Introducing a nest for laying hens in the poultry house is an excellent idea to adapt laying to their needs. It helps make them feel comfortable, allows them to collect eggs in less time while keeping them fresh and clean, and makes the hens more inclined to lay indoors instead of outdoors.
If the nest meets the hen’s needs, the hen “sings” to alert the others that the one she is in is a good place to lay eggs, which helps prompt the others to use the same hangout as well. In fact, hens tend to gather together to produce eggs in the same place. In this way, if a predator attacks a shared nest that has many eggs, there is a greater chance that at least one egg laid by each hen will survive the incursion (odds that drop in the case of fewer eggs all laid by one hen).
The nest can be purchased from third parties or be made by oneself.
A nest can be made from several pre-existing items, such as plastic containers, woven baskets, wooden chariots. Even a clean plastic bucket may be sufficient to house the hen and her chicks. An opening is made on the bucket and straw is placed in the bottom.
A wooden laying nest is suitable for groups of laying hens and helps generate a comfortable brooding environment. A single nest is suitable for poultry houses with few hens: you can opt for metal and plastic models of laying hen nests. To make sure there is enough space for all, it is best to introduce at least one nest for every 5 hens.
Nest for laying hens: what features it should have
A good nest for laying hens should be raised from the ground by at least 30 centimeters and set up in a place safe from moisture and drafts, intense noise, even better if it is immersed in half-light. To make it more inviting for the hens, we can place straw, untreated wood sawdust or dust-dusted shavings on the bottom, to be changed periodically as it becomes dirty.
To induce the hens to use the nests, they must clearly be free of mites, so we will do well to periodically check for mites and if so remove them. They should be stable, anchored shelters so that they do not tip over in strong winds, and have a 7-8 cm layer of straw or shavings to ensure comfortable laying.
Nests located outside prefabricated poultry houses wear out over time and increase the chances of rainwater seeping into them. If, for example, the lid of the nest no longer insulates the contents from water, you can arrange a waterproof sheet to the outside wall of the chicken coop by making it reach the ground, so that the entire structure is covered with it and thus insulated.