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In this article I do a deep dive into some of the best plastic nesting boxes for chickens. I include reviews of each one as well as the pros and cons of each. Finally, I provide a few tips and make a few recommendations on how many nesting boxes you need and how to help prevent chickens from pooping in the boxes.
A Close Look At The Best Plastic Nesting Boxes for Chickens
Nesting boxes are essential for anyone raising chickens for their eggs unless you want to spend every day on an egg hunt. A good nesting box has a few requirements to make it attractive for a laying hen. It needs to be safe, quiet, dark, roomy, and private.
While nesting boxes can be constructed from just about any material, there are benefits to going plastic. Plastic is one of the easiest materials to keep clean. Wood is more natural but when it gets damp, it can harbor mold and mildew which is not healthy for a chicken’s delicate respiratory system.
Plastic will be the most durable nesting box material. Homemade boxes made out of wood will eventually fall apart if not carefully maintained. Plastic takes no maintenance other than occasional cleaning. It is easy to disinfect and is more resistant to parasites and mites.
Best Plastic Nesting Boxes For Chickens (Reviews)
Below are what I’ve found to be some of the best nesting boxes that you can currently get for your chickens. You’ll find a detailed description of each one as well as the pros and cons of each nesting box.
Nesting boxes made out of plastic come in a variety of design options. Some need to be assembled, others come in one piece. Here are 3 of the top-rated designs of plastic nesting boxes that you can order online from Amazon.
Miller Manufacturing Single Chicken Nesting Box
This highly rated plastic box is made from high-density polyethylene. It will never rust, rot, corrode, or break. It mounts securely on a wall and has a sloped roof to prevent roosting.
Dimensions: 26.5 x 15.9 x 19.8 inches. It weighs 3.1 pounds. This box was designed to mount on 16” center studs. The slide-type screw holes make this box easy to secure to a wall. It comes with a perch to provide a landing spot for chickens before entering the nest.
Other design features include a perch to provide a landing spot for chickens before entering the nest. It comes with ventilation holes so fresh air can circulate through the box.
- These boxes are very sturdy, and chickens adapt to them very quickly.
- The size of the box is adequate for large chickens.
- Chickens have no problem getting in or out and can move around easily.
- Excellent ventilation.
- Easy to install and can be mounted high enough to stay safe from predators.
- Bar in front makes them accessible to chickens when mounted at a higher level.
- Super easy to clean.
- Don’t come with mounting screws. You need to buy 4 number 10 screws.
- Perch mount needs to be fixed more securely, has been reported to become dislodged.
- Don’t have a back wall so when attached to wood it can be prone to mite entry.
Roll Out Nesting Box with Curtains and Removable Nesting Pad
This nesting box also has a sloped roof to prevent roosting. It comes with a privacy curtain and has an adjustable slope to roll eggs out of the nest for easy collection. The removable nest pad is made of Polyethylene which is easy to clean and prevents the build-up of bacteria.
Dimensions: 16.5 x 12 x 19 inches. It weighs 14 pounds. This box comes with three great features for ideal nesting, a roll-out system for the eggs, a curtain for privacy and a removable nesting pad. This box is designed to last forever.
This box was designed to be mounted 2 to 3 inches off the ground. The roll out egg system can store at least 15 large eggs. The box is large enough for a standard breed of chicken and has ventilation on two sides of the box.
- Can be a solution to egg eating and protects eggs from breaking.
- Adjustable tilt to the egg platform to accommodate various sizes of eggs.
- Easy to clean and removes the need for bedding material.
- Curtains reduce the light which makes chickens feel safe and comfortable.
- Extremely well made – preferred by many chicken raisers.
- Comes with a video link to help with assembly.
- The lid is hard to open.
- Must be assembled, some people had difficulty with written instructions.
- Some chickens take a while to get used to the curtain.
4 Pack Rite Farm Products Washable Poly Egg Nesting Box
These simple nesting boxes are heavy duty and easy to wash. They have an open design that needs no assembly and mounts easily on a wall. They feature an egg-shaped rear opening and are large enough to fit any breed or size chicken. This four-pack of nesting boxes is very economical.
Dimension: 12 x 12 x 10, weigh 8 pounds. These boxes have a 4-hole mounting pattern and are easily and securely mounted on a wall with 4 screws. Screws not included. The open back and top allow for excellent ventilation and easy egg access.
The space-saving design allows for boxes to be easily added either vertically or horizontally. The impact-resistant polyethylene material is sanitary, easy to wash, and lasts forever.
- Very economical.
- Large open size makes them easy to clean.
- Can use liners and bedding to keep bottom soft and comfy for chickens.
- Easy to install, can be mounted at any height.
- Can be placed at a variety of heights to accommodate picky chickens.
- Durable material, can be modified to provide curtains or more privacy.
- Chickens may take a while to get used to the openness.
- Not much privacy for shy chickens.
- Some users found the design needed to be reinforced.
How Many Nesting Boxes Do I Need for My Chickens?
While there is no set formula for how many nesting boxes you need, it will depend on the size and breed of your chickens. The average consensus for large birds is that the optimum is one box for every 3 to 4 hens. If space is a consideration, you can make do with one box for every 6 to 8 hens.
