Originally Posted by Justus80
Thank you! That is a lot of helpful information! I noticed the cleats were a little too far spaced yesterday myself and plan on adding a few. It's definitely a working progress. I took the week off last week just to finish what I have done so far since I started losing chicks to raccoon's Friday before last. As far as predators my biggest fear are the raccoon's, possum's, and chicken hawks. I live on half an acre and the entire area is fenced plus my dog is outside most of the day unless it's too hot for him. And luckily so far he's only showed curiosity for the chickens but I still watch him pretty close when I'm letting them roam around. I have an outside cat as well that keeps stray cats run off but I know for a fact he won't bother the chickens. I've seen him let a possum eat out of his dish and not complain at all. I really didn't consider that the chicken wire wouldn't be strong enough and appreciate the heads up. As soon as it's affordable I'll definitely have to reinforce it like you suggested. The next thing on my list is to add some dividers or something to the nest box and to install a hatch from the outside that I can collect the eggs from without going into the coop everytime. They all lay inside the box no problem but even though it's 15 square feet they act like only one hen can be in there at a time except for at night. So I thought dividers or even separate boxes made with 2x4's might help that.
That's a lot of work you've done and still plan to do - all worth it from the looks of the space you've provided your hens! Hens do like seclusion either when laying eggs or snoozing for the afternoon.
I have an open nestbox area in the new coop now but there are individual nestboxes in the area. I've been trying to find taller boxes because these seem kinda low to me. They're plastic and easy to empty and clean but can't find taller sides anywhere.
Our old little coop had secluded round entrance nestboxes and very roomy nesting area inside each divided box which they loved.
The old coop had 16x16" by 2-ft tall individual nestboxes - larger than needed for laying eggs but the hens loved to snooze in them - the back door of the egg collection box is open to photograph the two broody Silkies. I once read that hens like round-hole entrances and my girls certainly liked these round-hole roomy nestboxes.