If you have decided to raise chickens, you might be happy to know that a DIY chicken nesting box is easier to make than you think. You might think it is expensive, time-consuming, or difficult – but it really isn’t.
This is why I have prepared some tips and tricks for you to make your own. I am also including a list of more than 15 chicken nesting box hacks to inspire you.
Why Make Chicken Nesting Boxes?
In another post, I discussed a DIY Chicken Tractor that was handmade at home and on a budget. In that project, a nesting box was salvaged. This made the cost of the chicken coop much more affordable.
However, if you didn’t follow our last project and have it on the side, the following tricks are still very useful. We always try to find the best solutions for tight budgets.
While putting out a box and stuffing some hay inside might seem like a fairly simple task, that’s not quite enough. Having a “home” for your chickens to lay their eggs in can make all the difference. The good news is that it is possible to build a chicken coop and save money while doing it. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks for doing many DIY projects while on a tight budget. Homemade chicken coops and nesting boxes are no exception to that rule!
Now, we’re going to share that valuable, cost-cutting knowledge with you, and we’re sure your bank account will thank us. Finally, here are 19 ideas for building DIY nesting boxes that both you and your chickens will love.
19 DIY Chicken Nesting Box Ideas
Here are the different types of nesting boxes you can make yourself.
1. Dishpan Boxes
I liked this one because it’s a simple box construction, but the actual nesting boxes are made from dishpans with the front cut out.
You could even do this with small litter boxes that are deep, depending on how big the frame is. You can do a deeper version of this with a Rubbermaid storage container, too.
2. Milk Crate Chicken Boxes
Here is a milk crate idea that would be reasonably easy to put together in a configuration that works best for your space. Also, if you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends, you’ll know that milk crates are one of the hottest things in the market at the moment.
Why? Because they are such versatile accessories that can be used for multiple purposes. Moreover, they are also eco-friendly, made with recycled plastic, and extremely durable. What makes plastic crates even more attractive is that they are extremely cheap to purchase. You’ll find cheap plastic milk crates for sale and you won’t have to compromise on quality or your chickens’ comfort.
3. Book Shelf DIY Chicken Laying Boxes
This box system is a great, easy idea that can be made from scrap lumber, easily. Or consider using an old bookshelf for the sides.
4. Plastic Storage Crate
Here’s a great way to use plastic storage crates to create a chicken coop nesting box. Also, to design a place the chickens can easily get in and out of, we suggest adding a step. Doing so helps to keep the area clean and is a great guide to easier living for the chickens.
5. Geometric DIY For Chicken
Can you imagine how cool this would look painted with some chicken-friendly paint applied.
6. Wood Barrel Planter
Sometimes, a wine barrel is just the perfect spot for a nesting box away from the rest of the crowd. The intimacy will be surely rewarded!
7. Dollar Spot Nesting ‘Boxes’
And of course, you can go with something quite simple and inexpensive. If you are comfortable with them on the floor, this is a very cheap solution.
8. HVAC for Chicken
I tried, but I couldn’t find the source for this photo. Honestly, I tried. I’m anal like that. I found it pinned quite a few times, but no source is given, and even doing a Google search on the image netted nothing.
So to whoever took this photo and uploaded it to the web, I thank you for the clever hack!
9. Kitty Litter Pan
Here’s a straightforward, almost-ready put-together box for your best nesting box made with a kitty litter pan set.
10. Kitty Litter Container 2
Go from the litter box to the litter box container! There are a few versions of this out on the ingenious web, including an entire wall full of them, but here’s the simple idea of how to use these kinds of containers and upcycle them into a home for your chickens.
11. Upcycled Furniture Chicken
Reusing furniture that you can’t use for its regular purpose is a great idea! Upcycling at its finest!
Moreover, that’s a fancy bedroom for all your feathered friends. You can go even further and decorate and paint these DIY nesting boxes a little.
12. Egg Roll Idea
I ran across this one and thought….GENIUS!
This is especially great if it’s for egg eaters or other issues for your eggs, but this is even better for building your box where each floor sits at a slight angle as this can help your eggs roll to the front box, keeping them from being eaten by your chicken, and cleaner in the process.
Now, whether you want to let your chicken lay on an astroturf is a whole other issue.
13. 5 Gallon Bucket Chicken Nesting Boxes
These 5-gallon buckets are not only good for food storage essentials and paint but nesting boxes as well! You can pick them up at grocery stores, restaurants, DIY stores, and other places. Also, it is a good way to recycle some buckets that, in the end, would have ended up in the trash.
14. Toy Storage Furniture Idea
Yes, yes, I know this isn’t a nesting box, but this is where the hack comes in! Anna White has a great DIY toy bin tutorial that is PERFECT for making some nesting boxes. Go, get her plans now!
Here’s a smaller version of it, without all the preschool toys, which may make it easier to imagine.
15. Tractor Tire Chicken Nesting Boxes
Now, some may argue against the idea of using old tires for anything like raising animals or food; it’s still an idea for any of you who want to run with it.
16. Wire Organizer Rack Box
This particular hack is a frame with a hinged door, and the ‘cage’ is a wire organizer rack that you can get from many hobby shops/sewing stores. This box is often used for organizing and storage.
You can configure this to a few different sizes/shapes, but this works perfectly for a chicken coop. They’ve also cut a few bits out of the back so that they can easily reach in to get the eggs.