Other factors will include climate, do your chickens lay all year-round or do they take the winter off? You can get away with fewer boxes with less use. If you have a dozen or more hens that all lay at the same in the morning, you can’t have just three boxes. You have to assess the needs of your flock and adjust accordingly.
Smaller chickens, like bantams, can be perfectly fine sharing a box. It is not uncommon to find two or three sharing a nesting a box. If you do have bantams, you can make the nesting boxes smaller and cozier than you would for larger breeds like Barred Rock and Orpington.
How To Keep Chickens From Pooping in Nesting Boxes
The main reason nests get so dirty with chicken poop is that the chickens are sleeping in the nesting boxes instead of on their roosts. If you have more than one chicken sleeping in your boxes, your nests will be filled with poop and you will have very dirty eggs.
You coop should be designed so the chickens want to sleep on their roosts instead of in the nesting box. You may feel you have a good design, but sometimes your chickens need some convincing that the perch is a better place to sleep than those padded and comfy boxes.
Here are some considerations for the placement of the nesting boxes that will facilitate your flock utilizing the perch.
Nesting Box Height
One of the main reasons chickens will choose to sleep in the nest is the height of the box. If the box is higher than the roost, it is a chicken’s natural instinct to sleep in the highest possible place. If the box is on the same level, it may simply look like a better option. Simple solution. Place your nesting boxes lower than the roosting bar. This will minimize the choices for where your chickens will prefer to roost for the night.
Mites often burrow in the wood of a coop. Certain varieties of mites will hide in the crevices around roosts, especially where the wood meets the wall. When they come out at night to feed, the chickens may be bothered enough to choose the safety of the nesting boxes over the pesky mite problem.
Old Age or Injury
If you have an older and arthritic chicken, she may not be able to perch on a roost. She will seek the comfort of a nesting box. Any chicken with an injury may not physically be able to get up on a roost. Check that your roost is not overcrowded and provide a ramp up to the roost to accommodate older or injured chickens.
Roosts should be made of chicken friendly material and the appropriate size for foot comfort. Make sure you have the right size and shape for your chickens or they will seek out other places to sleep.
A broody chicken will not leave the nest night or day. She will be sleeping and pooping in the nest. Check out how to deal with broody hens to keep your nests cleaner.
Lack of Ventilation
If your coop smells heavily of ammonia and needs to be cleaned, your girls will use the nesting box as an alternative to breathing in the bad fumes all night. Make sure your coop is cleaned out regularly and has proper ventilation. This will keep the natural process of roosting and sleeping in a healthy pattern.
Some chicken owners have issues with predators at night. If your coop has had night time visitors and your girls have been frightened, they may be finding security in the nesting boxes. Look for signs of invasion and tighten up your perimeters.
You can try installing a night light to keep away nocturnal predators and make the girls feel a bit safer. If you have modified the coop and added light and the hens are still roosting in the nesting boxes, you will need to look at other possible issues.
What To Put In Chicken Nesting Boxes
Some of the more modern nesting boxes don’t require bedding as they come with mats. Even if they do have mats, your chickens may prefer addition bedding for comfort and to easy that natural instinct to burrow into nesting material. Nesting material also makes nest cleaning a breeze as you sweep it out and add the new material very easily.
Nesting pads can be used alone or under any material you choose. The material you pick will depend on the number of nests you have and your budget. If budget is not an issue, it would be ideal to have a nesting pad with material on top. You can do a more thorough job of cleaning out the boxes every few weeks by removing and cleaning the pads underneath the nesting material.
Straw or Hay
The most common nesting materials are straw or hay. These are very natural for a chicken, absorb moisture, and provide good egg protection. Hay and straw do need to be replaced often as they will be prone to mold and bacteria if left in a nest for too long. If you have other farm animals, you will most likely have a steady and readily available supply of this material.
Another popular choice for nests is pine or cedar shavings. These materials smell great, are easy to clean, and absorb moisture well. Shavings are readily available in pet and feed stores and will be more expensive than straw or hay.
Cedar shavings are on the higher-priced end of chicken bedding but make the coop smell great. The cedar scent will also help keep away unwanted mites and insects.
DIY Nesting Materials
If you want to make your own nesting materials, consider the following options. The drawbacks to these materials are that they are not super absorbent and they tend to get dirtier more quickly.
Remember that your hens need to be happy and comfortable with their nesting material. If you can make them happy and keep your boxes clean, there is nothing wrong with DIY bedding material.
- Grass clippings. Cut or gather your own grass. Do not use any grass that has been sprayed with insecticides. Dry it out well before placing it in your boxes.
- Recycled or shredded newspaper. Use paper that is free of dyes.
- Shredded leaves. You can shred then store leaves in bags for use as bedding.
The reason many of us decide to raise and keep chickens is because of the eggs that they produce. In order to keep our birds happy and comfortable so they keep producing the best they can, you need to have a nice nesting box available for them.
You can’t go wrong with any of the nesting boxes mentioned in this article. But if you are going to pick just one, then consider the Miller Manufacturing Single Chicken Nesting Box. You can read more about it on Amazon. Just click on the image below.