How to build nest boxes for poultry

Written by julia margaret
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How to build nest boxes for poultry
Build an A-frame nest box if you want to get elaborate. (chicken chat image by Mr Marshall from

If you plan to raise poultry in your backyard, assemble the basics before buying the chickens. The first items you need are a chicken coop and nest boxes. Plan on building one nest box for every two chickens. Make your nest boxes as elaborate or simple as you want. Some backyard chicken raisers prefer to make simple nest boxes and save the creativity for building the chicken coop. Others prefer to build simple coops and nest boxes and concentrate most of their energy on the art of raising chickens.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plywood
  • Wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Drill
  • Retractable tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Yard stick
  • Saw

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  1. 1

    Determine what size nest box you need. Build at least a 12-inch square nest box for average size hens, but keep in mind a 12-inch by 18-inch box or a 16-inch by 16-inch box works best. Whatever the size of your chickens, the boxes need to be big enough for the hens to turn around inside and stand up if you include a roof.

  2. 2

    Cut the wood. Measure your first 14-inch by 14-inch piece of wood with a retractable tape measure or yard stick. Draw your cutting lines for accuracy in cutting. Use the saw to cut along the lines. Measure and cut four more pieces of this size, as well as a 14-inch by 4-inch piece. If you don't want to cut the pieces yourself, check with a home improvement store to see whether it provides cutting services for free or a small fee.

  3. 3

    Apply a line of wood glue on the outside edge of one of the 14-inch-square pieces of wood, and lay the piece flat on the worktable. Press the edge of another piece of wood against the glue edge. This piece of wood will stand up at a 90 degree right angle. Butt a block of wood, brick or books up against the standing piece of wood. This holds it in place while the glue dries.

  4. 4

    Spread glue on two edges of the next piece of wood and secure in place with a brick or other material. Two sides of the box now exist. Continue until the other two sides of the box are in place. A complete box now sits on its bottom. Allow the glue to dry according to the label directions.

  5. 5

    Drill three wood screws to the first glued side of the box. Continue adding screws around the bottom and up the side of the box to secure it. Use your own judgment as to the number of screws needed. Turn the box over to one side. Take the 14-inch by 4-inch piece of wood and run a line of glue on the bottom and up the sides. Apply it to the bottom of the open side of the box. You may screw this piece of wood into place without waiting for the glue to dry. Set the box down on the side with the lip. The chicken will step up over the lip into the box to lay eggs.

Tips and warnings

  • If possible, recycle wood you or friends may have.
  • Cat litter boxes with lids make usable nesting boxes.
  • Always use caution when working with tools. Keep children clear of your workspace.

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