Chicken nesting box designs come in all sizes and shapes. The suggestions for better designs also vary. The large variety of suggestions speaks so much about personal experiences and thereby the preference. In building chicken nesting boxes, there are designs that stand out in view of practicality and function.
First though, a good chicken nest box must be planned to get the chickens laying eggs in manners that are most productive. The basics are the same. You build a box, put in some straw or wood shavings and when the time comes so too the eggs. But when there is low egg production chances are something must be done to improve the nest box. For as much eggs as possible, here are suggestions:
Often, chicken nest boxes are built to house more than one chicken and there are practical management reasons for this. The fact though is that when the nest box is crowded, chickens prefer laying eggs on the floor where the eggs are dirtied, trampled on, and even eaten lowering production. Chickens are actually more productive when they nest on smaller boxes. A box that could house four chickens at a time is good. Smaller is better. When nesting boxes are smaller, there is also less room for the chicken to kick around the straw or wood shavings, creating less mess and keeping the straw where it should be.
The roof of the chicken nest boxes are sloped for the purpose that chickens do not roost on the roof. A roof not angled steeply will invite chickens to roost there and when that happens expect where the eggs will be. Inside the nest box, keep at least two inches of straw but if you could have wood shavings (pine is preferable) that is even better.
If you could provide a chute where the eggs will roll after being laid, and collected at a separate place, the added cost of the chute will be paid for in terms of more eggs that could be used. It will also be practical as frequent intrusions disturbs chickens and that destroys eggs in the process let alone the muck that you will help splatter around.
In place of the egg chute, construct the chicken nest box with doors constructed at the backside so that you could collect the eggs from outside the coop without disturbing the chickens very much. Build a lip at the opening to prevent the eggs from falling when the doors open. A two inch high lip is enough to keep the eggs safe. Likewise, build also a similar lip at the entrance to the nest boxes that serves as a chicken step. This will prevent the eggs from falling from inside the chicken coop as the chicken kicks around before laying more. The lips will also keep the straw inside the nest.
The sizes in building chicken nest boxes vary widely. In general though the height would be about 9" and if you intend to limit the chickens inside the box, a 12" square is sufficient and let the nest boxes be cave like, cold and dark.