Place the nesting box in a low-traffic part of the coop.,
Install the nesting box two or three feet (0.6-0.9 meters) off the ground.,
Consider building the cabinet into the outside wall of the hen house.,
Build a roost bar and a protective lip at the entrance of the nesting box.,
Introduce the chickens to the nesting box.,
Keep any eye on the box.
Finding a good location is imperative when installing nesting boxes. Place nests in the least-traveled part of the coop to prevent disturbances while hens are laying.
, This will discourage predators from invading, and it will prevent debris from collecting on the floor of the coop. You can prop it up on bricks, cinder-blocks, or tightly-pressed earth; nail it to the wall or hang it from the ceiling; put it onto (sturdy) stilts, or nail together a simple wooden base.
Make sure that the nest boxes aren’t so high that the hens have a hard time accessing them. If the nest boxes are higher than the roosts, you’ll have hens sleeping inside the nest boxes.
, Arrange the six-inch-wide back-panel door to face inward, and set the “front” of the cabinet facing outside. This way, you will be able to open both cabinet doors from outside the hen house., Put a roost bar or step in front of the entrance for the chickens to jump up onto. Make sure that there is space for the chickens to clutch the roost with their talons. Use a 2×4 plank, an old broomstick, or any sturdy wooden pole.
Add a “lip” to the front of the nesting box to keep the bedding material and/or eggs from being pushed out: affix a small (2-5 inches high) piece of wood to the front so the eggs do not fall if the chickens move.
, Encourage chickens to use nesting boxes by placing plastic eggs or golf balls in the nests to simulate recently-laid eggs. You should collect the eggs daily, but bear in mind that chickens are more likely to add to an existing clutch of eggs than to start a new one. Keep boxes clean, and do not disturb laying chickens. Once nesting boxes are accepted as a safe and serene laying site, chickens will return daily without prodding.
To introduce chickens to the nesting box, try putting them in the box at night, when they are blind. They will find their way out in the morning when they are all calm and at ease. This way, they won’t forget where to find it later on.
Nesting boxes are not meant to be used for sleeping. Encourage your chickens to use nests only for laying.
, If your hens aren’t using the nesting box, figure out where else they are laying their eggs. Try to understand why they aren’t using the nesting box. Consider comfort, safety, and ease of access. Perhaps the box is too small; too high off the ground; too open; too dirty. Make any adjustments that seem necessary to set your chickens at ease.