Chicken Nesting Boxes

chicken nesting boxesEgg laying chickens should have a comfortable place to sit and nest if you don’t want them to lay eggs here and there and everywhere. All pre-made chicken coops or chicken coop plans will include 12″x12″x12″ nesting boxes (one cubic foot), which is considered to be big enough for all sizes of laying hen.

A standard 5 gallon plastic bucket has a radius of 5.5″ and a depth of 14″, making its volume 0.76 cubic feet, which is close enough to keep most breeds of chicken happy!


You can see that 2/3 of the lid is cut away, leaving the bottom 1/3 intact, which is necessary to prevent the chickens from kicking all the straw all over the floor. Use wood shavings instead for the best bedding. The rubberized strip is important to protect those delicate chicken feet from getting scratched by the sharp plastic edge. I would probably use a segment of bike tube for my rubberized edge, bike shops give them away free by the dozens.

5 gallon bucket chicken nesting box

The back of the nesting box is screwed onto 2x4s which run the length of the coop. This ensures that they won’t roll around.

(Update) A reader has informed me that any breed of chicken will use these types of nesting boxes – even the very large Buff Orpington variety!

There’s many more ways to use buckets for chicken care. Check out these additional five gallon ideas:

Link: 5 gallon bucket chicken care posts.

chicken nesting boxes grid

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20 thoughts on “Chicken Nesting Boxes

  1. I don’t see a 5 gallon bucket booster seat listed on your ideas. They are great too.

    Thank you for the nesting box idea. I will be making them shortly.

      • Chicken nipples are great for chickens I also use them on my rabbits. I have a 5 gallon bucket mounted up high with 3/4″ pvc running down to the chicken coop with about 10 nipples drilled into the pvc. works great. I have the same thing in my rabbit cages. you can also use a toilet fill valve (8 to 10 bucks) to keep the bucket full at all times. :) that’s what I did

        • David, you’re dealing with a 75-yer-old woman here, so keep that in mind. :-)
          Do you fill the bucket “up high” with water on a daily basis or what? I don’t understand the toilet fill valve thingie. Sorry to be so uninformed.

  2. Sir Great Ideas on taking care of the chickens.
    We live in the city and we have 17 road island reds. We got them last Easter. My husband built a small pen since they have gotten bigger we are constantly watering and feeding which is a good thing. I would like to make feeders, etc using 5 gallon buckets but I do not know where to buy the 5 gal buckets. Please send me a quick email about where you bought them Thank you and my chickens (4 roosters and 13 girls) will thank you, too! Judy

    • Judy, check your local sandwich shops that give a pickle with the sandwich. They probably sell the leftover pickle buckets. If you have a Firehouse Subs in your area, they sell pickle buckets and the proceeds benefit the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. I hope that helps!

  3. By not screwing them in place it makes it easier to remove them to clean them to help prevent the spread of diesease and such, not yo mention knocking the pooh off intot he garden to help it garw veggies!

  4. Bakeries also have five-gallon buckets, often square (from icing). The square ones don’t roll, either which is good for nesting boxes. I get them for $1 each at the local Wal Mart bakery.

  5. We also have 2 cats we use tidy cat litter. When we use a bucket, we wash it. The lid already has a lip just cut off the larger side of the lid. They are more square but my chickens love them. And they are being recycled.

  6. I use shredded bills, junkmail, and anything paper, inside one of those green or black plastic milk boxes. I cover the nesting box with some extra heavy duty plastic so it is nice and cozy,I also have an self watering dog dish which the chickens and the dog both use

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  8. Pingback: 8 DIY Chicken Nesting Box Plans and Ideas – Cool DIYs

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