How high should the shelf be for the nests?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sulteric, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Sulteric

    Sulteric In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2008
    Central Massachusetts
    I'm building a chicken coop. It's good to go but I haven't installed my shelving yet for their nests. How high off of the floor should they be?

    Also I assume hay or straw is best for their nesting boxes, is there anything else I can safely use?

    -Peter in Rutland (MA not VT)
  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    What type of birds do you have? There are some breeds, like Silkies, that can't fly up to high spots. The heavy breeds have a harder time than their bantam counterparts, too.
    Usually, the best thing to do is to have their nests as low as possible, and then have the roosts up higher. If you put the roosts up high, install a ladder for them to walk up, or install several roosts so they can jump from one up to the next, etc.
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    If you have the option I would have a double row of nest boxes with the bottom row close to the ground (or even on ground level) and then a row on top of those. Then, the chickens can chose which they want to use.

    I have my bottom row about ten inches off the ground and the top row about two feet off the ground. Most of my standards use the top row to lay their eggs.

    I personally don't like straw or hay for bedding. I use pine shavings. Straw and hay both tend to mat and can harbor mites and other pests; especially straw as it has hollow stems.

    The shavings are so easy to use and keep clean. You can just scoop out poop as often as needed or use the deep litter method (DLM) for the floor.

    Here's a picture taken during construction but it may give you an idea:

  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Lower than the roost, unless you want pooey eggs.

  5. Sulteric

    Sulteric In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2008
    Central Massachusetts

    I wound up putting them about 2' high or so, so I have room for expansion underneath.

    I'm not sure what type they are yet because I'm taking them off a friends hands but I guess I'll find out. I can always put a ramp in. I made the dividers between boxes removable for easy cleaning and access.

    Pine shavings sound good. I think I know of a place I can get them from.

    I'm using an old shed I converted. It has a cement floor with a drain in the middle. I'll have to figure that part all out. It does have excellent ventilation and is very shaded to keep them cool in the summer.

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