1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Automatic cover for nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mbrhag, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. mbrhag

    mbrhag New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Dec 30, 2011
    Hello,
    We have a wonderful coop for our 200 pastured hens. We built about 40 neat custom nest boxes with rear-rollouts and we love them ~ we gained so much valuable advice from you good folks at BYC!
    But now we have a problem. Though we have plenty of roost room for all hens to be comfortable, many prefer to sleep in the nest boxes. For several months we have been pulling them off the nests and covering the nests with sheets of lattice each evening, then opening them back up before daybreak. We have a light that comes on around 4 am in the roost area, so the hens are up and active very early. Unfortunately, even when we get out there to uncover the nest boxes by 5 am, there are still a couple of hens that needed to lay early, so they end up laying on the floor. And those early mornings are the pits for my husband!! [​IMG]

    So, has anyone ever found or made an automatic cover/curtain for nest boxes ~ one that we could set to open around 3 am, and close in the evenings before the hens start trying to roost in the nests? I'd appreciate any advice!
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  2. Mavrik

    Mavrik Chillin' With My Peeps

    263
    14
    111
    Jun 15, 2011
    What is your budget? LOL Here is a couple of quickie ideas. Use a window roll-up curtain and move it with a poop door motor. Some chickens will probably find a way to sneak in though. Use a motorize gate like some apartments have but with fencing or solid.
     
  3. mbrhag

    mbrhag New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Dec 30, 2011
    Thanks! I have access to lots of odds and ends and scrap from business and home remodels, so I was thinking we might construct something like you mentioned. However, the hens are our children's farm fresh egg business, so the business could purchase a ready-made cover, if there is such a thing. Just trying to come up with any idea at all that would work in this situation.
     
  4. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,424
    51
    244
    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    I would love to see some pics of your rear roll out nest boxes! I am thinking about making some.
     
  5. mbrhag

    mbrhag New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Dec 30, 2011
    I will try to post some pix. They are an answer to prayer, after many years of making do with many other kinds of nests. With the rear roll outs, the eggs come out clean, and I don't have to set foot in the hen house to gather eggs. Works so great for kids, too! I truly love, love, love them.
     
  6. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    I to wouldn't mind having a look, sorry have no ideas for your situation. Why not just let them sleep in the nest boxes though or do they mess them up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  7. mbrhag

    mbrhag New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Dec 30, 2011
    Yes, unfortunately when they sleep in the boxes they soil the carpet pieces we use for liners. That causes dirty eggs to roll out the back, and it defeats the whole purpose of our nifty nests~ we want clean eggs :) Plus we have to clean or replace the carpet pieces far too often.
    When we keep them locked out of the nests at night the boxes stay very clean and therefore the eggs roll out clean, as well.
     
  8. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    Oh O.K, yeha i don't let my hens sleep in the nest boxes either have to replace the straw to much.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by