Most birds will build a nest so that they can lay their eggs. If you own backyard chickens, most of the time, you will probably make a nest for them in the coop. What happens if you don’t make a nest for them. Do chickens make the nests on their own then?
So, do chickens make nests? Both backyard chickens and those in the wild will make a nest to lay their eggs. Unlike other birds, they don’t make the same kinds of nests. Chickens will typically find somewhere quiet and will either dig a hole in the ground or use soft materials to make a nest.
Do Chickens Need Their Own Nest To Lay Eggs?
Chickens don’t need their own nesting box to lay eggs. Chickens are social creatures and prefer to share their nesting boxes with others. For each nesting box, you may see 4-5 hens.
For the owners, this is beneficial since it will make collecting eggs easy.
If you don’t provide a nesting box for the hens, they will still lay eggs. They will make a nest on the floor of the coop somewhere that’s quiet and secluded.
If they can’t find an area in the coop, they’ll go outside and make a nest anywhere they feel comfortable. This can become a problem for the chicken owners. You’ll have to go find where they made the nest and collect the eggs from different locations.
Worse, hens making nests outside the coop will attract predators. It will make an easy target for predators like badgers, hawks, and minks.
Related Article: How Many Nesting Boxes Per Chicken?
Do Chickens Make Nests in the Wild?
In the wild, chickens will make a nest. Most people are familiar with nests that are circular. It’s usually made from twigs and other debris that they can find. The nest is tightly woven and can withstand the elements.
On the other hand, the chicken nest is not the same as other birds. Their nest is much simpler.
When a chicken is ready to lay an egg, she will find a quiet and secluded place. The place of choice will be in thick brush or undergrowth.
Most birds can fly and will usually build their nest up high in a tree or other structure that’s above ground. Chickens can’t fly very well, so their nest will be somewhere on the ground.
Their main priority for the nest to make sure the eggs are hidden from the predators. Chickens are good at hiding their eggs since they’ve been doing it for thousands of years.
Do Free Range Chickens Make Nests?
If you allow your chickens to free-range, and you have a lot of open space for them, they will likely make a nest somewhere outside the coop.
Due to instinct, chickens will rather lay their eggs outside on the ground. This is what they have been doing for thousands of years.
If you’ve noticed your chickens are making a nest outside the coop, it’s something you should be aware of. You don’t want them to lay eggs outside the coop for several reasons.
The main reasons are:
- It will attract predators to your yard. Predators like foxes, weasels, and badgers will keep on coming back due to the easy meal.
- The hens are more likely to go broody with a clutch to sit on.
- If you’re looking to collect eggs, you’ll be missing out on it.
To ensure they don’t lay eggs outside the coop, make sure there are enough nesting boxes in the coop. Also, the bedding is cleaned out daily and new material such as straw is added.
Broody Hens and ‘Brood Nests’
When a hen goes broody, it usually means that its hormones have changed. They will want to sit on the eggs to incubate and hatch them.
The most obvious sign to look for when the hen becomes broody is that she will begin to make a nest in a quiet area. This area is known as a ‘brood nest’.
This is different from a hen that is making a regular nest where she just wants a secure place to lay her eggs.
The broody hen can make their nest in the coop, somewhere in the run, or outdoors. As she is making the nest, she will spend a lot of time on it. The hen will want to make it as comfortable as possible as she will be spending a lot of time in the nest.
The hen will usually go around collecting materials that are soft to make the nest. This could be straws, twigs, and even pull out their own feathers.
Some broody hens will pull their feathers out to not only make the nest but to incubate the eggs as well. The more skin contact the eggs have to the hen, the more warmth they will get.
Chickens will make their own nest, regardless if you make it for them or not. Like all other birds, they need a nest so that they can lay their eggs. The nest is not only for keeping the eggs in one place but help hide them from predators. You will notice the hens that are making their own nest use materials that blend into with their surrounding.