The thing with the nesting boxes is you going to one place to find eggs. I was at a man's place today that had hens laying eggs all over his yard. He was by himself so he didn't even take the time to collect them all.
And the roost is just like us going to bed. Have you ever gone to bed on a pallet? I have and had never gotten any sleep "down there". The exception is for chickens to go to roost is natures way of putting them to be in a safe way. As high as they can get. It's just natural for them to go up on the roost at bed time.
Mine had to have a roost. When I put them in the coop for the first time they were trying to get onto the trim piece at the bottom of the window. Bashing into the wall and a hard landing to boot. (It was late and the roost was on the list for the next day)
I took the time to put a roost up and they went straight to it.
I had them since they were only a couple days old and this was their first intro to a coop.
Nest box I agree is needed. I want to KNOW that I have collected fresh eggs not just found an old icky one.
OH and a trick my grandmother taught me with eggs.
If it floats to the top you better stop.
If it sinks to the bottom you've got em.
Her way of sorting fresh from spoiled.
(It works by the way)
An old egg will have a larger air pocket and thus float.
I'm still finishing my big coop (sigh) and my current run inhabitants are 3 - 9-10 week old Silkies. I put low roosts on the ground under the coop (3 in high) and they're willing to nap on them during the day, or stand on them to reach the tops of weeds
, but at night I always find a little pile of fluff in the same spot on the ground! The finished coop will have roosts for the LF girls who will be joining the Silkies when they get a bit bigger, but I'm allowing plenty of open floor space for the "Silkie pile". The woman that I got them from has milk crates on the ground totally outside of the coop that her girls lay and brood in with no problems....
As a newbie, I guess my big plan is just to allow all the options they could want and modify depending on what they seem to prefer (adding, raising roosts...adjusting # of nest boxes...etc.). This site has so many designs and stories and ideas...my head is still spinning ( in a good way!), but I haven't seen a one which doesn't include a roost of some kind and a designated nest box.