Nest Box Ideas for Your Coop

There are lots of nest box choices out there to buy, but if you’d rather be creative, here are some ideas to inspire you!

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Chicken Nest Boxes and Bedding

There are many different types of nest box bedding that chicken keepers use. There’s no right or wrong one, you just have to find the one that suits your bird’s needs or preference for the type of nest boxes you have.

Nesting material is important, if your hens scratch around in their nesting box and kick all the bedding out you’re going to have broken eggs.  The kind of nesting boxes you have is also important. If they are semi-enclosed for privacy, such as a wooden box with a hole for entry there is less chance your birds will kick out their nest material. Shredded burlap partially covering the entry hole is also helpful.

Bedding Materials / Pros and Cons

Wood shavings: A great choice if you have a box that will prevent the chickens from kicking it all out of the nest.
Straw: Many people use straw, it’s inexpensive and goes a long way. However, it does get hard and brittle which can cause irritation to the hen’s vent area.  It also tends to mold.
Grass hay: This is my choice of bedding. I like it because it’s soft and stays soft for at least a month and my birds don’t kick it out of the nest.
Sand: Clean, and makes for an easy clean-up using a kitty litter box scoop. But I think sand would be rather difficult to replace… not to mention it’s heavy.
Shredded paper: Becoming very popular in today’s world of massive household paper shredding. Some people mix it in with shavings, and others use it alone.  It can go in the compost pile, and what’s really nice is there’s an endless supply, especially if you or your friends subscribe to a newspaper.

Solutions for Broken Eggs in the Nest Box

Lining the bottom of nest boxes with a cushioning material under the nest bedding can be very helpful if you are finding broken eggs. Here are a few ideas that are often used as nesting box liners.

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Rubber shelf liner
  • Carpet, upside down
  • Artificial turf, upside down
  • Rubbermaid kitchen sink mats
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