Chicken farmers are always looking for ways to provide the best care possible for their feathered friends. One of the concerns most us chicken farmers face is whether or not our chickens need nesting boxes. Many owners believe that providing nesting boxes is necessary, while others think it’s an unnecessary expense.
So, do chickens really need nesting boxes? While they aren’t 100% necessary for your chickens, nesting boxes will save time by drastically reducing the time you spend searching for eggs and making chickens feel safe and secure, improving laying rates. Feeders, automatic chicken doors, egg incubators, and waterers can enhance your experience caring for your chickens.
Read on to find out why providing nesting boxes for your chickens is essential and why you should consider getting one. You might also enjoy reading: 6 key benefits of installing an automatic chicken coop door.
Benefits Of Providing Nesting Boxes for Chickens
Nesting boxes provide a safe and comfortable place for hens to lay their eggs. Chickens often seek out nesting boxes when they are ready to lay their eggs. Providing proper nesting boxes will keep eggs cleaner and safer, reduce the risk of egg breakage, and make it easier for you to collect the eggs.
More importantly, chickens also like privacy when they lay eggs, and nesting boxes offer just that. In addition, having different boxes for laying helps chickens become less territorial, thus reducing stress and keeping them happy.
However, it is important to note that chickens can lay eggs outside nesting boxes, such as on the ground or in dark corners. While this behavior is normal, eggs laid outside of nesting boxes are more susceptible to predators, parasites, and disease. Therefore, I encourage you to provide your chickens with nesting boxes to minimize the risk of such unfortunate events.
Things To Keep In Mind When Setting Up a Nesting Box
When setting up nesting boxes, I recommend you consider the coop’s dimensions and the flock’s size. The rule of thumb is to have one nesting box for every four to five hens (Source: HGTV). The size of the nesting boxes should also be suitable for the hens’ size.
The same goes for the bedding material. Straw is a popular choice due to its softness and insulating properties. According to a study published in ScienceDirect, straw is a renewable resource that provides excellent insulation and is relatively easy to build.
You can, however, use alternatives such as wood chips, shredded newspaper, or dried leaves.
As much as nesting boxes are beneficial, typically, they need to be cleaned regularly to maintain hygiene. Due to constant use, bedding and eggs in nesting boxes may harbor pathogens that can cause illness in chickens. Therefore, I suggest you replace the nesting material and disinfect the boxes as often as possible. This will prevent the spread of illnesses and infections, keeping your chickens healthy and productive.
Reasons Why Providing Nesting Boxes for Chickens is Important
Nesting boxes are necessary for chickens because they protect the eggs from damage, parasites, disease, and predators while ensuring that hens have a comfortable and private space to lay their eggs.
1- Nesting Boxes Provide a Safe And Secure Space For Laying Hens
One of the reasons why you need to provide nesting boxes for you chickens is because they provide a safe and secure space for laying hens. When chickens are looking for a spot to lay their eggs, they will go for a location that provides privacy and protection.
Without nesting boxes, hens may scatter their eggs all over the coop, making it difficult for you to collect them. In generally, nesting boxes give hens a designated location in which to lay their eggs, keeping them clean and easy to find.
2- Nesting Boxes Help Prevent Broodiness in Hens
When chickens sit on their eggs to incubate them, they become broody. While broodiness is natural, it can also lead to a reduction in egg production.
Providing nesting boxes for your hens can prevent broodiness by giving them a space to lay their eggs and move on with their day instead of sitting on them.
3- Nesting Boxes Promote The Overall Health of Chickens
When left to their own devices, hens may build nests in undesirable locations, such as on the ground, which can result in bacterial growth and infection.
Nesting boxes, on the other hand, reduce the likelihood of egg contamination, keeping your hens healthy and reducing the risk of disease spreading throughout your flock.
4- Nesting Boxes Allow for More Efficient Egg Collection
If you have to search for eggs throughout the coop, you could potentially miss one or two, which could lead to rotting, breakage, and unpleasant smells.
With nesting boxes, you can easily find and collect eggs, ensuring that they remain in good condition.
5- Nesting Boxes Provide a Sense of Comfort And Security to Your Chickens
When chickens have a designated space to lay their eggs, they feel less stressed and more relaxed, which can ultimately improve overall egg production.
In addition, chickens that feel comfortable and secure are less likely to peck or attack each other, which can happen when they feel stressed or overcrowded.
What to read next:
- 8 Factors To Consider When Choosing an Automatic Chicken Coop Door for Cold Weather.
- Automatic Chicken Doors: Are They Predator-Proof?
- Are Automatic Chicken Coop Doors Worth It? (Yes, and here’s why!)
Providing nesting boxes for your chickens is vital for their health, well-being, and productivity. The benefits of having nesting boxes include providing a safe and secure spot for laying hens, preventing broodiness, promoting overall health, making egg collection more efficient, and providing a sense of comfort and security.
Above all, remember that nesting boxes must be cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure your chickens remain healthy and happy. Also, it is vital to disinfect the boxes regularly to prevent the spread of disease and keep your chickens healthy.
When setting up nesting boxes, it is also crucial to consider the dimensions of the coop and flock size, the size of the nesting boxes, and the material used for bedding.
I know that providing proper nesting boxes may seem like a small detail, but it goes a long way in ensuring the overall well-being of your chickens.