Are your hens avoiding the nesting boxes? Finding damaged eggs when they do use the boxes? There is a simple solution to such problems: nesting box curtains. The simple nest box curtain has been in use for many years, and they serve many purposes — not just aesthetic ones. Once you know how useful nesting box curtains are, you are going to want to make some for yourself! That is why some easy nesting box curtain ideas have been included for you.
Reasons You Need Nesting Box Curtains
Putting curtains on your nesting boxes has several important benefits:
- Privacy. Hens want a spot that is dark and calm to lay their eggs.
- Safety. A dark, secluded spot feels a lot safer to chickens than laying their eggs in the open.
- Discourages broodiness in some chickens. While curtains may prompt broody behavior in one hen, it does keep the other hens more calm. Broodiness is often prompted when hens see other hens guarding their eggs. By blocking the view of other hens, you reduce stress in the whole flock.
- Helps retain warmth. Having trouble with cracked or frozen eggs? Hanging curtains will help hens regulate their heat (which means less damage to their eggs, too).
- Stops egg eating. When other chickens can’t see the eggs, they are less tempted to eat them.
- Adds some color to the coop. What else can be said here? Curtains are cute, colorful, and will spruce up a dreary coop quickly.
- Prevents vent pecking. Although rare, vent pecking can be serious. When out in the open, the reddened vent of hens laying eggs becomes a target for pecking. Curtains keep them out of sight and mind.
How to DIY Nesting Box Curtains
Now that you see the importance of nest box curtains, you need some tips on how to make them. Here are some things to keep in mind while shopping for supplies:
- You should use a natural and breathable fabric, such as cotton, wool, linen, muslin, or burlap. Your chickens will want to peck at the curtains out of curiosity. Non-toxic fabrics are the safest choice.
- Make sure the fabric won’t shred or unravel easily. Any strings may be swallowed and cause choking.
- There are many ways to hang nesting box curtains, such as tension rods, staples, and so on. Don’t be afraid to customize the ideas further along in the article to suit your needs. Just remember that the curtains need to be secure, as you don’t want the fabric pulling off the box or the hardware coming loose and hurting the chickens.
- Match your curtains with a safe bedding for the nesting boxes, such as straw. A non-dusty bedding will keep the curtains cleaner.
4 Easy Chicken Nesting Box Curtain Ideas
Making nesting box curtains is not too difficult, if you have a sewing machine. Luckily, there are some ideas included below that do not require any cutting or sewing. For each curtain idea, you will need to measure the dimensions of the nesting boxes. You may decide to make individual curtains for every single box or hang a single rod to cover the entire length. It depends on your setup.
Once you have figured out how much fabric you need, take a trip to the craft store. You can also use an old burlap sack, fabric tablecloth, or repurpose kitchen curtains you haven’t hung up in ages. There is no need to make a purchase to make nesting box curtains!
Check out these easy chicken nesting box curtain ideas to get you inspired:
1. Basic DIY Nesting Box Curtains
This design uses 1 yard of fabric and makes two pairs of curtains for two nesting boxes. Increase the amount of fabric needed based on how many nesting boxes you have.
- Fold 1 yard of fabric in half.
- Cut along the bottom if there is a tag.
- Cut along the fold, making two identical panels.
- Take a measuring tape or yard stick. Find the center of the fabric then cut both panels in half. You now have four identically sized rectangles.
- Turn one panel over, so you see the back of the fabric. Take about 2 inches of fabric from the bottom of the panel and fold it over. Secure it with some safety pins to hold the fold in place.
- With a sewing machine, sew along the top of the 2 inch fold, making space for a tension rod. For those without a sewing machine, you can use fabric glue, liquid stitches, or even hand stitch.
- Repeat for the remaining panels.
- Use 2 panels per 1 tension rod to hang in the nesting box. Trim the bottom of the curtains, if necessary.
- Arrange the curtains however you wish, such as tying the center with a ribbon to create an opening for your chickens to come and go.
2. Vertical Fabric Scraps
For this one, you can create a mish-mash pattern using any fabric scraps you have laying around or simply cut a large section of fabric into equally sized strips.
- Make several rectangular strips out of your scraps or piece of fabric. The strips should be long enough to cover the nesting box.
- Make one strip wider than the rest. This strip will be folded in half. Using a sewing machine, sew together the two ends, making a pocket for a tension rod.
- Along the same seam that you just made, connect the short edges of the remaining strips, so they hang like vertical curtain blinds.
- Slip the curtains onto the tension rod to hang in the nesting boxes. If you do not want to use a tension rod, you can simply sew the vertical strips to a single horizontal piece then staple the top to the nesting boxes.
3. Triangular Curtains
This idea was inspired by pennons and pennants.
- Measure out the width and length of the nesting box.
- Take your fabric and cut the top of the triangle to match the width.
- Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of the fabric from the upper corners to make a triangle then cut along the line.
- To connect the triangle, you can staple the long edge to the top of the nesting box.
Need a no-sew option? Why not recycle those old sports pennants you have hanging around? Staple the long edge to the top of the nesting box then let the triangular portion hang down, covering the entrance to the box. Adjust the length as needed.
The video below also shows a different take on this idea:
4. Store-Bought Kitchen Curtains or Valances
If you aren’t handy with a needle and thread, don’t worry. You can purchase kitchen curtain valances from any store or online. Look for the ones that can be hung using a tension rod. You may only need one per box. Bunch the center of the valance together then tie the center with a rubber band or ribbon, for example.
Optionally, you can install a longer, more durable curtain rod over the top of the nesting boxes to hang a longer valance. Take a pair of scissors to make sections or vertical strips for your chickens to come and go. You may need to take a lighter along the edges of the fabric to keep the cut edges from fraying.
Ready, Set, Go Make Those Curtains!
Don’t let you ladies go without nesting box curtains! Now that you have seen 4 easy chicken nesting box curtain ideas, you are probably itching to give them a try (or make your own design). These ideas are simple enough for beginners to try, but if you are not comfortable, purchasing kitchen valances is another way to make nesting boxes in a snap.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.