How many nesting boxes are enough?


In the Brooder
9 Years
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?

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.
With my luck, that's exactly what I'm predicting.
Apparently, we could have managed with only one nest box. We have 6 hens and they all use the same one everyday.
We put up four for 21 hens. They used two of them regularly
(#1 and #3) and RARELY someone would lay in #2. Apparently #4 is haunted or something.
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.

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