A question about nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CESpeed, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my head I see my coop (for 24 hens and 1 rooster) 36 ft long (to accomodate 24 nesting boxes 18 x 18), 6 ft high:1 ft off the ground for nesting boxes, 2 ft head clearance with the roost at about 3.5 ft off of the ground (to accommodate the nesting boxes and head space) and 2.5 ft for head space. I'm thinking about 5 or 10 ft wide for the coop itself plus an additional 10 ft for the chicken yard.

    I imagine that my mothers will probably stay in their nests, so their half would have a skylight and my egg layers hlaf would be next to the garden so they can do bug patrol.

    I'm not sure of what to do with the rooster because I know he has to be separated from the brooders while they are incubating but I dont think I can have a friend for him because they'll fight (he will have about 4 ft wide for himself when he isnt breeding).

    I read that hens use the same nesting box but wont those nesting need their own nest box? If I can cut down on the number of nesting boxes on the egg layers side, that would be awesome.

    I hope this is clear; thank for the input!
     
  2. Doubleyolker

    Doubleyolker Out Of The Brooder

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    you don't need a nest box for every hen. I would think one box for 3-4 hens would be way enough. Usually you will have the favorite box and and they all want that one.
     
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2 a box for every 4 hens is really all you need and they are still unlikely to use them all.

    Be careful with the placement of your skylight. Hens like to lay where it is a little more dark and hidden away to feel safe. If you light up the boxes they won't lay in them.

    I don't have a rooster so I can not speak to that, but even when I have a broody my hens still lay eggs in the favorite box with her. They will cram in side by side.
     
  4. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks the egg layers side just got smaller. If a hen is incubating, she won't need her own nest or will one chicken sit for all breeders?
     
  5. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you are asking if a hen will hatch other hen's eggs? If so, then yes. When a hen goes broody she doesn't care whose eggs she is sitting on, or if they are fertile or really if there are any eggs at all. If her brain says nest then she will nest on whatever you give her or nothing at all.
     
  6. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are serious about hatching eggs via broody on a regular basis be sure to get a few hens of a very broody breed like cochins or silkies. They aren't good layers but a lot of the best laying breeds rarely or never go broody.
     
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  7. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What I asking is if a chicken is sitting on eggs, won't she need her own nest to sit on the eggs? I'm told that Aussies are very good mothers and I'd like 6 - 12 to raise babies for meat the others would be egg layers.
     
  8. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know how broody Aussies are but it seems extremely unlikely that you could get 6-12 out of 24 to all be broody at the same time no matter the breed. I still think 3-4 hens per box is a good ratio for all.

    If you are serious about raising birds for meat you may want to look into doing two flocks and having a meat specific breed. They mature MUCH faster - some can be processed as early as 8 weeks so it can be more cost effective than a duel purpose bird. But, they do need to be kept separate and cared for differently than a slower maturing, laying flock.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  9. trooper

    trooper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] You don't want your hens sleeping in the nest boxes.If they do then the boxes will wind up needing to be cleaned all the time.They will constantly poop in them.Believe me you don't need that many boxes either.I have 27 hens and 2 roosters and 6 nesting boxes.Sometimes they use all of the boxes and sometimes they use just certain ones.There is a formula for so many chickens per ft. and I'm not sure what it is.It can be found on BYC somewhere.I'd calculate that to see how much floor space you will need.Then with this footage you can figure how big to build your coop.My boxes are 14 and 18 inches off of the floor to the bottom of the boxes.I have my roosts about 5' or so off of the floor.I recommend a board that is at least 3 1/2 " wide for them to roost on.My roosters sleep with my hens on the roost.They don't need nesting boxes.Personally I would make the coop 10' wide.This will make it better to arrange the feeder and what ever"s In the coop.If I was you I'd do as much research as you can.When you get started it can be fairly costly and you really want to find out the doos and do nots in raising chickens.Also it can be easy to get aggravated and want to give up if you ain't careful.I love mine[​IMG] and I put a lot of time in them.The people on BYC have been very helpful.Sometimes you can get bum info but for the most part I have gotten good advise.After you get going then you can make changes as you see fit or need.I'm not knocking you,I just want to see you get started on the right track.[​IMG] I don't know it all.I learn every day about my chickens and believe me I make my share of mistakes.Like I said,these people on BYC are excellent advisers.Good luck and welcome aboard.
     
  10. CESpeed

    CESpeed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for the info! I'm not really interested in having a different breed of chicken. I understand they'll mature more slowly but it's just for my family so that's okay. What I still don't understand is how to get chickens to hatch and raise chicks so I'll have a constant meat supply. So far it sounds like all I'll get are eggs.[​IMG]

    Again thanks for the info so far, it has been helpful.
     

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