Last Updated on May 25, 2022 by Pauline G. Carter
Chicken owners find it difficult to ascertain how many nest boxes per chicken they need. The actual number is dependent on a lot of factors some of which include your hens’ breed and its personality.
Find out all about how many nesting boxes per chicken you need and answers to other frequently asked nesting questions in this article.
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How Many Nest Boxes Per Chicken?
We recommend that you keep 4 to 6 chickens in your nesting box. Depending on the breed of chicken you buy, you may need a bigger box; thus, it is better to start with a bigger box and have more space.
Other factors influence the number of nesting boxes per chicken.
Why Do I Need a Nest Box?
Nest boxes provide you with an easy and safe way to collect your hens’ eggs. They do not need to be specially crafted or customized; a clean functional box of the right size will do the trick.
Do I Need a Separate Nesting Box for Each Chicken?
No, you don’t. Chickens can share nesting boxes without many squabbles. All you need do is to ensure you have an adequate number of boxes for your chickens. If the nest box is overcrowded, they will get into heated fights and end up either breaking or eating the eggs.
Tips for How Many Nesting Boxes Per Chicken
You need to follow the rules governing how many nesting boxes per chicken. We have outlined the minimum requirements below:
Each Nest Should Be Well Set Up for Egg Laying
The egg nest is where your hens go to lay their eggs so you must set it up to encourage nesting behavior. Select a roomy nest box to give your hens a sense of security. Go a step further and ensure you select a suitable floor substrate devoid of wire mesh.
Separate the Egg Nest from the Poultry
Nesting hens like to be left alone to do their business, so, ensure that their nest is secluded from the general poultry. Your chosen location should be drought-free.
Setting up your nesting box correctly saves you a lot of cost and energy.
For one, if you fail to provide your chicken with a nesting box that is removed from the noise of the poultry, it will have no other choice than to seek out a secluded area. That means that you’ll spend valuable hours each day trying to collect the eggs they have laid.
Do Not Overcrowd the Nest
The Welfare of Farmed Animals Act states that no more than seven hens should be kept in a nesting box. This ensures that aggression is kept low and that the eggs have a chance to hatch in peace.
Also, overcrowded nests leave the chicken with no option and expose it to stress, which in turn affects its egg production.
Read More – What Sounds Do Chickens Make? (11 Common Sounds Of Chicken)
Keep the Lighting Low
Chickens favor dim lighting of less than 1 lux when nesting. Therefore, we advise that your nesting box attempts to recreate this lighting need.
What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough Nesting Boxes?
There can be serious complications when you don’t have enough nesting boxes. One of the main issues that arise is stress; when your chicken is stressed, they easily fall sick, lose appetite, and can even stop laying eggs altogether.
Another downside of having too few nesting boxes is increased fighting and trust us, these fights are not pretty! The chickens will fight each other, break the eggs and in some cases, even eat the eggs.
Chickens without nesting boxes will not lay as many eggs as those with nesting boxes. This is because the conditions are not so favorable for them. You may notice that the eggs will be smaller, and most times, more likely to crack.
All of these downsides can be easily avoided if you create a safe, comfortable, happy, and stress-free nesting box for these birds. In the next section, we will explore how to select nesting boxes for your chicken.
What to Consider When Purchasing Nesting Boxes for Your Chickens?
There are so many kinds of nesting boxes available today, some more fanciful than the others. But regardless, there are some factors to consider when buying a nesting box. Let’s look at them below.
Easy to Clean
Hens are enticed by clean boxes and quiet environments. You don’t want to spend donkey years trying to clean the mess your hens have made so get a box that is easy to clean. We recommend that you choose plastic or metal nesting boxes because they are easy to clean and prevent moisture retention.
We cannot overemphasize that the size of the nesting box you select affects the outcome of the nesting. Generally, smaller hen breeds do well in 12-14 inches boxes while large chicken breeds need more space.
Your nesting box should have a sloping roof to discourage other birds from perching. The enclosed space gives the hens a sense of security.
What to Put in Your Chicken Nesting Box?
There are different materials that you can use to line your chicken nesting box. The best materials to put in your nesting box include:
Nesting pads help provide a soft landing for the eggs and are easy to clean. Another reason why nesting pads are great is that they reduce the mites or lice on chickens.
Wood shavings are a cheap material for lining your tank. Generally, material shavings are great for your chicken nest. Pine shavings are soft and great for masking odors in the coop.
There is no need to tour the country for materials to line your chicken nesting box. Fake grass will do just fine! It is easy to clean and you can get free samples from stores around you.
Can You Use Sawdust For Chicken Bedding?
There are many good uses for sawdust, but chicken bedding isn’t one of them. Chainsaws and chainsaw mills have their saw blades coated in lubricant oil to prevent them from overheating and keep them running smoothly. The oil ends up all through the sawdust and can become an irritant to chickens if used in nesting boxes, so it should be avoided.
Chickens do not need fancy nesting boxes to lay eggs. Stick to your regular box design and do not exceed the recommended number of chickens per nesting box. Set up your nesting box like we have advised in this article, and be on your way to getting the fattest chicken eggs!