Keeping happy chickens increases egg count and egg quality. This does not only mean the right feed and a large chicken coop and run. They must feel secure and comfortable.
How to achieve this?
Build separate Nesting Boxes and place them well
Chickens are social animals and social animals need privacy. This is no joke! Studies proves that chickens in separate nesting boxes lay more and cleaner eggs. Communal nesting areas bring a certain degree off stress, some chickens seek ’shelter’ and build a nest in a corner on the floor.
Result: dirty eggs, straw all over the place and in some cases the chickens eat their own eggs. This we do not want.
Here are some suggestions for nestboxes.
The lazy box: A cardboard box does the trick. Make sure you have the bottom side covered so the straw and the eggs stay inside the box. Weak spot: They get ruined easily.The paid solution: A farm store sells nesting boxes for 10-15 bucks a piece.
As I am a DIY kind of guy, this is not an option for me. Weak spot: They cost too much.Plastic crates: Milk crates or beer crates make great nestboxes. Cut out the inside of the crates and put straw in them. Easy fix. Good feature: A plastic crate can be easily hung to a wall.
The proper DIY nestbox: Takes a bit of work and wood, but in my opinion this is the best solution. This is more of a practical thing. Make sure they are easily accessed. A hatch behind the boxes for easy egg collecting is a good idea.
Also see to it that the boxes are not in a dirty place in the coop. Of course ventilation is vital. An elevated nestbox can be a good plan. This way the airflow in the coop is optimal.
Finally, always see that the boxes are filled with plenty of straw and that they have a rim to keep everything inside the box. Clean regularly.
Tip: put a plastic tray at the bottom of the box for easy cleaning.