Ideas on roosts and nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hereachick, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. hereachick

    hereachick Out Of The Brooder

    Hi - I'm looking for ideas on roosts and nesting boxes my coop is home to 15 chickens (just babies now) and 4 ducks. (4 silkies, 3 mille fleur,8 brown egg layers).The coop is 16 x 14.The ducks have about a 4 ft section (closest to the door - since they are messy and don't mind the cold as much) and the chickens have the rest. It is seperated by plastic chicken wire which we use as a seperator and a door to let the chickens out to the run (there's one big double sided door which we keep open during the day).The run is 16x16 and is also covered by plastic chicken wire with supports to keep the snow from making it sag to much.
    My questions are how many nesting boxes will I need and how many roosts? I think I would like to put the nesting boxes along the side wall so they are easy to get to and clean and put the roosts along the back wall in descending order.My coop height is 8ft how high and how big should I make the roosts? Also, how low should I start the nesting boxes and what size should I make them? Should I do double or triple rows of nesting boxes? Also should I put roosts outside in the pen? Right now since they are only young yet we are using cardboard boxes as both roost and a place to hide out.
    Eventually I'd like to make the pen bigger with a stronger top covering than won't sag in winter Any suggestions on what to use? Also, if I use 2x4's for my pen when I enlarge it how do I get them to stay straight in the ground? Currently I 'm using metal fence posts banged deeply into the dirt. I'm thinking too on getting some ornamental chickens will they roost along with the egg layers.Thanks for any help anyone can give me I am new to chickens and want only the best for my flock.Their part of the family now so I want them to be happy and safe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2008
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Figure one nest box for every three to four hens. Having a double row of nest boxes (one on top of the other) is a great space savor. I would start the bottom nest boxes at about 12 inches off the floor. Make the boxes about 12x14 or 14x14, possibly larger if you have larger breeds (like Jersey Giants or Brahmas).

    Figure ten inches on the roost for each chicken. They will tend to crunch together but having the space is important in case anyone gets into 'tuffs' over roost space.

    The most critical factor with your roosts are to have them higher than the nest boxes otherwise you'll have hens sleeping in the nest boxes and then you get pooey eggs.

    For wooden fence posts the best idea is to cement them into the ground. If that's not an option then try to bury them at least 2 to 3 feet down, depending on your winter conditions and any potential ground movement.
     
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    Oh i hope someone posts pics of theirs...would be interested in seeing picutures [​IMG]
     
  4. scrapmom5

    scrapmom5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am worried about your plastic chicken wire...predators will easily get through the plastic stuff. I went to our local hardware store and with the managers help did some "stress" tests on the different fencing material. We went witht he metal chicken fencing that had a rubberized coating on it. It was the stronger product by a long shot yet still had small enough openings to prevent the smaller critters from getting in. One neighbor even stated that the cougars and racoons couldn't get through it. (but were able to get under it) We buried ours about 6 inches down and flared outward so that whatever started digging would run into more fencing. It seems to be working.[​IMG]
     
  5. hereachick

    hereachick Out Of The Brooder

    [​IMG] Thanks everyone! Yes, scrap mom I know what you mean, we used the plastic netting as a seperator inside the pen and find that over time it stretches out alot.We had also used it for cover on the outside run.It has made it thru the winter but, we do plan on replacing it when we remodel the pen alittle it tends to sag with the heavy snow and sleet.For now we have wooden supports to hold it higher.It is doing the job tho,hawks and eagles have flown over heard but, none have tried to get at the chickens -guess they figure it too much work.The side fence is all metal chicken wire and is into the ground by 2 ft. Thanks again for all the help.
     
  6. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    In our nestbox we have dish pans because they clean out nice and we put a layer of pine shavings.Although we had 4 nests they only used 2 (12 australorpes +1 araucana)The bottom two nestboxes are level with the roosts,mine don't sleep in them.It's about 2 feet off the ground.
    Our roosts are 2 feet off the floor, kinda like a rectangler box frame that is covered with wire to keep them from going in their manure.The box is hinged to the wall so that I can raise it up and hook it to clean under in the spring.The roost has two 2x4 roughcut boards 1 foot apart, 6 feet long that the edges are rounded.(sorry you can barely see the roost ,just the roo) Will
    [​IMG]
     

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