Laying box need cover?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kerry, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Kerry

    Kerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2008
    Pahoa, Big Isle, Hawaii
    I'm building a, 8' x 10' PVC chicken tractor w/half roof, for 4 Barred Rocks. I've had, on the average, 6-12 hens and one rooster for about 20 years, all free range (meaning they run into all the neighbor's yards. The girls have been laying eggs in the carport attic and any cardboard box I place in the carport. The free range family is down to 6 now which I'll be phasing out in favor of a more neighborly considerate enclosed tractor with no rooster.

    I've read here that the ideal laying box should be 12" x 12" but I haven't read whether a box should have a cover (roof). If so, what height? Do they prefer open top (under a corrugated roofed enclosure) or an enclosed snuggly compartment?

    I plan on making two boxes connected by a common center wall with the bottom slightly slanted towards the rear so eggs will roll out the rear into a wire cage. The rear wall will only come down to within 2" of the slanted floor to allow the eggs to roll under it.

    I've been using torn newspaper strips for their cardboard box nests.

    Suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Kerry
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2008
  2. Acre of Blessings

    Acre of Blessings Canning/Sewing Addict

    Apr 3, 2008
    Axton, VA
    A 12 x 12 nesting box is standard size and I believe they (the chickens) do like a cover over them. I think it makes them feel secure, plus you don't want one jumping from a roost on top of one in the box.
     
  3. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aloha Kerry Here is what I use during the winter in my henhouse.In the warmer weather when I use a portable coop.I framed up a spot between the roosts so that a tupperware dish tub will drop right in and thats what I use for a nest box.So the answer to your question is ,you can use either.I think chickens adapt well and make do with what ever they have.Just depends on what you like really. Will
    [​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you don't have some sort of cover or roost, they may perch atop the wall and poo into the nest box. If you're set up in a way that you're pretty sure they won't decide to do that, then IMO the cover is optional (I'm sure there are some hens that want total privacy and darkness, but that does not seem to be the rule). Otherwise a cover or sloped roof is probably a good idea.

    Pat
     
  5. Kerry

    Kerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pahoa, Big Isle, Hawaii
    Thanks all,

    I like the idea of a cover more now, if only to keep others from jumping up on it and disturbing the layer. Slanted is a great idea.

    I also like the dish pan nests, easier to clean. Wondering if it's possible to cut a 2" wide slot in the back of a dishpan to allow eggs to roll.

    Will report back as to how it works out.

    With aloha,

    Kerry
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:If you did that you couldn't use regular bedding (shavings, hay), you would have to use astroturf or the green plastic-spikey doormat type stuff in the nest boxes instead. (Eggs won't roll away on regular bedding). The astroturf or doormat liners will then need regular hosing off.

    If you have no, or insufficiently cushy, bedding in the nestbox, eggs can get broken when the hen is getting up and going out, which is a Bad Bad Thing as not only do you lose the egg but it can lead to egg-eating, a hard habit to break.

    I'd stick with normal nest boxes, honestly, leave rollaway systems to battery farms and people with gajillions of hens. JMHO.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  7. Kerry

    Kerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pahoa, Big Isle, Hawaii
    Good points, thanks muchly,

    Kerry
     
  8. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the sloped roof is to make it unappealing for hens to sit on top (and poo).
     
  9. Kerry

    Kerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pahoa, Big Isle, Hawaii
    Hi chickenannie ,

    Re: "the sloped roof is to make it unappealing for hens to sit on top (and poo)." Got it. Good idea.

    Thanks,

    Kerry
     

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