What is the best to use in a chicken house when you are producing chicken eggs? – Nest boxes or layer cages? To answer the question you must first decide if you want to be seen as green or not. Nest boxes are considered more chicken friendly – in fact in the UEU countries layer cages are banned as being cruel to poultry. In a layer house that is producing eggs that will go to a hatchery you will have to use nest boxes. This is because in a poultry house that supplies a hatchery you will have cocks (male chickens) and layers (egg producing hens). The eggs need to be fertilised (hence the cocks) so that they will hatch into chicks – these are sold as day old chickens to chicken farmers that are growing broilers (chickens raised for eating).
In a laying house that is producing eggs for consumption or eating, you can use either layer cages or nest boxes. Layer cages give you more control over your flock than nest boxes – but nest boxes make for happier chickens – as they can move around at will and exercise. They have some semblance of normailty as the can forage and socialise. It is debatable whether your results are beter with layer cages rather than nest boxes.