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Chicken Nest Box question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kiaya611, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. kiaya611

    kiaya611 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read many different "calculations" on how to figure how many nest boxes you need per how many laying hens. They vary from 1:3 to 1:8. I have 42 chicks. Most of which are pullets. There are only 5 that are st run so I am not sure on those and there in the possibility of error on sexing from the hatchery, but otherwise, I will have in the vicinity of 40 laying hens. I am trying to figure out how many nest boxes I need. I don't want to build 40 nest boxes if they aren't needed, but I don't want to build 10 and need 20. Can anyone give me a "real life" number of nest boxes that I will need for this many hens?

    Your help is great ly appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2007
  2. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :)The ratio I hear the most is 1 nestbox for every 4 hens. So I would say 10 nestboxes minimum, the more the better but atleast 10. I used four nest boxes with my 12 hens and they usually only use one, I only have 7 hens now but they still only use one nestbox, which one changes often. Hope this helps
     
  3. kiaya611

    kiaya611 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the info. I think I will make an even 12 since I have the space. That will be easy out of plywood.
     
  4. jdgriffith

    jdgriffith New Egg

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    how many nest boxes for 20 laying hens
     
  5. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    5 should be enough.
     
  6. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1 nest box for every 3-5 hens.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Kiaya, how big do you plan to make them? You’ll often see a 12” x 12” minimum for full-sized hens, which will work, but I like them bigger. I made mine 16” x 16” x 16”. I often have 2 or even 3 sharing a nest at one time. They can still do that in a smaller nest, but they might wind up laying on top of each other.

    Another reason I like them a bit bigger is that I let broodies hatch in those nests. I have used smaller nests and I find a chick is a lot more likely to fall from the nest if the nest is small. Chicks often climb on top of a hen and if she is too close to the edge of the nest, they can fall off. A high lip across the front can help with that too, plus it keeps them from scratching out the bedding and eggs when they are adjusting the nest just the way they like it.

    You could build a community nest box. There are different sizes but think of a box maybe 2’ deep and 4’ to 5’ long with openings on each end. Hinge the top so you can open it to get the eggs. These don’t work really great for broody hens, but just two of these could easily handle your 40 hens as far as laying eggs. There are lots of different ways to do these things.

    That ratio of 4 to 1 will work, but that’s geared more toward smaller flocks. As Picco said, they all tend to lay in one or two anyway. With larger flocks like your 40, you could go with a 5 to 1 ratio instead, which means 8 would be plenty. I’m not going to criticize anyone for going more because too many is better than not enough, but in your case, I really don’t think it is necessary. Of course, that gives you room to expand your flock if you want to. I do like some flexibility.

    20 hens is getting in that nebulous area where 4 to 1 will work but 5 to 1 will probably work. Four nests would probably work but five gives you that sense of security. Most of them will still use the same one or two.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014

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