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Nest boxes - how high off the ground?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We are outfitting a storage shed for our girls and I have made some nest boxes and am wondering how high off the ground should they be?  I know they should be lower than the roosts but after that I don't know.  I have lots of head room in the storage shed, so that isn't an issue.  Do you have ladders leading up to the nest boxes or should they be high enough that the girls can just fly up there?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 8

You can have your nest boxes sitting right on the floor if you'd like.  I have mine raised about 2 ft., so as to not waste floor space.  But chickens seem pretty fine with any level when it comes to nest boxes.  IMO, anything higher than 18 inches needs a little perch of some kind in front, and ones that are close to 3 ft. should probably have a ramp/ladder, at least if you have any heavier breeds like orps and such...

ETA:  But as you mentioned...just keep them lower than your roosts.


Edited by teach1rusl - 6/21/10 at 7:12pm

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #3 of 8

Mine are on the floor, but I have a board across them to keep the poopy shavings out of the nest box.  I don't think it matters, as long as they are lower than the roosts.

Breeding Welsummers and Barnevelders.

 

Having an Icelandic in the coop is like having a 2 year old in the house - they are into everything and don't follow the rules.

I have zero chicken willpower.

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Breeding Welsummers and Barnevelders.

 

Having an Icelandic in the coop is like having a 2 year old in the house - they are into everything and don't follow the rules.

I have zero chicken willpower.

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post #4 of 8

Nest boxes will work at any height.  There is no one right answer for everyone.  Some things to consider. 

If you have them high enough above the floor and any litter that might be on the floor so they can comfortably get under there, that space does not reduce your effective coop size.  I'd give them at least a foot above your litter if you don't put them on the floor. 

If you have them low, you have to bend over to gather the eggs.  How's your back? 

You want your roosts higher than anything you do not want them roosting on, but you don't want your roosts too high.  They can injure themselves jumping down in the morning, heavier breeds being more at risk.  Also the higher the roost, the more horizontal room they need to fly down.  If the roosts are too high, they can fly into the feeder, waterer, nest boxes, or walls when they fly down.  They are not really very graceful flyers. 

You want your roosts to be below your ventilation so they are not in a draft in the cold wet weather. 

If the nest boxes are more than a couple of feet off the floor, it really helps to have a perch or ladder in front of the nest box to help them get in, sort of a step.  Some people build a shelf.

The nest box itself needs to have enough height so you can put a 4" or 5" lip on it to keep them from scratching out the nesting material and eggs and still have an opening about 8" high for them to use to enter it.  Depending on how you frame it, it may be OK as small as 12" in height or you may need 15" or 16".

That's the main things I can think of right now.  Good luck!

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #5 of 8

I've got a combination of nest box heights in four separate "coop" buildings.  They're on the floor in 3 of 'em, and the bottom of the nest box in the New Coop is at 18 inches ... wait... maybe 20 inches...  no, 15 inches off the floor.  There's a perch in front of each box so the chickens can land on it before getting into the nest box.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/41679_newcoopnestbox.jpg

In another coop, the nest boxes are extensions off each side with lids, but they're floor level; it was a coop kit bought off eBay. 

In the A-Frame, the nest boxes are upstairs, but set on the floor.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/41679_broodybuffy2.jpg

In the Duck House (used by chickens far too young to lay) there are two plastic milk crates on their sides, on the floor.

Doesn't much matter.

-- Linda (AKA: gryeyes)
I refuse to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Buncha Outdoor PET chickens, ducks, five Toulouse geese, and four turkeys....so far. Plus 2 wiener dogs, some bunnies and a rescue cat which owns me. Oh. And a house silkie....

Grab some eggs & Join us! 
Great fun, Great Prizes & GREAT friends! 
5th Annual BYC Easter Hatch-a-long!

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-- Linda (AKA: gryeyes)
I refuse to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Buncha Outdoor PET chickens, ducks, five Toulouse geese, and four turkeys....so far. Plus 2 wiener dogs, some bunnies and a rescue cat which owns me. Oh. And a house silkie....

Grab some eggs & Join us! 
Great fun, Great Prizes & GREAT friends! 
5th Annual BYC Easter Hatch-a-long!

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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you all!  Most helpful info here.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner 

Nest boxes will work at any height.  There is no one right answer for everyone.  Some things to consider. 

If you have them high enough above the floor and any litter that might be on the floor so they can comfortably get under there, that space does not reduce your effective coop size.  I'd give them at least a foot above your litter if you don't put them on the floor. 

If you have them low, you have to bend over to gather the eggs.  How's your back? 

You want your roosts higher than anything you do not want them roosting on, but you don't want your roosts too high.  They can injure themselves jumping down in the morning, heavier breeds being more at risk.  Also the higher the roost, the more horizontal room they need to fly down.  If the roosts are too high, they can fly into the feeder, waterer, nest boxes, or walls when they fly down.  They are not really very graceful flyers. 

You want your roosts to be below your ventilation so they are not in a draft in the cold wet weather. 

If the nest boxes are more than a couple of feet off the floor, it really helps to have a perch or ladder in front of the nest box to help them get in, sort of a step.  Some people build a shelf.

The nest box itself needs to have enough height so you can put a 4" or 5" lip on it to keep them from scratching out the nesting material and eggs and still have an opening about 8" high for them to use to enter it.  Depending on how you frame it, it may be OK as small as 12" in height or you may need 15" or 16".


Thanks for the tips, Ridgerunner!!  Very useful info...

I'm just a city slicker tryin to go country...
Check out my journey here in the BYC:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=54839
My other blog:  http://raymondwhitney.blogspot.com
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I'm just a city slicker tryin to go country...
Check out my journey here in the BYC:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=54839
My other blog:  http://raymondwhitney.blogspot.com
Reply
post #8 of 8

Thanks for the help with this question.. now I can continue my build!

Foghorn Leghorn: That boy's so dumb, he thinks a Mexican boarder pays rent.

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Foghorn Leghorn: That boy's so dumb, he thinks a Mexican boarder pays rent.

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