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Laying boxes or 'bay'?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FlyWheel, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    I'm in the process of expanding my small coop to accommodate more chickens. I'm planning on 4 or 5 EEs, a couple of Australorps (which I already have) and perhaps a Cuckoo Marans. According to the - *ahem* - 'formula' this would mean 4 nesting boxes, however I was wondering, are separate cubicles really necessary? Would a single long bay, perhaps with front door openings, be just as good? Many times I have seen more than one hen trying to lay in the same nest, sometime simultaneously!

    If it makes any difference, the nesting boxes/bay would likely end up being used for both 'meal' eggs as well as hatching and brooding. Which brings the question, what would be a good height from the coop floor to accommodate the chicks as well?



    (Strange, how the correct spelling of neither "Australorps" or "Marans" are in the spell check dictionary...)
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  2. owlflights

    owlflights Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015
    SE Iowa
    Typically it is 4-5 hens to one nesting box. If you are going to have 8 hens, probably only two nesting boxes would be necessary. I do my boxes 14x14x14. One long bay can work, but to keep the hens comfortable it should be kept dark in some way.

    But, incubating and brooding in nesting boxes can go awry. Other hens shoving into the nest box to lay eggs next to the broody can mess with her, possibly causing her to abandon the eggs. Or the broody can take in the other layers' eggs and cause a staggered hatch, where the broody either leaves the remaining partially incubated eggs for her hatched chicks, or ignores her hatched chicks to continue incubated the remaining eggs. Also, the rest of the flock can take badly to the chicks and try to hurt them. Letting a broody hatch inside the coop is a gamble and for a better scenario she and her eggs should be moved and separated.
     
  3. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member


    OK. So I should make a set of nesting boxes separate from the rest of the coop? It would simplify construction, but will the hens 'know' to use them for brooding rather than setting up a nest inside the coop? I have never moved a brooding hen for the very reason you mentioned; potential abandonement. Most of the chicken coop plans/pictures I have seen here on BYC have the nesting boxes part of the coop.
     
  4. owlflights

    owlflights Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2015
    SE Iowa
    Yes your nesting boxes should be inside the coop, I was just saying that you should have a separate area for brooding. I have seen some people use large dog cages or build a separate area inside the coop etc. But, if what you are doing works, don't change it just because I tell you to. In fact, if you've ever had a broody, you already have more experience with this than I do! I am just always on here absorbing people's information and experiences, and I try to help out where I can. Also, I missed the part where you said you were expanding your current flock and assumed you were new to chickens.

    Anyways, back to your original questions! Yes I believe a large single nesting box will work fine. And about the height for the chicks, I think about 8 inches will be ok as long as they have a soft landing. Or higher if they have a ramp of some sorts.
     
  5. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    OK, Nesting box(es), at least 2 as an integral part of the coop, no more than 8 inches above the bedding. And I do intend to have a ladder/ramp leading to the 'porch' in front of the boxes. Also keep the brooding area separate.

    Actually, that is pretty much how I have done it in the past: I have kept the hatched chicks indoors until they got large enough to integrate them into the rest of the flock. I had the idea that this also helped 'imprint' them on me so they wouldn't be as flighty when I was in the pen. I would then keep them in a dog cage until they reached about half size, this period would also let the rest of the chickens get used to them.

    If I were to make a seprate brooding pen, should I make it so the brooding hen can get in and out? and if so how should I do it so that the chicks would remain inside and safe?


    Dang, this board is slow! I takes a full 8-10 seconds before anything I type appears in the edit box! :old
     

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