But from DIY models to hundreds of manufactured nesting boxes, it’s hard to know which boxes will do the best job for you and your chickens.
If you’re going to be investing time and money into raising chickens, you want to get the benefits of having them. That makes nesting boxes one of the most important features of your chicken coop and run.
Fortunately, we can help you choose between the hundreds of options out there. These are some of the best nesting boxes for chickens you can buy. We’ve included nesting boxes in different sizes, styles, and construction materials. We’re sure that the best nest box for you is in this article.
Top 5 Best Nesting Boxes for Chickens: Editor’s Pick
|Image||Brand||Nesting Box Model||Prime||Buy|
|Brower||Brower 406B 6-Hole Poultry Nest||Prime||Buy Now|
|Harris Farms||Harris Farms 2 Hole Nesting Box for Chickens||Prime||Buy Now|
|Miller||Miller Manufacturing Chicken Nesting Box||Prime||Buy Now|
|Best Music Posters||Roll Out Community Nest Box||Prime||Buy Now|
|N/A||Rollaway Community Nest Box||Prime||Buy Now|
We’ll discuss the main features of each box, but we’ve also included a buying guide and short FAQ at the end of the article. That way you can be confident in your decision and start your chicken keeping adventure on the right foot.
- The Best Nesting Boxes for Chickens Reviews:
- 1. Brower 406B 6 Hole Poultry Nest
- Highlighted Features:
- 2. Miller Manufacturing Single Chicken Nesting Box for Birds
- Highlighted Features:
- 3. Harris Farms 2 Hole Nesting Box for Chickens
- Highlighted Features:
- 4. Roll Out Nesting Box with Curtains and Removable Nesting Pad for Chickens
- Highlighted Features:
- 5. RentACoop Roll Away Nesting Box for Chickens (Set of 3)
- Highlighted Features:
- 6. Homestead Essentials Roll Out Poultry Nesting Box for Chickens – 3 Compartment – 2 Pack
- Highlighted Features:
- 7. Best Music Posters Rollaway Community Nest Box
- Highlighted Features:
- 8. 6 Pack Rite Farm Products Washable Poly Egg Nesting Box for Chickens
- Highlighted Features:
- 9. Duncan’s Poultry Economy 10 Hole Chicken Nesting Box
- Highlighted Features:
- 10. Homestead Essentials Roll Out 2-Compartment Poultry Nesting Box for Chickens
- Highlighted Features:
- Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Select Nesting Boxes for Chickens
- FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Nesting Boxes for Chickens
- Share this:
The Best Nesting Boxes for Chickens Reviews:
1. Brower 406B 6 Hole Poultry Nest
This is a good nesting box if you’re looking for a durable box suitable for medium and large chicken flocks. Made from rolled steel, this nesting box is designed to last. That makes it a great investment in your flock since you’ll be able to use the same nesting boxes for years to come.
A healthy, happy, flock can have up to 5 chickens per nesting box. That means that this 6-hole box can support healthy nesting for up to 30 hens.
These are standard 12” by 12” boxes suitable for most standard size chicken breeds.
The Brower 6-hole nesting box has rails on both sides of the box. It’s an open-backed box, so you may want to attach a plyboard back if you’re doing to install the box outside.
Building the nesting box is fairly simple. All you need is a good screwdriver and the instructions. All the exposed edges are rolled, so you won’t have to worry about nicks on your or your chickens. Overall this is easily one of the best chicken nesting boxes.
- Durable construction – this nesting box is meant to last. If you’re looking for a solid investment in your chickens, or to upgrade from more fragile box designs, this is a good choice.
- Spacious – with 6 12” x 12” chicken nesting boxes you have plenty of room for a sizable flock of hens. If you need a little extra space for more than 30 girls, you can place another box next to the first.
- Built-in Roosting Bars – Roosting bars are an important part of keeping your hens healthy. Even if predators can’t make it into your coop, pests like mice and rats will find a way. Providing plenty of roosting bars will keep your chickens off the floor, and out of harm’s way.
- Lots of Space for Bedding – Each nesting box is fully contained, with rails on both open sides to keep the birds, the bedding, and the eggs, safely inside. Full enclosure means less wasted bedding and fewer broken eggs.
