How many nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SouthernBornOUFan, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. SouthernBornOUFan

    SouthernBornOUFan Out Of The Brooder

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    I only plan to have 3 or 4 chickens. I've been wanting to get some since summer but got my coop built to late. Guess I'm waiting till spring.

    I have to add nest boxes and roosting perch. How many nest boxes do I need for just a few chickens? 1 for each? Also, do I need to make a multi-level perch for any reason?

    Sorry if this has been covered.
     
  2. DelhiRose

    DelhiRose Out Of The Brooder

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    We have four hens, and just one community nest box. It's about 24 inches wide, and suits them just fine.
     
  3. eds500

    eds500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd go with 2 boxes if you have the space and material or one larger box. I've read on here that you don't want more than 4 chickens for every box. I built 4 boxes for the 6 hens I plan to have though my house size allowed for up to that amount so I took advantage of the space.

    For the roost, I'm going with two perpendicular to each other because of the space I'm working in and the windows I have in the house. My house is 5' wide so I don't think 6 chickens would comfortably perch on a single roost. But they will have the option to if they choose. And with two windows, having two roosts will give each chicken an opportunity to have a window seat.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Even with only three or four birds, I'd opt for either 2 smaller nest boxes or 1 largish one (like Delhi mentioned). Ideally, you'd really only need one box for 3-4 birds, but there's always the off chance that a bird could go broody, in which case she will HOG the nest box and won't get off/out. As long as your roost allows at least 10-12 inches per bird, you don't need a stepped one. Now, if your roost is up high, and you're getting heavy breeds, you may need a chicken ladder for them to get up to it...
     
  5. rungirl

    rungirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It doesn't have to be complicated. I have 3 nice nest boxes for 8 hens. But there is a 5 gallon bucket standing in the corner with some bricks in the bottom and a thick layer of hay on top that works as "overflow", just in case the boxes are all occupied and they just can't hold it! I have also seen them share a box during egg laying rush hour. [​IMG]

    Lisa
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    One is enough. If you give them two, give them two different ones -- open top or front, on the floor or raised, more or less hidden, etc.

    I have 5 wooden open front nests, one open top plastic bin on the floor, and two spots where I leaned a scrap of OSB or masonite against the coop walll, left it, and someone layed behind it. Plus one corner between the nest boxes and a wall, on the floor. I've gotten eggs from all those places.

    I never paid for any of my nests, they were already lying around, in one form or another.

    If I were building a coop for 4 hens and just had to buy a nest, I'd buy a covered kitty litter box. Plenty for more than one if they want to lay together, has that hidden feel to it, and plenty big enough for two to lay at once, or a broody nest with chicks she hatches or you buy. Actually, I'd use the one I have lying around that the cat wouldn't use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2010
  7. LuckyDozen Farm

    LuckyDozen Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    I think what you will find with only 4 chickens is that they will all like one nest box better than the other and you will have all your eggs in the one box..
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I'd bet on it.
     
  9. SouthernBornOUFan

    SouthernBornOUFan Out Of The Brooder

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    So one nest box then for me. I have an older type wood crate thing I was debating to separate.. It's like 6 inches tall 2ft by 3ft wide. Some straw and it should do nicely.

    Thanks for the quick replies. I'm so excited.
     
  10. Mtn Cur

    Mtn Cur Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'd bet on it.

    I got a 12 hole nest box for free. I keep the bottom row closed up so only using the top six with my 10 sexlinks. They typically only use one box, maybe two every once in a while. They will fuss at each other to get out of the box so they can lay in that box. And won't use one of the other five, go figure. Chickens are crazy, to answer your question I'd just give them one box.
     

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