I just wanted to add a bit to this thread, as it inspired me to try out a tunnel-style community box. Sorry that I didn't take pics before I put it into service, but the box itself looks like the average nesting box with a hinged roof from the outside. It's 7'x14"x14" with a bit of slope on the roof. The only way in for the birds is a 12"x6" oval hole in the middle, inspired by the old commercial nesting boxes. From the entrance hole, they can go three feet in either direction to choose a place to lay. I'm using aspen shavings as nesting material. The girls have been using it for about a month now, and here's my review:
1. The hens LOVE it!! They've gone from hiding eggs in all sorts of interesting places (including a cardboard box on top of the chest freezer in the garage) to all laying in the nesting box.
2. They don't seem to notice that I take their eggs. I've always had a problem with these gals figuring it out and finding new places to lay, especially if the amount of eggs in the nest increases enough for the reduction to be easily visible. That doesn't happen anymore. As a matter of fact...
3. They seem to have trouble figuring out where the eggs are in the first place. Instead of tight little nests, I open the lid to see eggs strewn about the length of the nesting box. I usually leave two right next to the entrance hole when I collect and that seems to keep them coming back.
4. None of the younger birds are tempted to roost in this nesting box. It's absolutely spotless in there.
5. I've never had an issue with egg-eating, but I'd be really surprised if they ever take it up, being as they can't even see them well enough to gather the old eggs into their nest as they prepare to lay!
All in all, I really like this system and will use it from this point on. Thanks BYC! This place is an amazing source of ideas!
Edited by pardygwyn - 2/5/12 at 1:20pm