Chicken Nest Box Buying Guide
Hello and welcome to Stromberg’s Chicks and Gamebirds guide to buying a chicken nest box.
Not every nest box is created equally and this guide is here to discuss the differences between the nest boxes. We carry many different styles and as with many of our product lines we like to carry a deep breadth of products to meet your needs. So this guide will be how you can distinguish them from one another and choose the right nest box for your chickens.
Nest Boxes Quick Facts
- You need one for every four to five hens.
- They should be easy to clean.
- They should be kept in the darkest quietest part of your chicken coop to encourage laying.
- A proper nest box can get birds laying in the “right spot”.
Questions Answered by this article
- What is a good construction material for a nest box?
- What is the difference between a standard and a roll out nest?
- What is the difference between a front roll out nest and a rear roll out nest?
- How many nest boxes do you need for your chicken coop?
- What makes for a good nest box perch?
- What type of nest pads do you use in a nest box?
Why do we sell plastic and metal nest boxes?
The nests we sell are have plastic nest bottoms with metal or plastic construction for the body of the nest. The reason why we do not focus on wooden nest boxes is simple.. they are hard to clean and harbor bacteria.
While this might not be a large concern to the beginner hobbyist chicken raiser it, is a concern for us. We at Stromberg’s feel that good sanitation leads to better results for your flock. The easiest way to do this in the nest box is with the materials. The plastic material can be cleaned. Wood nest boxes can be cleaned but can still harbor bacteria that can be harmful to the eggs and to your birds.
The bottom line is if you are going to go through the trouble of cleaning your nest boxes, don’t you want them clean? The best way to prevent a disease issue in a flock is sanitation, so we want to make it easier.
Roll Out or Non Roll Out Nest Boxes
What is a roll out nest vs. a standard nest box?
If you have laying hens you will need nest boxes. Standard nest boxes are what we are all familiar with. They are the simplest in design. They are simply a box that has a perch for the birds to jump up on and a have a lip on the front so the eggs can not roll out. We sell a variety of styles of these to fit your coop. See our selection here:Standard Nest Boxes
A roll out nest is very similar to the standard, however, instead of the nest laying flat the nest is inclined. The incline allows the egg to “roll” into a compartment for safe keeping until you come in and harvest the eggs. Here is our selection of roll out nest boxes Roll Out Nest Boxes and Big Bird Nest Boxes,
Now that I know what a roll out nest is, why do I need one in my coop?
I recommend a roll out nest to our customers for a few reasons, but first let me explain what a roll out nest is in detail:
Roll out nest boxes are a nest box with an inclined nest. Once the egg has been laid and the chicken leaves. The egg is free to move, since there is an incline, it will roll down the nest and into a small compartment to await your collection.
The first reason to get a roll out nest is that chickens can start EATING THEIR OWN EGGS!!! How are you supposed to enjoy your breakfast if the girls enjoyed it before you collect the eggs?
We at Stromberg’s get called frequently and are asked what a customer can do to prevent egg eating.
There are many reasons why egg eating starts:
- Not enough nesting boxes.
- Overcrowding your birds.
- Nutritional deficiencies leading to soft eggs (which then break and the birds eat them).
- Not enough nesting boxes.
For whatever reason they start eating eggs they keep doing it for the same reasons I keep eating eggs…. they are nutritious and delicious. Once they have started eating eggs it is very hard to get them to stop (once again, just like me!!).
A very simple and effective method is to simply remove the temptation. If you have a roll out nest the eggs are hidden away safe from the egg eating hens…. Problem solved!
The next reason that I suggest roll out nests is SANITATION (a recurring theme). If you have been raising chickens long enough you know the birds can make a mess of their nest boxes. The last thing you want to be eating is an egg that is caked in waste or has been sitting in waste for hours before collection.
With a roll out nest box the egg is rolled into the compartment which is covered and protected from getting waste into it.
Eggs are porous so they can absorb some of the moisture that makes up that waste. Which I don’t think anyone would like to think about eating that.
A huge bonus is that your eggs will also need minimal washing if you have a rollout nest. This leaves the natural cuticle covering in place which is what protects the contents of the egg. Also, with less washing you will save TIME! So you can enjoy your chickens company instead of washing their cackleberries!
Front or Rear Roll Out
What is the difference between front and rear roll out nests?
We supply both front and rear roll out nests. This means the nest will roll either front towards the front of the nest to be collected or towards the rear.
Most people want front roll out nests. These are easier to install because you just hang them then collect from the front of the nest box. Rear rollout nest boxes need to be installed specifically for your coop. Since the eggs roll backwards you need to either cut a space behind the coop, or have a walkway behind the nests that allow for collection. The only nest box that allows that we offer that allows you to switch from front to rear roll out is the Single Hole Roll Out Nest Box.
Quantity of Nest Boxes
How many nest boxes do I need for my coop?
You need to get one nest for every 4-5 hens in your flock. To minimize the space needed we sell nest boxes that are side by side and are stacked. This way you can have the nests needed but do not need to take up a lot of space in the coop.
Nesting Box Perches
What makes for a good chicken nest box perch?
A good nesting box perch is sturdy enough so the birds can jump on and off of it especially if your nest boxes are up off of the ground, which they should be. The chickens need to use these to be able to jump up to the same level as the chicken nest box and then enter the nest box.
Some of our chicken nest boxes come with plastic perches. These plastic perches are nice for the same reson the plastic nest boxes are nice. They can be cleaned and sanitized easier than wood perches.
The next consideration for nest perches is if they are hinged to close off the nest boxes. Why would you want to close off the nest box? Chickens can develop bad habits like sleeping in the nest boxes. This can happen especially when your roosts are set up lower than the highest nest box. So what do you? The answer is simple close the nest boxes off and raise up your roosts. This should break the bad habit quickly.
We offer these style nest boxes with hinged perches to close them off.
- Standard Nest Boxes
- Single Hole Roll Out Nest Boxes
- Roll Out Nest Boxes
- Big Bird Nest Boxes
- Rear Roll Out Nest Boxes
The last thing you will need to look at is getting nesting material in your nest boxes. Look at this entry about nesting materials to find out the scoop on them!
So now you know the ins and outs of nest boxes. Hopefully, your girls are laying and your enjoying those delicious farm fresh eggs!!!
So keep on cracking,from all of us at Stromberg’s!!!