- Air Holes for Good Ventilation – The Brower 6 Hole Nest also provides smoothed air holes to keep air circulation and prevent the build-up of moisture and other health hazards. Your chickens will breathe easier and stay healthier.
2. Miller Manufacturing Single Chicken Nesting Box for Birds
This smaller nesting box is a great addition to homes with a relatively small flock of birds. Fully self-contained, this box is big enough for most average chicken breeds, private enough to encourage laying, and durable enough to last years of regular use.
The polyethylene design won’t splinter, rust, corrode or rot. It’s also easy to remove the nesting box to replace nesting bedding and sanitize. That means fewer pests and healthier birds. While this individual nesting box is best for small flocks, it’s still one of the best chicken nesting boxes and has great nesting box reviews.
The box isn’t a stand-alone item. It’s designed to be attached to the wall of a chicken coop. While we recommend installing the nesting box inside the coop, it could also be installed on an exterior wall accessed from your chicken run.
Installation is easy, all you need is a couple of screws and a good drill.
- Sloped Roof – this box features a sloped roof that will prevent your chickens from setting up shop on top of the box instead of inside it.
- Easy to Clean and Maintain – The polyethylene box is easy to clean and sanitize. That’s especially important for broody hens that spend more time in the box. Easy cleaning will keep your hens happier, healthier, and more likely to use the nesting box instead of hiding their eggs elsewhere.
- Private and Comfortable – Many nesting boxes are built with the owners in mind more than the hens. That isn’t true of the Miller Single Nesting Box. More complete enclosure means it’s darker and more private than open boxes. It’s big enough for them to turn around and tend their nest, and still has enough airflow to keep the hens healthy and the bedding dry.
- Wall-Mounted – Wall mounting your nesting boxes keeps them safely off the floor. Your hens won’t compete for space with mice and rats, and they’ll be more comfortable off the ground.
- “Porch” Roosting Bar – the small roosting bar on the front of this nesting box may not be big enough to be a true roosting bar. But it is a handy landing point for hens going in and out of the box. The bar makes it simple for even flightless chickens to jump up and get into the elevated nesting box.
3. Harris Farms 2 Hole Nesting Box for Chickens
The Harris Farms 2-hole nesting box is another metal nesting box designed for slightly smaller flocks. The metal is durable and easy to clean. Plus, the bottom sheet of metal is fully removable, which makes it easier to thoroughly clean.
The who box is made from galvanized steel. The edges are rolled and smoothed so that you and your chickens won’t have to worry about metal cuts and scrapes.
It also features a front roosting bar. The whole nesting box can be installed on the floor, or you can lift it up off the floor and install it against a wall. It’s also fully hinged, so you can fold it up to close the nesting box or to move it to a new location.
The highly sloped roof prevents hens from sitting on top of the nesting box and disturbing the hens laying their eggs inside.
The air holes in the sides of the box encourage proper ventilation and help your bedding last longer without starting to go.
It would be hard to overstate, this is one of the best poultry nesting boxes.
- Metal Construction – Since this nesting box is made from rolled steel is easy to clean and maintain, durable, and helps promote a healthy environment for your hens.
- Folding Roosting Bar – The Roosting Bar design makes it easy to encourage and discourage your hens from using the nesting box, whatever the situation requires. It also makes installation and relocating the nesting box easier. This box might stay with you through several coop upgrades and re-designs, and the folding bar makes it more versatile in those situations.
- Removable Floor – the metal flooring on this twin nesting box is easy to remove. That means you can take it out and quickly hose it down. No muss, no fuss, no chicken loss.
- Long-Running American Company – If you’re looking for American made goods for your chicken coop, this is a great option. Harris Farms has been producing feed and farm equipment for more than 160 years in the USA.
- Easy Installation – All you need to install these chicken nesting boxes are a few screws and a good drill. They can be installed close to the floor, to elevated higher for more hygienic conditions.
4. Roll Out Nesting Box with Curtains and Removable Nesting Pad for Chickens
Roll out nesting boxes are safer for eggs and more convenient for hen keepers. But not all roll out boxes are as comfortable for the hens as this nesting box. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best poultry nesting boxes.
Your hens will thank you for one feature, in particular, the curtains. Hens like privacy and darkness when they’re laying. Natural sunlight can help hens produce eggs. But they want to get away from the light to lay them.
