How many nesting boxes are enough?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sheetmetalpete, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. sheetmetalpete

    sheetmetalpete Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2010
    Central Minnesota
    My flock of 19 mixed heavies are a bit over 4 months old so I figure it's time to install nesting boxes in the coop. I've done all the reading and recommendations but I'll ask anyways - how many nesting boxes will I really need? 4 or 5 or more?

  2. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Figure 1 box for every 2-3 birds. If the ladies don't all have to lay at once (which is what my little darlings seem to do), you might be able to get away with 4 hens per box.
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I have 6 boxes for my 16.

    They all use the same one.
  4. sheetmetalpete

    sheetmetalpete Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2010
    Central Minnesota
    Quote:[​IMG] With my luck, that's exactly what I'm predicting.
  5. duluthmom

    duluthmom Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 20, 2010
    Apparently, we could have managed with only one nest box. We have 6 hens and they all use the same one everyday.
  6. alaskachick

    alaskachick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Wasilla, Alaska
    most text book info says 1 box for every four hens. They usually find their favorite box and stick to it.
  7. WingingIt

    WingingIt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    We put up four for 21 hens. They used two of them regularly [​IMG] (#1 and #3) and RARELY someone would lay in #2. Apparently #4 is haunted or something. [​IMG]
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:If chickens were consistent I might be able to give you an accurate answer to what you really need, but their personalities differ so much I don't think there is one right answer. My guess is that you could get by with 4 but I'd probably build 5 for 19 hens. Yeah, they will probably mostly use 2 or 3. But is your flock going to grow? Will you have a broody that takes up a nest? Maybe two broodies? Some of mine have no problem laying together while I have one that not only won't allow another hen in the nest with her but spends hours on the nest every day, even when she does not lay herself.

    I built 2 for what I thought would be for 6 or 7 laying hens. But I had to build a third. I may have only had 6 adult hens, but I raise my own replacement pullets. I keep the laying hens that will be removed from the flock until they start the molt and also have various candidates to replace them that are laying at the same time. My permanent laying flock may only be 6 or 7 hens but at one time I had 13 hens and pullets laying plus a broody in one of the nests. I made it by adding only one more nest for a total of three, but I am seriously considering adding a 4th nest before next year for a "permanent" flock of only 6 or 7 laying/breeding hens.
  9. sheetmetalpete

    sheetmetalpete Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2010
    Central Minnesota
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I'll go with 5 and see if that's enough when they start laying - hopefully sooner than later.
  10. ChickLover98

    ChickLover98 The Chicken Princess

    Apr 24, 2010
    I have six hens and all six lay in the same box, even know we have six boxes, so i'd say at least 1.

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