So far of all the nest boxes I have tested (and I have tested almost all of the one's available. in stores and online) the roll out nest box with a curtain is the best-by far. Hens simply get in the nest, lay their egg and it rolls into a covered tray. See the advantages of using roll out nest boxes, how I got my hens to use them, and best buys below.
This is the Roll Out Nest Box I use & Why
Even tho, I have a lot of chickens, I prefer the single roll out nest boxes rather than the roll away community nest box because cleaning the nest box is much easier for me because I can do one nest box at a time. The community roll out nest boxes work just as well as the single ones. However, if you are an older person or have arthritis (like me) moving a large tray of nest boxes at one time for cleaning can be difficult. This single nest box can be attached to a wall or stands alone on a shelf. I don't attach mine to the wall but I make sure I put it on a shelf at a height that is comfortable for me to reach, put a ladder so the hens can get up to it and get down without harming their legs or feet, and make sure there is at least six to 8 inches of room on the shelf in front of the nest box drawer so the hens can easily turn and climb in. Cleaning this nest box is a breeze. I shake the pad out and wipe the nest box out with a fiber free wash cloth, warm water and dish soap after I remove the daily eggs. Once a month I give it a good scrub down, clean the curtain, and hose down all the nesting pads.
Advantages of Using Roll out nest boxes
I noticed several advantages of using roll out nest boxes over traditional designed nest boxes right away.
- The nest box stays cleaner and is easier to clean
- No broken eggs
- Hens don't peck at the eggs
- Hens can't sleep on the eggs at night
- Eggs stay cleaner
- Nest box does not get infested with mites or lice
How I got my hens to use roll out nest boxes
The best way to get your hens to use your roll out nest box is to remove all other kinds of nest boxes from the coop. If you cannot replace all of the nest boxes with roll out nest boxes here are a few ways to get your hens to use them.
- Make sure you get the kind with a plastic curtain or make curtains for the box and leave them open so the hens can see inside.
- Put a small amount of bedding (the kind you usually use) inside the nest box. After your hens start using the box you can stop using the bedding and just use the rubber mat (pad). Most roll out nest boxes usually come with a removable rubber pad that imitates grass or nesting material. (This pad can easily be removed, washed, and returned to the nest box in minutes).
- Use some non toxic school glue and glue a fake egg to the center of the pad. The hens will see the egg and start using the nest box. (I would have removed the fake egg after the hens start using the nest box but my hens decided to kick it out themselves).