Chicken nest box size (w chicks)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by nes, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. nes

    nes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Outside Ottawa
    I have out chicken & her (former) eggs in a dog crate to keep the other chickens away from her, the eggs started hatching 2 days ago. This morning I found a dead chick, looks like he ran out between the bars of the dog kennel (he was hatched overnight so there could have been something wrong with him, I don't know) and was trampled. For now I've placed a cardboard box inside the kennel so hopefully the chicks can't get out (the other chickens/ducks are now out for the day anyway).

    How big should a nest box W chicks be?

    I've got to build 2 to 3 of them tonight... (hens all went broody...). I'd like to give the chicks as much room as possible with out it costing too much.


    ETA: Oh figured it out, going to line the inside of the dog crate with plywood (couple " high), but I'm still interested in other solutions, we want to build something more permanent later.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    One solution is to let the mama raise the chicks in with the flock. That's what I do.

    Usually a mama keeps mothering the chicks for at least 4 weeks, sometimes longer. That means at least a square foot of space for each chick, and that's not a lot. It also does not give them any outdoor space (for sunlight and vitamin D, if nothing else.) Keeping the mama and chicks separate also raises the problem of what to do with the chicks when the mama quits mothering. She will stop protecting the chicks from the rest of the flock, and the chicks can easily be attacked and killed. Really, they need a separate grow out pen (with coop and outdoor access) until they are full size, around 4 months. Raising the chicks in with the flock solves this problem; the flock is already used to the chicks when the mama abandons her mothering chores, so they leave them alone, at least enough that they can grow up.

    Of course none of this is guaranteed; they are individuals. It's worked for me for about 6 clutches of chicks, with different mamas. And it is essentially how they behave in the wild, at least apparently. I've read a number of times of a mama hatching her chicks in hiding from the flock, then bringing the chicks to the flock around 3 days of age.
  3. nes

    nes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Outside Ottawa
    I think it might have been one of the ducks or the goose that stepped on the chick, not the other chickens.
    We also have some 2m/o turkey poults right beside the chicks and I saw one of the chicks run in there & get pecked this morning.

    Unfortunately I don't really have an easy place to throw the ducks/goose out too, we're going to build them a separate house, but hadn't planned on it this year.

    You brought up some really good points though, maybe we should find a way to separate the other animals from the chickens instead of the other way around ... [​IMG]

    I definitely want the chicks to be able to get outside, that is part of our management plan.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  4. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I had a similar situation as yours.

    I gave my broody hen a large dog crate to separate her from the rest of the flock.

    Inside the dog crate was a small white file box with a hole cut out so it was warm and cozy and draft-free inside this nest box.

    I also lined the large dog crate with cardboard to prevent drafts and keep the baby chicks inside (and keep the shavings/bedding inside).

  5. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Go get a large refrigerator or washing machine box and cut it down for them to keep them apart with the broody hen to keep them separate for the time being and the broody might just take care of them for you if you are lucky. Take them out separately or while free ranging to see what happens and if all is good integrate them right now and as soon as you can.

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