Backyard Poultry explains how to build a chicken nesting box and offers suggestions for different types of materials that can be re-purposed to make nesting boxes. Remove and Replace also provides plans for building a nesting box, with pictures showing the steps involved in the construction process. The Poultry Guide offers eight different plans for building a chicken nesting box.
Backyard Poultry advises building chicken nesting boxes out of materials that can be easily cleaned and sterilized. Finding materials that do not absorb chicken feces or cleaning products is an important consideration when constructing a nesting box.
Use sawdust, shredded paper or wood shavings to line nesting boxes. Grass clippings from a lawn that has not been chemically treated can also be used to line boxes. Rubber mats are also available for lining. These mats can usually be found at farm and feed stores or commercial supply houses. Straw and hay can be used to line boxes, but the boxes must be cleaned every four to six weeks to prevent mold. Because chickens rotate often, a thick nest lining is preferable to a sparse one.
Place nests within the chicken house to keep them safe from predators. Make sure the nests are easily accessible for collecting eggs and for cleaning. Chickens should not lay eggs outside on the ground, as the eggs have a coating that predators can detect. Place nests in the darkest part of the chicken house, away from outside activity, to discourage chickens from soiling the nests. A piece of burlap can be used in front of the nest as a barrier. Shoo a chicken out of the nest when it is loitering there.