Enrichment type:
physical occupational
Items Required:
wood, plastic containers, artificial grass, bedding material


Laying hens need nestboxes to allow them a quiet, safe, and comfortable place to lay their eggs. Hens tend to prefer the following qualities in a nestbox:
  • An enclosed nesting site rather than one that is open
  • Provide a peckable strip of artificial grass attached above the nest rear (Reed et al., 1992)
  • Privacy: Install a solid partition to separate nests from one another, and or curtains.
  • Nesting Material: Hens prefer peat and artificial turf to coated wire mesh for egg laying (Struelens et al., 2005), litter nests over pre-molded nests, and wheat straw and oat husk were preferred to perforated plastic, synthetic grass and wire mesh (Huber et al., 1985).


  1. Reed, H. J., Nicol, C. J. 1992. Effects of nest linings, pecking strips and partitioning on nest use and behaviour in modified battery cages. British Poultry Science 33, 719-727.
  2. Duncan, I. J. H., Kite, V. G. 1989. Nest site selection and nest-building behaviour in domestic fowl. Animal Behaviour 37, 215-231.
  3. Struelens E, Tuyttens FA, Janssen A, Leroy T, Audoorn L, Vranken E, de Baere K, Odberg F, Berckmans D, Zoons J, Sonck B. 2005. Design of laying nests in furnished cages: influence of nesting material, nest box position and seclusion. British Poultry Science.
  4. Huber HU, Fölsch DW, Stähli U. 1985. Influence of various nesting materials on nest site selection of the domestic hen. British Poultry Science.