How Many Nesting Boxes For 20 Chickens (+Calculator)
Hens use their nesting boxes solely to lay eggs and love the private and secluded place they have for themselves. But how many nesting boxes should you install with a rather large flock? Is it necessary to provide one nesting box per hen? Or is less, even in chickens’ nesting boxes, more?
Let’s find out how many nesting boxes to provide for 20 chickens and more.
How many nesting boxes for 20 chickens?
For 20 chickens, it’s best to provide 5 to 7 nesting boxes. A rule of thumb is to provide one nesting box per 3 to 4 hens. You’ll have more flexibility if your flock is bigger than 25 chickens; one nesting box per 6 hens will suffice.
Check out our ‘Coop Size & Nesting Box Calculator’ to see how much space to provide for your hens, plus the number of nesting boxes to install.
We’ll get you started with an easy summary of the nesting boxes to provide, depending on the number of chickens you own.
|Number of chickens (hens)||Amount of nesting boxes|
|1 – 3||1 (preferably 2 if you have the space)|
|4||1 – 2|
|5 – 6||2|
|7 – 8||2 – 3|
|10 – 12||3 – 4|
|13 – 15||4 – 5|
|16||4 – 6|
|17 – 18||5 – 6|
|19 – 20||5 -7|
|21||6 – 7|
|22 – 24||6 – 8|
|25||7 – 9|
|… More||Minimum 10|
Next to the number of chickens you’re planning to keep, it also depends from breed to breed how many nesting boxes to provide. Hens with high egg production, such as Leghorns, will go inside the nesting boxes daily. In contrast, ornamental chickens will only lay once or twice a week, significantly decreasing egg production during winter.
Check out our ‘Breed Page’ to see which breeds are the best egg layers and which are primarily ornamental. If you’re planning to keep mostly ornamental birds that only lay up to 100-150 eggs yearly, you won’t need as many nesting boxes as if you’re keeping Leghorns.
Do you need one nesting box per hen?
No. It isn’t necessary to provide one box per hen, as they won’t always lay on the same day or at the same time. You’ll notice that they have a favorite nesting box and instead queue up to wait for their preferred nesting box to be available rather than taking another one.
Hens often share nesting boxes, although they like privacy when laying eggs. When another hen is in a favorite nesting box, it’s not that uncommon they don’t seem to mind sharing one. If you see this happening, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to provide more nesting boxes. There are plenty to choose from; they prefer that particular box.
How big should nesting boxes be?
For medium-sized chickens, the most followed guideline is 12″x12″x12″ inch. Small breeds like Silkies can have smaller boxes, but large breeds like Orpingtons and Brahmas need bigger nesting boxes, especially in height. Therefore, a guideline of 14″x14″x14″ is better to keep in mind when planning to keep various breeds.
A 12 to 14-inch height can seem relatively small, especially with giant chickens. If that is the case in your backyard flock, consider increasing the height to 20 inches. Not covering the nesting box is another option you can keep in mind.
Best Bedding inside a Nesting Box
When it comes to providing a safe and comfortable space for your chickens to lay their eggs, choosing the right bedding is crucial. The bedding inside the nesting box must be soft, cushioned, and absorbent to prevent egg breakage and keep the area clean.
There are several bedding options available for nesting boxes, including nesting box pads, straw, hemp, and wood shavings. Find out all about nesting box bedding in our in-depth comparative article: Best Bedding for a Nesting Box.
For 20 chickens, it’s best to provide 5 to 7 nesting boxes. A rule of thumb is to provide one nesting box per 3 to 4 hens. It isn’t necessary to provide one box per hen, as they won’t always lay on the same day or at the same time. You’ll have more flexibility if your flock is bigger than 25 chickens; one nesting box per 6 hens will suffice.
Credits Featured Image: @sylvia0223 (IG)