside of the chicken coop. Just make sure you place the nest box lower than the perches, or the chickens will use the box for sleeping (and messing) in.
Nest Box Materials and Tools:
- Handsaw or circular saw
- Drill with drill bit and screw bit
- 1/2-inch plywood, two 2- by 4-foot pieces or four 2- by 2-foot pieces
- 10 feet of 1 x 2 lumber
- About 30 3/4-inch or 1-inch wood screws
- Straw, dryer lint or paper shavings for bedding
Ready for another DIY project? Build a portable trellis for your garden.
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