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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.

    Give us your opinion on How to Build a Nest Box.
    Submit Comment »
    Presently, our hens nests r a couple feet off the ground, using big white pails.,I've made a sloped roof with a perch over that. I also cut out a board with holes to place infront of the nests in hopes to reduce light as I've read.
    Are the nests to be on the floor as I've read here to keep them from sleeping in the nests...I have a couple girls preferring this to the perch at night! There r also a couple breaking n eating the eggs. They get crushed shells w feed. One bad problem I have is that one hen is picking the others n scratching them n pulling theur feathers large n small! They look like miniature turkey vultures!
    Fran, Wooler, ON
    Posted: 10/14/2014 8:32:03 PM
    I like what you showed but I am such a clutz so decided to buy mine instead of waste time and money messing up the wood and just ordered since I found online a place right here in Oklahoma that makes ratproof feeders. www.thecarpentershop.net and it is working well. I wish I could build things but I am construction challenged.
    kekaha, norman, OK
    Posted: 6/26/2013 6:17:27 PM
    Nice & simple!
    Dante, Hyde Park, MA
    Posted: 6/2/2013 6:13:34 AM
    Good to know
    Annie, Houston, TX
    Posted: 11/22/2012 8:25:17 AM
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