Skip to Content

Nesting Box Height: How High Should a Nesting Box Be?

Ensuring the right placement and height for a chicken nesting box is essential. This will confirm the effectiveness of the box.

Unless you want to go around the yard in search of eggs, you should make sure that the chickens have a comfortable nesting box so that all the eggs lay in a certain place.

In this article, we will discuss how high should a nesting box is and the many aspects associated with making the nesting box a comfortable place. So without further ado, let’s dive into it.

How high should a nesting box be?

A nesting box should be at least 18 inches high. And depending on the capacity that you’re trying to offer, it can be even a few feet high. But make sure that the nesting box is not the same height as the roosting bars, otherwise, the chickens may end up sleeping in the nesting box.

In order to encourage hens to lay eggs in the nesting boxes, you will need to ensure a comfortable and convenient structure for the box. You should ensure that the box is made of the right height and width as well.

There are some other factors that you will need to keep in mind when designing the right nesting box. Such as, you will need to ensure that it is a quiet and darkened place.

In addition, you will need to offer enough privacy for the hens inside the nesting box in order to allow them the comfort that they crave during the nesting period. And needless to say, the nesting box must be a safe place for them.

To confirm the right placement, find a place that is a bit isolated and not too busy. And as for the height of the nesting box, it should not be any less than 18 inches in height. But the height does not need to be limited.

Depending on the capacity that you are trying to offer, the nesting box can be a few feet high as well.

While there is no definitive regulation as to how many hens should reside in a nesting box, the general consensus is that one nesting box should not hold more than 7 hens. However, the average number, in this case, would be 5 hens per nesting box.

You may make the nesting box in a few levels, each level designed to hold a few hens. In that case, make sure that each level has enough height and width for the hens to nest comfortably.

The height and size of the hens also have an important role to play here. For an average-sized hen, the size of a level of nesting box should be about 12 inches high and 12 inches wide.

On the other hand, if you are taking care of larger hens, such as of the breeds Jersey Giants, then each level will need to be at least 12 inches high, and 14 inches wide.

Smaller hens can nest comfortably in a level measuring about 10 inches high and 12 inches wide.

Can nesting boxes be floor level?

Nesting boxes can definitely be floor level. But it is not advisable. You should be aware of a few issues that you might have to deal with if you build a nesting box that is of floor level.

If the nesting box is floor level, then the hens will not always be able to separate their resting place from the nesting box. Hens as well as other chickens may end up using the nesting box as their sleeping area.

While it is not a major issue, you will often find yourself cleaning after them the next morning. So this may prove to be quite bothersome.

All the while that you will be trying to use the nesting box as a place where they lay eggs, the chickens will litter the box, often making a mess if you build the nesting box at floor level.

On the other hand, if you build the nesting box at floor level, it will unnecessarily take up a lot of floor space. But if you build it off of the ground, at least 18 inches higher, then you will be able to use a lot more floor space in the room.

How high should a nesting box be for chickens, owls, turkeys, and wild birds?

A nesting box should be at least 18 inches off of the ground.  And you can build multiple levels in one nesting box in order to accommodate a range of birds and chickens in the same nesting box.

If you are building a nesting box for chickens, it should be at least 10 inches high and 12 inches wide, for a smaller breed of chicken. And for a larger breed of chicken, the box should be at least 12 inches high and 14 inches wide.

And nesting boxes for turkeys should also be built in similar measurements. The turkey nesting box should be about 14 inches high and 16 inches wide.

As for owls, the nesting box should be built a bit more elevated from the ground. The nesting box for owls should be 15 to 20 feet high. This will keep other animals, such as raccoons, cats, etc from entering the nesting box. It will also allow enough wind and light into the box.

Why do nesting boxes need to be elevated?

There are several reasons why nesting boxes need to be elevated. Read ahead to learn more about it:

Air circulation:

When the nesting boxes are elevated, the arrangement allows good air circulation inside the nesting box. You will also be able to ensure good lighting inside the nesting box. You can also arrange a heating system inside.

Keeps chickens from sleeping in: 

If you build the nesting box a little elevated from the grounds, it will ensure that other chickens or birds do not jump inside.

If you build the nesting box along the floor’s height, the hens and chickens will end up sleeping inside the nesting box during the night as well.

So instead of collecting eggs the next morning, you will find yourself cleaning litter from the nesting box. This will prove to be a major inconvenience for you.


If you build the nesting box elevated from the ground, it will ensure that the hens are getting some privacy. Hens, after they have laid eggs, enjoy privacy during their nesting stage. This allows them to take care of the eggs properly.

In fact, one of the major criteria in ensuring the right arrangement for a nesting box is that the box should be placed in a private and quiet place.

So if you elevate the nesting box, other animals or birds will not be able to cause any disturbances inside.

Build nest boxes

Let’s now take a look at how you should build nest boxes. Read ahead for a step-by-step guide:

Take the necessary measurements:

The first step would require you to take the necessary measurements for a nesting box. You should consider the size of the hens that you are trying to accommodate.

For large hens, the ideal measurement for a box would be 18 by 18 inches. And for smaller ones, the length should be 10 inches and the width should be 12 inches.

Make sure that each nesting box is large enough to accommodate from 3 to 5 hens at a time.

Measure and cut the timbers:

Now that you have the necessary measurements at your disposal, you should take the timbers and cut them accordingly. It would be ideal to use untreated wood. Flat wood such as plywood will make the best choice for this job.

Cut out the sides using a table saw or a circular saw. This will ensure a smooth finish for the wood.

Make the support pieces:

Now you should make the support pieces for the sides of the nesting box. There should be one support piece for each side of the nesting box, and two support pieces for each divider.

Build the back pieces and glue all the pieces:

Now you should build the back pieces and the bottom pieces. Make sure that they are large enough to cover all the smaller boxes that you have built for in between.

Now you will need to glue all the sides and dividers to the bottom piece of the nesting box. Also, glue the top piece.

Final Thoughts

A nesting box should be a bit elevated. Make sure that it is at least 18 inches higher than the ground. And the size of each box will depend on the type of hens that you are accommodating. The average size of a nesting box should be 12 inches in height and 14 inches in width.