The curtains also make each nesting box more private. You don’t want eyes on you when you’re tending to private business, do you?
The roll-out feature also protects the eggs. A sloped floor encourages the eggs to slide away from the hen and into a lidded holding area. The holding area doubles as an entryway for the hens. It’s a small porch that makes it easier to get in and out of the nesting box.
Truly, this is one of the best chicken nesting boxes.
Multiple eggs can sit safely in the holding area. That keeps them away from pecking, dirt, and other debris in the nesting box.
- Roll Away Box – A major convenience for chicken keepers, roll-away nesting boxes protect the eggs. They also make eggs easier to collect, since you won’t have to search bedding to find them. Your eggs will be safer, cleaner, and easy to find.
- Curtain – The small curtain on the entrance for this box helps keep your hens comfortable in the nesting box. It’s darker and more private. That encourages hens to lay their eggs in the box rather than finding a different private spot.
- Tall Installation – This chicken nesting box is designed to be installed a little higher than many nesting boxes. That helps ensure no pests make it into the box and encourages better airflow.
- Adjustable slope floor – Not all eggs are shaped like the others. Some slide more easily. Some need a little more encouragement. You can adjust the slope to suit your hens’ eggs.
- Removable Nesting Pad – This is one of the few nesting boxes that comes with its nesting pad. You can use bedding as an alternative. But the pad is easy to clean and maintain. It also encourages eggs to slide into the holding area.
5. RentACoop Roll Away Nesting Box for Chickens (Set of 3)
Another, larger, roll away nesting box, this is a good option for medium-sized flocks. A little less private, this is still a comfortable option for your hens. The whole floor is well ventilated. It slopes toward the holding area, where the eggs are kept safe and clean.
Made with a combination of metal and polyethylene, it’s a durable nesting box. This best nesting box is suitable for up to 15 hens. If you have more, it’s simple to install the boxes next to one another. Or, if you have a flighted or partially flighted breed of chickens, you can place one above the other.
The pre-drilled holes in the nesting box make installation easy. You’ll need a good drill. But the attachment points are easy to access. You can install this box on any sturdy wall in the chicken coop or run.
This system is also considered a complete nesting box. That means you won’t need to spend money on bedding or nesting pads.
- Complete System – You won’t have any extra overhead with this nesting box. It requires no bedding or nesting pads.
- Easy Installation – pre-drilled holes make installation quick and easy. All you need is a drill and a few screws. You can easily install multiple nesting boxes in an hour if needed.
- Plastic and Metal – Both plastic and metal are easier to clean and maintain than wood. This nesting box is designed to last for years. It’s easy to clean. It’s durable enough to hold three hens at once.
- Roll Away – you’ll never need to worry about your eggs again. The roll away floor keeps eggs safe and ready for collection. They’ll be cleaner than eggs left in a nest. You’ll also collect more eggs since they’re safe from pecking and becoming a snack for your chickens.
- Lightweight – the combination of plastic and metal makes this a lightweight nesting box. It won’t stress the walls of your chicken coop, even if you install several on the same wall.
6. Homestead Essentials Roll Out Poultry Nesting Box for Chickens – 3 Compartment – 2 Pack
Coming in a 2 pack makes this a good and affordable option for medium-sized flocks. The combination of metal and plastic in this nesting box makes it a durable and lightweight option. This is a good choice if you’re looking to add a lot of laying space to a chicken coop.
Wall mounting this roll away nesting box is simple. Each box has 3 spots for hens to nest, which means you get 6 nesting spots with a single pack.
The fully ventilated laying trays are also removable. That makes them more hygienic in two ways. The ventilation keeps the laying area dry. Since it doesn’t need bedding, ventilation also cuts down on the pests that can get into the box.
It also makes it easier to clean the floor. You’ll be able to take care of spots, stray feathers, and other debris easily.
The steel is rust-resistant. That means it’ll last longer, even if your hens are a little messy in the coop. The plastic roofs and plastic porches are also easy to clean and sanitize. They’re scratch-resistant, which keeps the nesting box looking new.
- Roll Away Floor – The roll away floor will keep your eggs safer and cleaner. They’ll also keep the eggs from getting pecked or stepped on when another hen uses the same nesting box.
