Any ideas on designs for nest boxes my hens will actually USE?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lilredhen, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. lilredhen

    lilredhen Hatching

    Feb 19, 2007
    I love this forum.[​IMG]

    I'm getting ready to build the nest boxes for my new coop. I finally removed the nests from my old coop since my hens NEVER laid in them, always on the floor. They were 12"X12" and 12" off the floor. They had straw in them and golf balls and a curtain to keep it dark. Also the hinged roof was 12'' above the nests. Too small do you think? They slept in them just fine tho, sitting IN the nest not roosting on the edge. I have Leghorns.

    Any ideas? I don't want to make the same mistakes again, whatever they might have been.
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Maybe they didn't like the curtains. I say work with them and just put the boxes on the floor! Mine just lay on the floor in their next box/house.
  3. FamilyOfChickens

    FamilyOfChickens Songster

    Mar 24, 2007
    Northwest Indiana
    Well, I'd put them 2' off the floor. When you find eggs on the floor, stick them in the nesting box and they should start to lay there. And I would nix the curtain idea. Light=lay in chickens, so you want as much light as possible in there. I would imagine they wouldn't like feeling closed in, also.
  4. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Also, make sure that the chickens have a place to roost that is higher than the nest boxes. That'll cut down on sleeping in the nests.
  5. lilredhen

    lilredhen Hatching

    Feb 19, 2007
    I don't mind them laying on the floor in their smaller coop; I can reach the eggs. In the new one it will be not so convenient.

    In the new coop I'm planning for boxes jutting out at about 2' off the floor. Higher roosts are a great idea. Gotta keep the girls happy!

    I always thought they liked dark and cozy areas for laying? Do you think hens generally prefer sharing one larger nest or the individual cubicles?
  6. wren

    wren Songster

    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    I have my nests 3 feet off the ground and a roost in front of the nests. They can walk along and pick out the nest that they want. IMO hens sometimes share nests when they are broody. If a hen only has to defend the front opening of the nest it's easier on her.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2007
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Mine all share one corner of a big nesting box.
  8. lilredhen

    lilredhen Hatching

    Feb 19, 2007
    Thanks everyone for your help.

    I'm sure, this new coop will be perfect -- until the chickens move in that is! Never know what antics they'll have in store for us. I'll use all your ideas and hopefully not have to totally rebuild anytime soon![​IMG]
  9. EurekaSouth

    EurekaSouth Chirping

    Quote:Thank you so much for the great tip!! I hadn't thought of that and am getting ready for put nests in for my hens who will start laying in about 4-7 weeks and will certainly incorporate that into my plans!

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