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!

Can a Nest Box be Too Big?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dvlucke, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. dvlucke

    dvlucke Out Of The Brooder

    11
    1
    24
    May 8, 2012
    I built my coop out of mostly salvaged material. In my garage I had an old wooden storage chest I wasn't using. Because it opened from the top, I thought it would be great as the nesting box. I lifted it up on cinder blocks and placed it along one wall of the coop, cutting an opening through the chest and the wall so the hens will have access. The chest is perhaps 2.5 ft. deep, 4 feet long, and maybe 2 feet high. I put straw down as bedding material.

    I have 7 hens, and was wondering if this would work out. This seems much bigger than most people's nesting boxes, but I figured the ladies would appreciate the space. I could add 2 partitions to make 3 stalls if they would like that better.

    The hens are about 18 weeks and are not laying, so I can't tell if this is an agreeable arrangement.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    36,684
    4,692
    566
    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    Some people have communal nesting boxes which is pretty much what you are talking about, it seems to work well for them. Hens like to lay where other hens have or are laying (I'm sure you've seen the pics on BYC of three or four chickens squeezed into one box). I personally do like having more than one total though, because some hens are downright nasty in the nesting box and will not share. If you wind up with one of those the others have to wait their turn, and they may wind up laying on the floor etc if they can't have access to a box.
     
  3. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I would keep your current set-up for at least a full month after they start to lay, and see what they tell you. I think they would love that set-up, but they might also lay under it.
     
  4. dvlucke

    dvlucke Out Of The Brooder

    11
    1
    24
    May 8, 2012

    That's good news, I'll keep an eye out once they start laying. And they actually can't go under the nest box. It is attached to the outside of the coop, with a doorway cut through both the coop wall and chest wall. Under the nest box is outside of the coop. As it is now, the floor of the nest box is more or less level with the floor of the coop, perhaps a few inches higher. Is this okay? Raising the box by another level of cinder blocks might make it unstable. I can always build a higher, more sturdy support, but was hoping to save my cash and effort.
     
  5. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    There are lots of people who have floor level nest boxes...

    I would put some golf balls in there, just to help the girls figure out that they should lay there.

    Also, remember that they often do all sorts of mistakes when they first start laying, so definitely give them at least one full month before you even consider changing anything.

    Mine have been laying now for I think almost three months, and just two weeks back I found an egg by the waterer.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. dvlucke

    dvlucke Out Of The Brooder

    11
    1
    24
    May 8, 2012
    Just got my first egg a few days ago, in the nest box. I know at least 2 are laying because I found two right next to each other yesterday. Since starting the thread, I've collected 8 eggs, about half the size of normal large eggs. 1 was found on the coop floor near the pop door, and someone has laid 2 soft shells (so I guess that's 10 eggs) on the floor, outside the nest. So other than a few instances, it looks like the ladies like the nest. I'll keep an eye on things for a while and see how it goes. Thanks for the input
     
  7. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Congrats! I think that that counts as success!
     
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    36,684
    4,692
    566
    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    Congratulations on your first eggs. Sounds like everything is going pretty much to plan, good chickens.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by