- Fully Ventilated Flooring – If you’re concerned about the internal hygiene in your coop, this is a good option. While you will occasionally find yourself cleaning accidents beneath the nesting boxes, the boxes themselves are cleaner. They’re easy to maintain.
- Removable Flooring – Removable floors mean you don’t have to try and clean the nesting box inside the coop. Detach the floor, take it outside, and give it a rinse. More thorough cleaning with soap and water or sanitizer is also easier this way.
- Affordable – these nesting boxes are highly affordable. Don’t worry, they’re still some of the best nesting boxes for chickens. But they’re also a little easier on your wallet.
- Lightweight – This is a good nesting box for coops with thinner walls. Since they’re lightweight they won’t stress the wall. Even with every nesting box full, they still weight less than all-metal designs often can be.
7. Best Music Posters Rollaway Community Nest Box
If you’re looking for a good nesting box for a large flock, this is a good option. Able to support the nesting needs of up to 60 hens, this large box is a no brainer.
It’s also a roll away box. All the eggs are collected in the same place, however. That’s a little different than individual roll-away nesting boxes that each hold their own eggs. This system collects all the eggs in the same place. That makes collection simple.
The flooring is easy to remove for cleaning. But you’ll also need to worry about it less since the floor is bacteria resistant. The glass-like molecular arrangement of the polyethylene floor prevents most bacteria and fungi from getting a foothold.
Plus, your hens will appreciate the curtains placed over each nesting area. The curtains help keep the nesting space dark. They also let your hens enjoy a sense of privacy. That encourages them to come to the nesting box to lay their eggs, rather than finding their own space elsewhere.
- Large – this large nesting box is perfect for large flocks of hens. Instead of buying multiple sets of smaller nesting boxes you can buy this one to support up to 60 hens. It also makes egg collection easier, since you won’t have to visit several nesting boxes to collect each day’s laying.
- Curtained – hens like a little privacy when they’re laying. They like their nests to be a little darker than their coop and chicken run. They like to get away from the other chickens to protect their eggs. The curtains on each nest area make your hens much more comfortable while they lay.
- Community Roll Away – One of the biggest advantages for chicken keepers, this nest box collects all your hens’ eggs in one spot. It also keeps the eggs safer than in individual nesting boxes. The sloping floor encourages all the eggs to roll to the same location. For big flocks, this is a huge time-saver. No more searching for eggs.
- Mostly Metal – Aside from the curtains and roosting bar, this nesting box is made from metal. That means it’s easy to clean and maintain. Even with 60 hens in and out all day, the nesting box will last for years.
- Built-in Roosting Bar – Your chickens will appreciate the roosting bar in front. It makes it easier for them to get in and out of the nesting areas. Plus, if you elevate the nesting box a little, it serves as a nighttime roost as well.
8. 6 Pack Rite Farm Products Washable Poly Egg Nesting Box for Chickens
If you’re looking for something a little less industrial, this may be a good choice. These individual plastic boxes still net some of the best nesting boxes reviews. They’re lightweight, easy to install, and can be placed in your hens’ favorite locations.
The plastic boxes screw directly into the wall. You can fill them with a nesting pad or your bedding of choice. When it comes time to clean the nesting box, it’s simple. You can clean them in the coop with sanitizer and a sponge. Or, if you don’t mind removing them, taking them out is simple as well.
You can also pick a variety of heights for these boxes. We recommend taking advantage of the naturally dark spaces in your coop. If you want, you can also put one or more box out near your chicken run. Wherever your hens lay, you can provide a nesting box.
- Easy to Clean – Each of these boxes is easy to clean. The rounded corners don’t collect dust and debris. The plastic isn’t a good surface for bacteria and fungi, reducing health risks. They’re also simple to take out of the coop for a more thorough wash.
- Fully Plastic – While plastic is sometimes less durable, it’s also easy to maintain and customize. Each station can be placed wherever most convenient for your hens.
- Easy to install – Each self-contained nesting box is simple to install. The drilling locations are clearly marked, and support the plastic boxes well
- Affordable – This is an affordable way to get boxes for up to 30 chickens without spending too much.
- Larger Individual Boxes – These boxes are a good option if you’re raising larger chicken breeds. Jersey Giants and other large hens will fit comfortably in these boxes. They’re also a good option for flocks with multiple varieties of hen since they’ll fit most breeds.
