It’s easy to make your own chicken nest boxes out of almost anything. If you have a place that’s sheltered from wind and rain for your chickens, like a roofed run or polytunnel then you don’t need to spend a fortune on nest boxes or hutches. Assuming you already have a hutch where the hcickens will sleep, you can pop nest boxes anywhere off the ground and almost any box type object will do. If you have a broody hen, you can suddenly find yourself without the use of a selection of nest boxes and a hutch and these extra nest boxes may be just what you need in a hurry.
What makes a good nest box?
- no breezey gaps – fully sheltered from the wind (unless you don’t want any broodies but we like to encourage ours to go broody)
- non slippy surface Or straw for grip if it is a bit slippy
- Removable top so you can extract broody hens if you need to relocate them.
- Easy access for the chickens and for you when you collect eggs
- Big enough for your chickens but small enough to be “safe” feeling. Bantams require very little space, but medium and large fowl will need at least 25cm high and as wide/long as possible. Larger is better because it will be too late to change the nest box if you find your chickens are a bit awkward trying to get in and out.
Can be costly or require specific and accurate tools to construct properly. Wood may be purchased or salvaged but salvaged wood will be harder to turn into nest boxes.
Can be costly if purchased. Will require stableising on the bottom. Metal can get too hot or too cold with british weather.
Can be costly depeding on wher eyou shop. Can be easily salvaged from skips and require little modification. Can be too bright – will need a coat of paint.
My Nest Boxes
I chose plastic tubs from the shop for my nest boxes. I measured up the space I had on the top of the main hutch and got appropriately sized tubs for £5 each. Then I cut a hole in the front of the the tub (one of the shortest sides) big enough so a chicken could comfortably get through (I have large fowl so this required some testing). Then painted the outside to block light coming in and let it dry. Add a bit of straw, place somewhere sheltered and viola, chickens are very happy with thier new choice of nest boxes.
If they look a bit confused, pop an egg into each one and sit the chickens next to the boxes so they can see. They will soon work it out!