A nest box is an enclosed area meant to give chickens a place they feel comfortable laying their eggs.
Chickens generally prefer darkened, cozy places where they feel safe. We say "generally," here, because new layers may not understand what their instincts are telling them to do.
Many lay an egg or two on the floor. Some feel like they need to find a spot outside the coop to lay (such as under your porch!), and so on. It may take some time and effort to "teach" them to lay in the coop. And some may always prefer to lay in a corner than in a nesting box!
Types of chicken nesting boxes:
Nesting boxes don't have to have any particular construction. Some may be plastic, some metal, some wood. Some will be purpose built, and others will be improvised. Here's our selection of nest boxes and related supplies.
- Many people use 5-gallon buckets, laid on its side for hens to lay in.
- One member of the MPC team found her silkie bantams liked to lay in tangerine crates set on the coop floor. There are even "roll away" next boxes that allow the freshly laid eggs to roll out of the way once laid (preventing accidental breakage).
- Some coops have them built-in (shown above) for easy access without entering the coop.