9. Duncan’s Poultry Economy 10 Hole Chicken Nesting Box
Somewhere between the largest chicken nesting boxes and a medium-sized nesting box, this economy box can support up to 50 chickens. It’s made of mostly metal and features two rows of boxes one on top of the other.
It also has two roosting bars to make it easier for your chickens to get in and out. They’ll also use these bars as a roost to sleep, reducing your need for other equipment. Each bar is actually two, increasing their capacity.
All the sides of this nesting box have ventilation holes. That keeps the nesting pads or bedding your chickens use safer and more comfortable. The bedding will stay dry and help deter pests and bacteria.
The metal design is easy to clean and maintain. It’s also scratch and rust-resistant. That means it’ll last for years of use by many chickens.
- High capacity nesting box – This is a good box to encourage large flocks to nest in the same area. It’s comfortable and supports a large number of birds.
- Roosting Bars – The double bar design on both roosting bars makes it easy for chickens to enter and exit the nesting areas. They can also support many roosting birds at night, giving your chickens healthier sleep options.
- Easy to Clean and Maintain – The best nesting boxes for chickens are easy to clean. They’re designed to last and to resist damage. That fits this box well. It doesn’t have any soft plastic and minimizes wood to the rails. That means it’ll last a good bit longer than plastic or wood nesting boxes.
- Self-Contained Boxes – each of the 10 boxes has it’s own railing for nesting pads or bedding. This helps keep the bedding in the boxes. It also keeps your eggs in the boxes where they belong, not on a coop floor.
- Good Ventilation – keeping dry and sanitary conditions demand good ventilation. This box is designed to encourage airflow throughout the boxes. It keeps bedding cleaner and reduces the growth of bacteria and fungi.
10. Homestead Essentials Roll Out 2-Compartment Poultry Nesting Box for Chickens
This is a smaller version of the Home Essentials Roll Away nesting box we discussed earlier. It’s a good choice for backyard chicken keepers and smaller flocks. With 2 nesting boxes, it’s well suited for up to 10 hens.
The mix of metal and plastics makes this a good lightweight option. It’s simple to install. It’s easy to clean. It’s durable enough to last through your hens’ life, and the next hens too. All that makes this a good option for hobbyist chicken keepers and professionals alike.
The sloped plastic lid prevents hens from roosting on top of the nesting box while other hens are trying to lay eggs.
It’s also a complete nesting box that doesn’t require bedding or a nesting pad. The ventilated bottoms keep your hens and eggs clean and healthy. They’re also easier to clean and prevent dirt and debris from collecting in the nesting box.
- Smaller Design – this is perfect for hobbyist chicken keepers. The smaller design gives you exactly what you need without taking up too much space. Or, if you have a larger flock, it allows you to place more nesting areas where your hens prefer to lay.
- Metal and Plastic – The combination of metal and plastic is a durable and easily maintained design. It’s simple to clean, bacteria resistance, and difficult to damage.
- Great Ventilation – Since the floor of these nesting boxes is fully ventilated, they’re especially healthy. It prevents dust and dander build up. The airflow also decreases bacteria and fungi and keeps the nesting area dry.
- Roll Away Design – The Roll Away floor also makes it simpler to collect your eggs. Since the plastic holding area also protects the eggs, you’ll be able to bring more home. No egg snacks for your hens.
- Lightweight – At only slightly over 10 lbs, this nesting area is easy to install and easy to move. It also won’t stress the walls of your chicken coop at attachment points. Both the nesting area and the coop will last longer thanks to this lightweight design.
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Select Nesting Boxes for Chickens
While we’ve provided a list of the best nesting boxes for chickens, we understand wanting to know what makes them the best. That’s why we’ve included this buying guide, we’ll highlight the most important features you should look for.
This is one of the most important considerations for a nesting area. Wood is attractive, but it can collect debris and waste. It’s also more difficult to clean, and easy for chickens to damage.
Plastic is better. It’s usually resistant to bacterial growth, and easy to clean. But you need a hardened plastic. Softer materials will scratch easily and can become worn and hard to maintain.
Metal is ideal. Watch for rounded edges with metal. You want to get galvanized steel or another rust-resistant material. Nesting boxes that are made from steel are heavier, but they’re also easier to clean and more durable than other construction materials.