17. Wine Crate DIY Chicken Nesting Boxes
Would you like some wine with your eggs? That’s surely one of the most creative ways to create nice bedrooms for your feathered friends. Moreover, you have the chance to recycle some old wine boxes, that most probably would have ended up in the trash.
18. Concrete Tube Form Box Idea
Leigh and her husband from 5acresandadream did some dumpster diving and found concrete tube forms. They painted them and repurposed them for their nesting boxes.
19. Dining Room Chair for Chicken
Last, but certainly not least. Can you imagine the cutest little garden area where your coop has a few chairs outside on the patio so that those who would like to lay alfresco can do so? Instead of filling this with dirt to plant, make it a nesting box!
Here’s another idea that takes a little imagination, but you CAN create it apartment from old kitchen cabinet doors!
How to Build Nesting Boxes for Chickens Tutorial
If you want to learn more about building nesting boxes for chickens, then we have some helpful tips for you. Most importantly, you should have a safe and calm place for the chickens to lay their eggs. Bear in mind that you can build it for chickens that are personalized for you and your budget, so everyone will have different creations.
The Exterior of The DIY Boxes
- First, choose a clean and quiet spot in your garden that is free from any dirt, such as cat litter. You’ll need different amounts of DIY nesting boxes for chickens depending on the number of animals you have. For example, for every two to four hens, you’ll need one. You may find that your chickens start investigating this new place and bedding to get familiar with this new territory.
- Next, your chicken should be able to comfortably stand up in the box. 12 x 12 x 12 inches is a good size for egg production and for them to sleep in. If you’re unsure of the size, egg-laying chickens should have a bigger box, rather than a smaller one.
- Then, fill the box with a material to prevent broken eggs. Wood shavings and straw shavings are great resources for this, but you can also use grass (although you’ll need a larger pile of grass to prevent broken eggs).
- To design a place the chickens can easily get in and out of, we suggest adding a step. Doing so helps to keep the area clean and is a great guide to easier living for the chickens. For example, you don’t want a pile of bedding dragged in and out of the box each time a chicken leaves.
- Ideally, chickens shouldn’t sleep on top of the box at night, as this makes the area harder to clean. To prevent this, angle the top of your box so they won’t sleep on top at night.
- Finally, for the ultimate backyard egg production, start gathering eggs that are fake and lay them in the box to encourage the chickens’ egg production in this area. Plastic eggs are a great example.
The Interior of the Chicken Nesting Boxes
We’ve focused a lot on the exterior of the nesting boxes, but the interior is just as important, if not more, for poultry health. You can use many materials, such as straw, grass, hay, and wood shavings.
- Bear in mind the chicken’s comfort, and how much time and willpower you have to clean up any mess. For example, shredded paper isn’t easy to clean, and eggs tend to stick to this material.
- Not only is this a messy job, but you could break new eggs. Most importantly, the bottom of the nest should be covered with a soft material so your chickens will want to lay fresh eggs in there.
- Chickens don’t like messy nesting boxes. Remove any droppings or mess that you see, including elements of broken eggs. You shouldn’t leave a mess in a box for more than one day, as this allows more time for accidents to happen. You can even get parasites inside of the box if you don’t keep it clean. The filthier the environment, the less likely a chicken will want to lay eggs in there.
- Another way you can spruce up the interior of a nesting box is by adding lavender and other relaxing herbs. This will make it smell more pleasant for you as you visit the coop and provide a relaxing environment for your chickens. Certain herbs keep insects away too. Thyme and mint are great options for this task.
How High to Put DIY Boxes For Chickens
Choosing the right spot for your chickens to lay eggs is essential.
- We recommend positioning the box no more than 18 inches off the floor.
- If you place them any higher, the boxes can be difficult to clean, but they should also be higher than where they sleep, as you want a different spot for these duties.
- One way you can manipulate the box’s height is by adding ladders.
What Is the Best Material for Nesting Boxes for Chickens?
Before you start building nesting boxes for chickens, you should consider the array of materials and which one is best for your animals. There are many to choose from, and you shouldn’t just pick one that is easier to clean, but also choose a great spot for your chickens to sleep.
Metal Boxes for Chickens
First, metal nesting boxes for chickens are quick and easy to clean. This material is solid and durable, therefore will last many years for egg-laying cycles.
However, you should remain cautious that metal can bake fresh eggs in the summer heat. Therefore, be conscious of which spot you store the chickens’ nesting boxes, as well as the season in your country.
Metal can also be dangerous for poultry health, so we recommend avoiding this material in the heat. However, a major benefit of this material is that it’s great for chicks who tend to nibble on the corners of their box.
Wood Nesting Boxes for Chickens
Another potential material is wood. This is less durable than other materials and needs replacing more often, so bear this in mind with your budget.
Wood also makes for cheap nesting boxes for chickens as the material is inexpensive. Wood makes gathering eggs easier because if an egg breaks, it doesn’t stick to this material. As you can easily adjust and cut wood, this is an ideal material to make at home if you’re inexperienced.
Galvanized Steel Bins for Chicken
Finally, galvanized steel bins are useful if you have more than a handful of chickens, as keeping the boxes close together makes them quicker and easier to clean.
I hope you found this article helpful!
Do you have any experience with making a homemade nesting box for your chickens? We would love to hear what you have to say so please feel free to drop a comment.
Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.
She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.
Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).
Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.
Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.
Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.
She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.