How many Nest Boxes do I need for THREE Standard hens?


11 Years
Mar 9, 2008
Rhode Island
I am redesigning the small coop I have for my 3 hens. How many nest boxes do I need, and how high off the coop floor should they be??

Also, is it true that the roost bar HAS to be higher than the nest boxes or else the hens will sleep in the boxes?

If you need to know, I am getting 1 Americauna, 1 RIR, and 1 Plymouth Barred Rock.

Also, how many square feet does there run need to be?
And I have a feeling they will tear up the grass in there run, can 3 hens happily live on dirt if they do tear up the grass?
I would say one or two nest boxes would be fine, they will most likely all want to lay in the same one anyways, my boxes are about 2 - 2 1/2 feet off of ground, but some people use milk crates or 5 gallon buckets and stack the on floor, so where ever you put them I am sure they will figure it out.

as for the roost, not sure my is level with the nest boxes and some prefer to crowd in the nest boxes but most stay on the roost bar.

as for the run, the rule is 4 square feet per chicken, so an 8x4 run I think would be plently for the 3 of them, as for the grass if they do destroy it they will be fine on dirt, I have 13 chickens that had the grass in there run destroyed in about a month and they are fine, they do free range when I can let them but I throw in grass clipping and I found a thread on here about keeping grass in the run by building a 2x4 box and putting wire of the top so the chickens can eat the grass that comes out of the wire but still have access to the grass at all times
1 box is fine, 18"- 24" from ground, yes roost hight must be higher, 4 sq ft per bird is the norm.

Mine only use one. My nesting boxes are across the room from the roost. Everyonce in a while I will have a hen that decides she wants to roost there...and I tell her no and put her on the other roost. Works out pretty well.
One nest box is plenty; the rule of thumb is one for 4 hens. If you want to be sure they do not sleep in the nest box, leading to poopy eggs, make the roost higher. Some people use an open top nest. If you are getting baby chicks, leave the nest box out or close it off til they get ready to lay.

Rule of thumb for space is a minimum of 4 sq ft per bird in the coop and 10 sq ft per bird in the run.

Good luck!
My nesting boxes are not off the floor as there isn't enough room although the whole coop is 4 feet off the ground.
Will I have problems with my chicks nesting in these boxes? Right now they mostly hang out on the roost or on to of the boxes.

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