Chickens will lay their eggs wherever they think is safe. Hens usually feel most safe in small, dark, confined spaces. For this reason, chicken nesting boxes are usually used. With so many nesting boxes on the market, how do you know which one to choose? We’re here to help you decide!
What Makes a Good Nesting Box for Chickens?
A good chicken nesting box is durable, dark, accessible and protective of eggs. Egg protection is critical as a bad set up can lead to lots of egg cracking. That leads to a lot of loss and a lot of mess. Raising chickens isn’t cheap and neither are most nesting boxes. The longer they last, the farther your money will go. This makes durability an important factor when deciding which is the best nest box for your chickens. The most durable nests are made from galvanized steel as they don’t rust or wear overtime. Durability means nothing if the area isn’t very dark or accessible because then the hens probably won't lay in it, and your precious nest will go to waste. A chicken nesting box needs to feel private enough to encourage laying. Darkness usually promotes this sense of privacy. Accessibility means finding and placing your nest in the right spot.
How High Should Chicken Nesting Boxes Be?
Chicken nesting boxes should be about 18”-20” off the ground. You want the chicken’s nest to be low enough that they can easily figure out how to get into the box, but not so low that it’s almost touching the ground. If the nest is on or too close to the ground, the laying hens won't get much privacy and the other birds may step on or eat their eggs. You don’t want it too high though because it will make it more difficult for the hens to get into the nest, which may dissuade them from laying in there. This is why 18”-20” off the ground is usually optimal.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time for us to show you what we think your best nesting box options are.
1) Fall Harvest Products - Wood Laying Nest, 1 Hole
This is our favorite for a hobbyist chicken lover. It’s not the most practical nest, but it looks beautiful, is a great price, and is compact. It is also made in America!
- Brand: Fall Harvest Products
- Assembled Dimensions: 20" H x 11 1/4" D x 8 1/4" W
- Capacity: Up to 2 hens
- Price: $55.95
- Pseudo-Pre-Assembled: For the people out there who aren’t particularly handy (like me), this a great pseudo pre-assembled option, especially for the price. All you have to do is screw in a few things and you’re good to go!
- Appearance and size: This nest would be best for a hobbyist chicken keepers. This nest will give you what you need without taking up too much space. It will also look really nice in that solid pinewood
- Removable bottoms: Wood is the least cleaning-friendly laying nest material, but this nest makes cleaning more manageable by having removable bottoms.
2) Duncan’s Poultry Standard Nest, 4 Hole
This nest is made by a brand we love, Duncan’s Poultry. Duncan’s poultry is a small business that makes quality products right here in America! We love their nesting boxes because they are durable, extremely easy to install and clean and they are also rather attractive!
- Brand: Duncan’s Poultry
- Assembled Dimensions: 28" wide 22" deep including perches and 36" tall.
- Capacity: Up to 40 hens
- Price: $139.99
- Assembly: Of all the nesting boxes we looked at, this one seemed to have the easiest assembly. This nest can be assembled with ease within 15 minute and can be quickly mounted to the hen house thereafter!
- Durable: This nest is made from thicker and longer lasting galvanneal metal. The tops are powder coated by hand. It is one of the best nesting boxes for chickens that we found which will last and look nice for a very long time.
- Ventilation: The sides of this nest has holes to keep your girls cooler in the hot months of the year. This ventilation also keeps the laying area dry which reduces growth of bacteria and fungi.
3) Little Giant Plastic Nesting Box, 1 Hole
This Little Giant 163620 Plastic Chicken Nesting Box is no joke. It is small, but mighty. It has all the basic features needed for a hen to lay without all the bells and whistles which cost a ton. If you’re looking for the most affordable option for your small or large flock this is it!
- Brand: Little Giant
- Assembled Dimensions: 16.5 inches long by 15.88 inches wide by 19.75 inches high
- Capacity: Up to 2 hens
- Price: $24.99
- Sloped Roof: The best nest boxes do not promote roosting or sleeping. This nest does an excellent job of this with its slippery sloped roof.
- Economical: This is the most economical box we found. You are getting a high quality nest for a relatively low price. It gets the job done without having to spend a ton. It can work for small or large flocks too.
- Material: After metal, we recommend plastic for nesting boxes because it is easy to clean and hang. We only recommend plastic however if it is quality plastic, which this box appears to be with its impact-resistant polyethylene that will not rust, rot, or corrode.
4) Best Nest Box - Large Reversible Rollaway Nest Box, 3 Hole
The name of this chicken nesting box says it all - it really is the best. It leads to the happiest hens, cleanest eggs, and easiest assembly. And guess what else? It’s made in America!
- Brand: Best Nest Box
- Assembled Dimensions: 48 5/16” length, 19.75" height at the highest point of the roof, 21” depth
- Capacity: Up to 45 hens
- Price: $225 (Price goes down if you order more than one though)
- Durable: This is a well made nest, made out of galvanized steel.
- Reversible roll: Our favorite feature of this nest is its rolling. After chickens lay in the nest, their eggs automatically gently roll down the incline and are caught in a holding tray. This tray is closed until you open it to collect your eggs. The egg shells remain unbroken and clean as a result and are also extremely easy to collect. Being able to reverse the roll is nice because it gives you the option to collect eggs in or outside of your coop. Pretty neat.
- Curtains and back: The nest has a metal back and comes with curtains which can easily be taped up or detached while training your hens to lay inside. Once acclimated to the nest, the curtains and metal backing provide a nice dark area for your hens to lay their eggs.
Collecting eggs can be a tedious, frustrating process or relatively easy seamless process depending on the chicken nesting box you choose. Whether you’re looking for the Honda of nesting boxes or the Benz, we have covered it here. We hope you find the one that works best for you. The better your nest, the better you’ll rest. Let us know which chicken nesting box you use!
Did you know that we sell nests and other hatching supplies? Find our selection of chicken nesting boxes and hatching supplies we offer. We also have a large assortment of blank paper egg cartons and printed paper egg cartons to help you store your eggs once you’ve collected them.
View Related Videos
Looking for more information on the best nest box? Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6O-IWwJz0Y
Looking to make your own super cheap nesting boxes?
Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3LvfsZ79C0
Or this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5We9HoVKnc
Author: Sarah Moore has been with EggCartons.com for almost 4 years. Prior to coming here, she didn’t know the difference between a rooster and a hen. Sarah spent many years in business prior to landing at EggCartons.com and has since become an egg carton connoisseur. When she’s not thinking about egg cartons, she’s thinking about the things that go inside of them, which is usually food (in her case) and sometimes eggs. Since starting here, Sarah has tried raising chickens of her own and finally learned the difference between a rooster and a hen.
I saw this article earlier in December and decided to try out the Wood Laying Nest linked in the article.. it is great! I am getting my coop ready for the spring time, so no chickens using it in there yet but the set up was so easy. I have it just sitting on the ground right now so my chicks can explore it while they are young, but once they get close to laying age Im going to mount them higher up on the wall for when they lay their eggs.
Love this! I never really thought there were so many different versions of egg nests, and all the thought that goes in behind each design. Im hoping in the spring time once laying picks back up with my hens, I can upgrade my current set up to a galvanized metal nest set up.
Great information here! I came across this while looking for some additional nesting boxes, as my flock as expanded. I think I am going to stick with the wooden style, since it will match my current nests but its great to see there are so many options out there.
This is so helpful from a beginners stand point. We just got some baby chicks in the spring of 2021, and were having a hard time consistently collecting eggs. Can not wait to try out one of these nests and see if there is an improvement in their laying habits!