Dark, Private, and Contained
The best nesting boxes for chickens are dark, private, and contained. That’s because your chickens are looking for a safe spot when they lay their eggs. They’re vulnerable when they lay and brood and egg. So a dark space is appealing because they’re less likely to be seen. A contained box helps them feel safe since there is only one entrance and exit.
Privacy is another matter. Chickens will each other chicken’s eggs. So, even though another hen isn’t a predator, hens would still prefer to be out of sight when they lay. It’s a way of protecting themselves, and their eggs.
Curtains are the easiest way to create a dark and private space. You also want boxes with a back and roof so that your hens aren’t worried about intruders from those directions.
Self-Contained or Roll Away?
Both of these box styles have advantages. Your hens might prefer a self-contained nesting area and prefer to lay there. But Roll Away nesting areas protect the eggs and make collection much simpler.
In this case, it’s a matter of personal preference more than anything. But, it is worth checking to see which style of nesting area your breed of chickens tend to prefer.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Nesting Boxes for Chickens
Q.1- What is best to use for chicken nesting boxes?
Chicken nesting boxes are best used when they’re only used for nesting. It’s important to provide other spaces for sleep and leisure time for your chickens.
That’s because the nesting boxes will get dirtier the more they’re used. The dirtier they get, the more likely they are to attract parasites, pests, and predators.
To encourage your hens to use nesting areas only for laying, you should be sure to provide other roosting bars. Ideally, you should also connect your chicken coop to a chicken run. 10 square feet per chicken is a good average size. That gives them plenty of room to hunt for bugs, dust bathe, and generally enjoy being chickens.
Q.2- How do you get chickens to lay eggs in a nesting box?
You’ll have to train your first batch of hens to lay in nesting boxes. Some hens may choose them on their own, especially if you have well-designed boxes. But placing fake eggs, small white balls, and other egg surrogates in the nesting area will help them get the right idea.
It’s also important to consider your chickens’ preferred nesting conditions. Place the nesting boxes somewhere dark, well contained, and sanitary. Chickens will prefer those areas because they signal a safe space where an egg is more likely to survive.
You also need to make sure you have enough nesting areas. Too few, and some of your hens will pick less popular locations to lay. About 1 nesting box per 5 chickens should work.
Q.3- When should you open nesting boxes?
Your chicks should be about 17 weeks old before you open the nesting boxes for business.
Waiting that long helps with training since you’ll have waited until some of the nesting instincts have kicked in. If you don’t wait, your hens will associate the boxes with whatever they did as chicks and are less likely to identify them as good places to lay their eggs.
Even if your hens aren’t exposed to the nest boxes as true chicks, they may still think of nesting boxes as sleeping spaces if they have access too early.
Since sleeping in the nesting boxes means cleaning them more often it’s not ideal. It can also increase the odds of your chickens going broody, which makes collection more difficult.
Q.4- Why do chickens lay eggs in the same nest?
There are two main reasons why chickens share nests.
Likely, if your chickens are always laying in the same nest, that nest has the best laying conditions. They’re looking for a safe place to lay and hatch eggs, and almost all hens have the same criteria. Since they’ll be in an out and don’t go broody right after laying, there’s plenty of time for multiple hens to visit the best nest.
But there’s another reason. Communal egg-laying means that only one hen has to brood and hatch the collected eggs. They’re inclined to lay this way to decrease the labor of raising eggs. It lets the rest of the flock behave more normally, stretching their legs, hunting bugs, and getting water.
Even though you’ll be taking the eggs before your hens go broody, they’re still wired to save labor this way.
Q.5- Do chickens lay eggs at night?
Not likely. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but most hens will avoid laying at night. Since more predators are active at night, they don’t want to increase their own vulnerability.
Sunlight also activates your hens’ pituitary glands, which stimulates egg production. When the sun goes down, your chickens are less likely to need to lay eggs.
We’ve discussed some of the best nesting boxes for chickens in this article. We’ve gone over their most important features and selected from a range of sizes and materials. Each of these nesting boxes is optimized for chicken health and wellness, as well as easy and reliable egg collection.
We’ve also provided a buying guide and a short FAQ section to help get you started with your very own flock of chickens.
Hopefully, now that you’ve read this article, you feel more confident picking the most important equipment for successful chicken keeping!