Do Ducks Need Nesting Boxes for Laying?

Ducks don’t necessarily need nesting boxes for laying, unlike chickens. However, it is good to have nesting boxes for your egg-laying duck hens to stop the hens from laying all over. Nesting boxes are also crucial for keeping your duck eggs clean since ducks can lay even in dirty spots.

Ducks prefer to make laying nests on the floor, and thus your duck hens will still make their laying nests even if you don’t have some nesting boxes around.

Are Chicken Nesting Boxes Good for Ducks?

No, chicken nesting boxes aren’t suitable for duck hens. Chicken nesting boxes are way high for ducks to lay inside the boxes. Unlike chickens, ducks prefer low nesting boxes since they can’t perch on high nesting boxes. Your duck hens won’t lay in chicken nesting boxes. Instead, the duck hens will make their laying nest on the floor of their coop.

How Many Nesting Boxes Should You Get?

Ducks frequently lay eggs like chickens. The number of nesting boxes you need for your duck hens depends on the number of egg-laying duck hens in your flock. Ideally, have at least one nesting box for four duck hens. You should have more laying boxes if you have several duck hens in your flock.

Where to Put the Nesting Boxes?

The position where you place nesting boxes is crucial since it can encourage or discourage your duck hens from laying. Consider putting the nesting boxes at the corners of the coop since ducks prefer laying in quiet places.

Put the nesting boxes in clean and dry areas to prevent the birds from soiling their eggs. If you have many egg-laying ducks, put the nesting boxes in one area of the coop to avoid littering the coop with nesting boxes, denying your ducks space to move around.

How to Make Your Ducks Lay in the Nesting Boxes?

Ducks can lay all over if they don’t find nesting boxes. Nonetheless, having your duck hens lay in nesting boxes will ensure you collect clean duck eggs. Check these tips on encouraging your duck hens to lay in the nesting boxes.

– Collect the Duck Eggs Regularly

Your duck hens won’t lay in nesting boxes if they find other duck eggs in the boxes. Instead, the ducks will opt to lay in other areas, such as the coop floor. Free-range duck hens will lay their eggs on the grass if they find eggs in their outdoor nesting boxes.

Collect your duck eggs frequently to encourage the ducks to lay in the empty nesting boxes. Collecting the duck eggs also helps keep the eggs safe and clean. Collect the duck eggs in the early morning hours since ducks lay like chickens and other domestic birds early in the morning.

– Have Sufficient Nesting Boxes

Having an insufficient number of nesting boxes can discourage your duck hens from laying in the nesting boxes. No duck will wait for the other duck to lay, it will search for somewhere else to lay. You will always find duck eggs everywhere if you don’t have enough nesting boxes. Consider having at least four nesting boxes for every duck hen in your flock.

– Put the Nesting Boxes on the Ground

Duck hens lay on the ground or floor since they can’t easily get into high nesting boxes. Have the nesting boxes on the ground since it will encourage your duck hens to lay in the boxes rather than on the coop floor.

– Put the Nesting Boxes in the Right Places

Ducks won’t lay in nesting boxes that are in the wrong places. For instance, ducks won’t be comfortable laying in nesting boxes that are in the middle of the coop, where other ducks are walking around.

You can either put the nesting boxes at the corners of the coop since ducks prefer laying in silent places where there are no disturbances or movements. Or you can place the nesting boxes in one area of the duck coop.

– Keep the Nesting Boxes Comfortable and Clean

Many duck owners assume that ducks are dirty birds. Nonetheless, ducks prefer laying in clean and comfortable places, and they will make their laying nests in clean and comfortable areas. Clean the nesting boxes frequently and also line the boxes with comfortable material such as old clothing to motivate the ducks to lay in nesting boxes.

DIY Nesting Box Ideas for Ducks

Making nesting boxes for your duck hens isn’t a challenging task. You can easily make the nesting boxes with ease. Check these DIY nesting box ideas for ducks.

– 5-Gallon Buckets

Gallon buckets can make wonderful nesting boxes for your ducks. Get some old 5-gallon buckets from a store and then cut the boxes a few inches from the bottom. Remember that ducks prefer low nesting boxes and thus cut the boxes low enough.

Nail the buckets on the corners of the coop or nail them on one area of the coop. Spread comfortable material to keep the ducks comfortable as they lay.

– Old Tiers

You can also make comfortable nesting boxes for your ducks from old tiers. Collect enough old tiers depending on the number of duck hens in your flock. Cut the surface of the tiers with a sharp knife. Cut the tiers low enough to make it easier for the ducks to get in and out of the nesting boxes.

Spread sawdust, wood shavings, or any material as long as the material is comfortable for your ducks. Place the tiers in convenient places where your ducks are free to lay.

– Plastic Milk Crates

Those old plastic milk crates in your backyard can make great nesting boxes for your ducks. Old plastic milk crates are easy to clean. They are also more comfortable for duck hens. Make the crates even more comfortable by putting old clothing inside the crates.

Furthermore, nail the crates on the coop walls to prevent the ducks from dragging the crates around as they get in and out of the crates.

– Old Wood Drawers

Old wood drawers make excellent nesting boxes for ducks, especially large egg-laying duck hens. The advantage of using old wood drawers is that you don’t have to cut anything. You need to put sawdust or clothing in the drawers to make comfortable nesting boxes for your duck hens.

Ensure you have the correct number of drawers to provide each duck with a nesting box. Also, place the drawers in strategic places where your ducks lay freely. Nonetheless, ensure the drawers aren’t too big or too deep for your ducks to climb in and out. You can cut the drawer with a saw if they are too deep for your duck hens.

– Old Wood Barrel

If you have some wood barrels lying around in your yard, you can convert them into nesting boxes for your ducks. Cut the wood barrels into halves and then cut each half with a saw until it is shallow enough to make a nice nesting box. Put the wood barrels in proper positions inside the duck coop.

Nesting boxes from old wood barrels are particularly suitable for free-range duck hens. You can place the barrels at every corner of your yard to provide your free-range duck hens with enough nesting boxes.

Ensure the nesting boxes from old wood barrels are dry throughout. Furthermore, make the nesting boxes comfortable either by lining them with old clothing or putting wood shavings or sawdust inside the boxes.

Can Chickens and Ducks Lay in Same Nesting Boxes?

No, chickens and ducks can’t lay in the same nesting boxes. Ducks prefer low nesting boxes, while chickens prefer high nesting boxes. Ducks will have challenges getting into chickens’ nesting boxes, discouraging the ducks from laying in the nests.


Ducks don’t necessarily need nesting boxes. These birds can make their laying nests on either the floor or on the ground. However, nesting boxes are vital for egg-laying duck hens since they help keep duck eggs safe and clean.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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