Does Each Chicken Need a Nesting Box?

You don’t have to install a nesting box for every hen in your flock. However, the nesting boxes shouldn’t be too few for your hens. Having too few nesting boxes can make the hens constantly fight over nesting boxes each time a hen wants to lay, and she finds another hen in the nesting box.

How Many Nesting Boxes Should You Get?

Nesting boxes are crucial for chicken keepers with egg-laying hens. Having an inadequate number of nesting boxes can be problematic. Having too many nesting boxes can also deny your birds ample living space, mainly if they live entirely in the coop.

Ideally, one nesting box can serve four egg-laying hens. Nonetheless, you need at least six boxes if you have several young egg-laying hens because young hens lay pretty a lot and thus need somewhere comfortable to lay their eggs.

The nesting boxes should be square, though roomy enough to accommodate every laying hen irrespective of her size. Simply put, the more hens you have in your flock, the more nesting boxes you need to ensure each hen has a box to lay.

Can Chickens Share the Same Nest Box?

Yes, chickens can share the same nesting box. Every hen in your flock doesn’t necessarily need her box to lay eggs. Most chickens can easily share nesting boxes, while some will squabble over nesting boxes.

Consider how many egg-laying hens you have in the flock, and then divide the number of hens by four to find how many boxes you require to install in the coop.

While every chicken doesn’t need a separate nesting box, having a few nest boxes can make your chickens indulge in nest wars and unnecessary fights. Such fights can break most of the chicken eggs over time.

What Happens if You Don’t Have Enough Nest Boxes?

Having enough nesting boxes is vital for anyone keeping egg-laying hens. Some chicken keepers ignore the importance of having enough nesting boxes. Nevertheless, too few nesting boxes can be disastrous. Here is what will probably happen if you don’t have enough nesting boxes for your chickens.

– Chickens will Fight Over Nest Boxes

Your hens will keep on fighting over nesting boxes if there are only a couple of nesting boxes in the coop. Fights will be more serious when several hens want to lay in the boxes, yet they can’t find enough boxes to lay.  The strongest and the oldest hens will always have the upper hand in such fights. They will dominate the younger hens, further discouraging them from laying accordingly.

– Chickens will Start Laying on the Floor

Timid hens aren’t brave to fight with other hens over nesting boxes. Such hens will opt to lay their eggs on the ground rather than wait for other hens to lay. Laying on the ground can make the eggs too dirty. Furthermore, laying on the ground increases the risk of other chickens breaking and sometimes eating the eggs.

– Discourage Your Hens From Laying Effectively

Hens are fascinating creatures. They will lay their eggs when the circumstances are favorable for them to lay. Hens will also delay laying if the conditions aren’t suitable for their laying needs.  Your hens won’t lay eggs effectively if they lack a convenient place to lay. Instead, your birds will delay laying, which ultimately affects their egg production over time.

– Egg Collection Will be Problematic

The reason why we install nesting boxes in our coops isn’t only to give our chicken somewhere to lay. We also install boxes to make it easier to collect eggs.

Without enough nesting boxes in the coop, your hens will lay everywhere, even in tricky places where you can’t quickly notice the eggs. Therefore, you will have challenges collecting all the eggs since you will have to carefully search for the eggs all over the coop, particularly when some of the hens are laying in tricky places.

Can Chickens Lay Eggs on The Ground?

Chickens prefer laying in nesting boxes. However, it is not unusual for some hens to lay their eggs on the ground. Several factors prompt chickens to lay on the ground, other than in nesting boxes.

Having fewer nesting boxes, for instance, can make hens opt to lay on the floor instead of fighting with other hens over nesting boxes. Hens can also lay on the ground if they find the nesting boxes uncomfortable or dirty.

Nest location can make chickens lay on the ground. Most hens will only lay in a box if it is at a convenient location. Hens prefer to lay in a private, quiet place with no distractions from the usual flock activities.

Having nesting boxes in an inconvenient place will encourage your hens to lay on the ground. Install nesting boxes at the corner of your chicken coop since having boxes in such places will protect your egg-laying hens from disruptions from their flock mates.

Inaccessible nests also encourage hens to lay on the ground. Boxes shouldn’t be too high for your hens to climb in and out at their convenience. Nests that are too high are inaccessible to hens. Instead of struggling to lay in such boxes, the hens will opt to lay on the ground, which ultimately soils the eggs.

Nest size also makes some chickens lay on the ground. If the nesting box is too small, your hens won’t fit comfortably as they lay. If it is too broad, it won’t give your hens that feeling of protection they need to lay in peace.

What is the Best Nesting Box Size for Chickens?

The ideal nesting boxes for chickens should be 12 inches wide, 12 inches long, and 12 inches high. This size gives your hens ample space to lay while ensuring they are comfortable.


Although every chicken doesn’t need a nesting box, it helps to provide enough nesting boxes for your egg-laying hens. Besides having enough boxes, ensure the nesting boxes are comfortable enough for your hens, lest they lay their eggs on the ground.

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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