5 girls and 1 communal nest box...doesn't seem to be working? Do your hens wait in line to lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rachelwillow, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. rachelwillow

    rachelwillow In the Brooder

    Feb 19, 2013
    My gals are a little over 6 months and started laying 20 days ago. I'm not sure they all are, or at least they aren't every day, as we usually get 3 eggs and have gotten 4 for a few days now. I have one next box that is 24 inches long by 12 inches high and 12 deep. I wanted to try the communal nest box idea. The opening is about 12x12, so there is a nice cozy dark place inside. They are all laying in the same spot. I was thinking since it's 24 inches wide there would be room for two if they needed/wanted, after all isn't that the idea with the communal box? It was purchased as a double nest box and we took out the divider.

    Anyway, I have two questions. First off, the hens seem to kind of pile up waiting to lay an egg. There is often a little traffic jam in the coop, and while one is in the box the others are making a big stink about it. Seems like I need more boxes, but I always hear that they end up laying in the same spot anyway. Secondly, I thought about putting the divider back in, to make two boxes, but that means each box is only 12x12x12. This seems really small, as my gals, especially the Brahma is pretty huge and takes up more than half of the communal box. So what should I do? Add another double box on the other side of the coop? Leave it be? Put the divider back in and cut the hole bigger so I have two small boxes? Please advise! Thank you!
  2. MrPox

    MrPox In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2013
    I'm a newbie too so definitely not someone to give advice but can share my experience. We have two nest boxes approximately 12 x 12 x 12 and they all line up for one...every egg layed in one. From a size perspective, 12x12x12 seems to be fine for them. I put a golf ball in the other yesterday to see if that will encourage them to give it a try.
  3. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Crowing

    Jul 30, 2012
    Sherwood, OR
    My Coop
    My experience is that the hens prefer a divided box to a double-size box. This is based on giving our flock choices.
  4. They are chickens, thus, they have a flock mentality. They lay together, they build a clutch which probably is their inner instinctive drive to make sure their DNA makes the "pot". LOL

    One box per every six hens is about normal. They are going to do what they do. Offer them 6 boxes and they'll still just one or two. It's their way and nothing is going to change it.

    I do believe that 12 cubed is often too small for the large fowl, larger bodied hens. 14" cubed seems to better suit the larger birds needs.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: