Chickens don’t need nesting boxes because they’ll lay their eggs anywhere they feel secure. In the wild, hens find quiet and secluded places to nest and lay eggs. Nesting boxes benefit humans more than hens as they keep the coop orderly and help with finding the eggs.
Of course, your hens will reap some benefits from having nesting boxes in the coop. For one thing, the hens and their eggs will be safer in the confines of the coop where predators cannot get to them. Your hens will also enjoy having a comfortable place to nest and lay their eggs without worrying about predatory animals like foxes and raccoons.
While you can buy nesting boxes at local farm supply stores and online, it’s more economical to build the boxes yourself. And you don’t have to be a carpenter to build a nesting box because it’s a relatively simple thing to do. So don’t worry if you think you’re all thumbs when it comes to building something!
We’ve put together this list of DIY chicken nesting box plans you can make today! But before we get into the specific plans, you need to know how many nesting boxes you should make.
Have One Nesting Box for Every Three to Four Hens
If you were to ask a slick nesting box salesperson how many nesting boxes you need for your chickens, you’d probably be told one for every bird. That’s simply not true. If you have 12 hens you do not need 12 individual nesting boxes.
Many different opinions are floating around out there concerning how many nesting boxes hens need. A good rule of thumb to follow is to have one nesting box for every three to four hens. This means that you should have three or four nesting boxes for your 12 hens.
Something worth mentioning here is that all the hens in a flock may choose a single nesting box for laying their eggs. If this happens, you can let things be because obviously, the hens have decided among themselves which box they prefer. A preferred nesting box is often the one the hens feel is the safest which may be a box in a darkened corner or one that’s concealed.
Now let’s move on to the fun part! Below are 10 DIY chicken nesting box plans you can make today!
The 15 DIY Chicken Nesting Box Plans
1. Pallet Nesting Box
If you have a wooden pallet lying around, put it to good use and make a nesting box for your hens. This plan involves some muscle power and patience because you have to take the pallet apart with a hammer and do some cutting and screwing. The great thing about this plan is that it won’t cost you much at all and it will provide your hens with a very sturdy place to lay their eggs.
2. Basic Wooden Nesting Box for Several Hens
If you’re the handy type and have a table saw at home plus a few basic tools, you can make this wooden nesting box for several of your hens. This nesting box is fun to build and it will look nice once you’ve covered it in paint.
3. 5 Gallon Bucket Nesting Box
If you have a 5-gallon food-grade bucket stored away somewhere, pull it out and make this simple nesting box. It doesn’t require any special skill to make and any hen would be happy to use it for laying her eggs. If the bucket you use has something in it, be sure to empty it completely and give the interior a good scrubbing.
4. Wooden Half-Barrel Nesting Box
You can make a single chicken nesting box using a wooden half-barrel for wine. It will only take you a few minutes to make this cute nesting box. This particular box can be moved from place to place inside your coop if need be and can also be used outdoors if you have free-range hens.
5. Frugal Farmer’s Plastic Nesting Boxes
Perfect for the budget-minded, these nesting boxes are cheap to make using ordinary plastic bins. This plan uses inexpensive stackable organizing bins that snap easily together. Your hens will be tickled pink to see this set-up in their coop. You’ll be pleased too because there are no materials or tools to gather to complete this dead-easy plan.
6. Roll-Away Nest Box
If you have problems with broken eggs, this roll-away nest box is a good solution. The eggs your chickens lay in this box won’t fall on the floor and break. There’s fake grass on the bottom partition that separates the nest section from the egg section. Genius indeed!
7. Repurposed Mailbox Nesting Box
Instead of tossing your old mailbox in the trash, give it new life by turning it into a nesting box for your chickens. This plan is very easy as it only involves cutting the back off the mailbox and giving it a fresh coat of paint. Your eggs will be delivered via first-class mail when you have this nest box in your coop!
8. DIY Chicken Nesting Box
|Tools:||Saw, drill, clamps|
The DIY Chicken Nesting Box is a fun project that you can build from a single large piece of plywood and a few screws, so it is extremely inexpensive. Once you cut the boards, you can make it relatively quickly, like in a day or two. The author explains each step in the video, so it’s easy to follow, and there are even tips on getting it ready for the chickens.
9. $3 Chicken Nesting Box
|Materials:||5-gallon bucket, screws, washers|
The $3 Chicken Nesting Box is a great project for anyone looking to keep costs down. You only need a 5-gallon bucket and a few washers, so you might already have the materials in your home. The author uses a jigsaw to create a perfect nesting box for a chicken in just a few minutes, and you can likely build several in a single day, which includes installation. Since you don’t need any special tools, it’s also a good project for a beginner.
10. Multiple Chicken Nesting Box
|Materials:||5-gallon buckets, boards, nails|
The Multiple Chicken Nesting Box project uses 5-gallon buckets to create an inexpensive nesting box, and this plan is suitable for multiple chickens. The buckets are easy to shape, but you need to build a stand to hold them, which will require a bit of woodworking. It is fairly simple, though, and a beginner should be able to complete the stand in a day or two.
11. Cheap & Easy DIY Nesting Box
|Materials:||Square stacking bin|
The Cheap and Easy DIY Nesting Box is an incredibly easy-to-build project that you can complete without using any tools. It requires square stacking bins that you can purchase online. They already have a built-in entrance, so you only need to fill them with comfortable material to get them ready for use. It’s also easy to add more nesting boxes as you need them.
12. Multiple Nesting Box Styles
|Materials:||Plastic food crates, boards, pie shavings, 5-gallon bucket|
The Multiple Nesting Box Styles project shows you how to build two styles of nesting boxes in the same video. The first uses common plastic food crates that you can likely find inexpensively at your local grocery store and plywood that you can cut with any saw. The second option uses a 5-gallon bucket, similar to other projects on this list, but uses a unique method of cutting the pail that some birds might prefer. Either project is easy enough for a beginner and won’t take too long to complete.
13. Rolling Nesting Boxes
|Materials:||Wood, plywood, wood glue, nails|
|Tools:||Saw, drill, hammer|
The Rolling Nesting Boxes plan is a bit of an advanced build that creates large nesting boxes that your chickens can use. It also has a unique design that helps the eggs roll away after the chicken lays them, which helps keep them lean and prevents egg eating. The author clearly explains and demonstrates each step in a video, so you can follow along easily, and multiple helpful tips are included at the end.
14. Simple DIY Nesting Box
|Tools:||Saw, drill, level|
The Simple DIY Nesting Box is a great project for beginner woodworkers and only requires a few angled cuts to complete. The author builds the box on camera, so it is easy to follow along, and you won’t need many specialized tools. You can customize it to fit the number of chickens that you have, and it’s quite durable and will likely last several seasons.
15. $5 Chicken Nesting Box
|Materials:||Rubbermaid tote, pine shavings|
The $5 Chicken Nesting Box plan uses a Rubbermaid tote to create the nest quickly and inexpensively, with only a box cutter to make an entrance hole. The finished project is durable enough to last several seasons and is much easier to clean than many other options on this list.
Building your own chicken nesting boxes for your hens doesn’t need to cost a lot or be hard to do. There are all kinds of plans out there that will walk you through the entire process. Hopefully, you’ve found an idea above that gives you some inspiration!
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