How many nesting boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by an123, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. an123

    an123 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Mar 27, 2017
    I will be building a coop and run soon. How many nesting boxes do I need? Does every chicken need their own?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    5,000
    1,197
    366
    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    About 1 per 5 hens is a plenty----if you had 20 hens they will probably only use 2---maybe 3.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  3. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

    5,539
    6,221
    416
    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    How many hens will you have and what breed(s)? Each hen doesn't need their own, they usually all end up in one or two nest boxes anyway. 1 nest box for every 4-5 hens is good enough.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,282
    3,587
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    How many hens and how big are your nests going to be? Each hen does not need her own nest. There are some rules of thumb to give you guidance. A standard one is one nest for every four hens if the nests are a minimum of 12” x 12”.

    I made mine 16” x 16” x 16” high, mainly because that was my stud spacing and it made framing them easy and cutting a 4’ or 8’ dimension into 16” segments gives little waste if you use it all. Mine can easily handle 5 per nest. A 2’ x 4’ “community nesting box” can handle 25 hens.

    I always suggest a minimum of two nests, even if you have 4 or fewer. It just gives you some added flexibility to handle events, say if you have a hen go broody. In the range of most of our flocks the 4 to 1 isn’t a bad rule to follow.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,041
    230
    151
    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    No, each hen does not need their own nesting box, We have 6 hens, 3 nesting boxes. Usually they only use 1 or 2 of them on any given day.
     
  6. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    355
    67
    99
    Jan 24, 2016
    Indiana
    I have 9 hens and 3 boxes. typically the use 2 of them. I have seen 2 in one box at the same time while the other 2 were empty.
     
  7. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    3,363
    684
    306
    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    I think ANY COOP should have at least TWO nest boxes. I have 14 hens and and 4 nest boxes in my coop they use 2 nest boxes. The rule of thumb is one nest box for every four chickens. Most BYCER's would tell you it is over kill I "PERSONALLY" think 6 to 1 is a more accurate ratio.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  8. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    355
    67
    99
    Jan 24, 2016
    Indiana
    My neighbor has 45 layers and 6 boxes, and at some points he has had more. I talked to him yesterday and he said he lets his average get to 12 birds per box before he adds more. He said there is squabbling sometime but he doesn't have eggs laid outside the boxes either. To me that seemed like a high number but it works for him.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,282
    3,587
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas

    As I said above mine are 16” cubes. I do think size is an important part of this question. But the reason I’m quoting your post, I regularly see 3 hens sharing one nest, even with the others empty. Sometimes my laying flock is down to 6 hens, sometimes it gets into the upper teens when I’ve evaluating which pullets to keep. I normally have three nests but put in a fourth when the numbers get higher.

    One time I have seven hens and three nests. Two of those nests had three hens crowded into them with the third nest empty. The last hen was out keeping the rooster company. With that same group I once saw all three nests with two hens in them at the same time. You just never know how they will arrange themselves.
     
  10. an123

    an123 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    Mar 27, 2017
    Thanks for all of the feed back. Being I have 8 chickens I will build 2 boxes for them.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by