How many roosts/nests should my hens have?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pinkchick, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. pinkchick

    pinkchick "Ain't nuttin' like having da' blues"

    May 30, 2008
    Washington State
    I have more than enough space for my hens to lay but they seem intent on fighting or pushing each other out of two nests in the coop. They generally fight over the two spaces closest to the walls. The neighbor that I received them from had very small cubbies for them the lay in and she had 16 chickens and six nest boxes.
    Each of these gals has a space of 12"x18" to use in my coop, but no.

    Should I have partitions in between all the nests to make them more like they had at their previous home?

    Also, should they sleep in a different place than they lay?

    Thanks...BYC is the bomb!
  2. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Nest boxes for full size hens should be 12 to 14 inches wide and deep. You need one box for every 3 or 4 birds. They like privacy and they seem to have their favorite box, usually one that is already occupied [​IMG] . An 18" wide box might be a little big.

    They shouldn't be sleeping in their boxes. I think the roosting space recommendation is 12 inches per bird. My toost is about 4 feet off the ground. Some folks' are lower.
  3. DouglasPeeps

    DouglasPeeps Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    Quote:Yes! The reason is simple really, you don't want to have poop all over your eggs. Make sure your roosts are much higher than your nesting boxes. This should encourage them to want to be on the roosts at night. I had to put my chickens up on the roosts for about a week. (trained them!) I waited until just before dark and then moved them up to the roosts. In less then a week everyone was up on the roosts each night and still are. Hope this helps!
  4. pinkchick

    pinkchick "Ain't nuttin' like having da' blues"

    May 30, 2008
    Washington State bad, the egg laying areas are 12" wide by 17" long so I don't believe that they are to wide, but perhaps you are right that they are too long maybe. I should probably shorten them.

    NEXT, should the roost be right over the top of the nest boxes , or can I put it in another spot in the coop? The reason I ask is that I designed my coop to have hatches that open from the outside so that all I have to do is open and grab eggs, so changing this around may be really involved.

    What should my roost look like? Is it just a perch or is it something they can actually lay on/in?

    Totally new to this, bare with me. Thanks
  5. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Where is the poo going to land when they are on the roost? That should tell you where to put the roost.

    The roost is something they sit/perch/roost on. A 2 X 4 with the wide side up works or a thick branch for a more natural look.
  6. 3peeps

    3peeps Songster

    Jul 4, 2007
    Yes, the best situation is to have the poop go nowhere near eggs, food or water, and not to be piling up anywhere too long as to attract flies, etc. in the warmer months. Some people put in boards under the roosts to catch the droppings, then they clean them regularly. I do the "deep litter" method, where you keep adding extra bedding (pine shavings for me) and the chickens scratch everything in. Always keep in mind poop and where it will land before you install anything into the run or coop.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: