Are nest boxes required?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sgsf, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Sgsf

    Sgsf Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010
    The floor of my coop is hay and dirt. And the inner cop where they walk up the ramp is hay on top of chicken wire. Will the hens make a nest and lay eggs, or will I need to make nesting boxes? If I do, where do I put them? We can only afford to keep them in the coop. In the house is a NO. :p
  2. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    If you don't have a nest box you may have to look for eggs more
    I have a lame hen and didn't have a box, she would lay on the bottom of the coop. So I didn't get clean eggs.
    I gave her a box and have nice clean eggs now .
    My box is away from the roost right on the floor of the coop for her. She doesn't roost. But the pullets do.
  3. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    Some folks just let them lay anywhere and gather the eggs from all over. This would make me nervous since you can't be sure how old they are unless you cover all of their areas with a fine tooth comb. If they lay on the floor of the coop the eggs are more likely to get broken (as well as dirty as the above post mentions). If an egg breaks inside the coop you will most likely have a frenzy of egg eating on your hands. Once chickens find out how delicious their own eggs are you will have a big problem on your hands.
    There are a lot of great ideas for building nests on the coop pages or in many of the threads. Just do a search. Mine are on 2 side-walls and stick out on both sides of the walls (inside and outside the coop). I just framed in for the nests like you would frame in a short, but very wide window. The boxes are supported on the outside by corbels (made from 2x4s) and on the inside with 2x4 blocking. Once the sides were built (they are open on the inside of the coop but sectioned off to create separate nests) I just made a lid several inches wider and a little deeper, and attached it to the outside of the coop with hinges. That way I can collect the eggs without having to go inside. I used a heavy duty rubber as flashing over the piano hinge to keep out the rain (this rubber is for lining shower pans and top end is slid under the siding).
    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  4. Sgsf

    Sgsf Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010

    Can you show me a picture of your nesting box, and should I just put hay in the nesting box or should I put a towel in of some sort?
  5. alaskachick

    alaskachick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Wasilla, Alaska
    No not necessary. We humans probably like the idea of nest boxes more than a chicken. I built beautiful boxes for my small flock (14) and I have yet to find an egg in one. They lay in corners of the coop or under my table that holds my feed. I tried to make those spots more comfortable for them since they insisted on laying there, but when I went to check on them, all the hens had spread the hay out and where all laying on it even though it was spread thin.
  6. Sgsf

    Sgsf Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010
    Quote:Ah, alright. I guest whenever we get around to building one, thats when we'll try and add it to the cage. It's an organization piece I guess. [​IMG]
  7. ScarlettFever

    ScarlettFever Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 6, 2010
    East Central Alabama
    I've tried several "official" nesting box designs, and neither my first single-hen nor my four newest pullets (19 wks) have had any interest in them! The first hen chose her spot on the coop floor but liked it when I took some coco-liner (the kind used in hanging planters) and fluffed it up as bedding. It kept the egg safe and snug and was easy to pull off any dirty parts each day. (Big Lots and Family Dollar type stores sell the coco-liner a LOT cheaper than garden-supply places, by the way!) The new hens prefer to lay in their "bathing-dirt" pots, thank you very much! (I have several large plastic potters left over from plant purchases which I filled with clean/dry/fine dirt, much to their bathing delight----unfortunately they find them equally delightful for laying!) I tried just about everything to convince them to shift where they lay, but in the end I just put two of those pots into their coop's nesting area, and they found the compromise agreeable. I did attempt to sneak some coco-liner on top of the dirt, thinking it might be a bit cleaner. But the next morning that stuff was all over the place---except in the pot!!! In the end, I have to admit it's not a bad nest at all. The dirt is quite soft and fluffy, no moisture to harbor dangerous bacteria (etc), the eggs are safe from trampling....and they actually come out exceptionally clean! I guess mother-hen(s) know best!
  8. kano

    kano Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2008
    Santiago de Chile
    A coop without nesting boxes?[​IMG].....I don't think so.

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