building my hen house how high should the nest boxes and perches be ?
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Here's how I did mine. Each box is 18"h x 16"w x 20" deep, and starts 6" off the ground. This allowed the cat litter trays to fit perfectly and makes changing nesting material a snap...just pull out the tray, clean it out, put it back in. I had very small nest boxes on the old coop and they barely had room to move around which is why I went bigger this time.
Most of the girls use the top right and bottom right boxes for some reason. The netting above keeps them from jumping up on top and pooping up there...works great. With the cat litter trays I'm also able to spread sevin dust under the totes so it keeps anything from crawling around in the nest boxes, and keeps it away from the girls.
I had a horrible experience with the nest boxes being outside on my old coop, so I wanted them inside this time to keep rain out and decrease the chance of any predators lifting the lid (rain was my big issue last time). Just depends how much room you have to work with.
Position the nests where you want them, taking the bedding into consideration. Position them for your convenience, the chickens won’t care unless you have Silkies that can’t fly. If you have a bad back you may want them up off the floor so you don’t have to bend over to gather the eggs. If your coop is height-challenged you may want them really low.
Next put the roosts noticeably higher than the nests or anything else you don’t want them roosting on. Chickens normally like to roost at the highest point possible as long as you have sufficient roost length. I usually use 12” minimum height but if you have a tiny coop 6” may be enough. For different reasons it’s often best to not put roosts any higher than you have to though most chickens can get up a lot higher than many people think.
A coop needs decent ventilation without creating a wind tunnel inside. An easy way to accomplish this is to have openings up over the chickens’ heads when they are on the roosts. Roof vents and cupolas can accomplish this but openings at the top of the walls, especially if you have an overhang to keep rain out, is a good way to accomplish this. I don’t know how height-challenged your coop will be.
I built my brooder in the coop under the roosts. The top of the brooder is my droppings board.
I probably ought to get a photo of it, but I put a “juvenile roost”, a safe place for younger birds to roost that is not my nest boxes, over my nests. The top of my nests are also droppings boards when juveniles are using those roosts.
You do not want the chickens to poop in your nests from the roosts, so keeping them in the other side may be a good idea, especially if they ae open topped. A lot of it depends on what the nests look like and how the coop is laid out.