Neasting box/ boxes for 5 hens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Delmar, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    If I build a coop for 5 hens can I get buy with 1 nesting box or do I need more? how big should the nesting box/s be?
     
  2. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1 is fine for 5 hens.
    14x14 seems to be a good size. You could also make it wide so they have more choice. Mine is 15 high x 18 deep x 36 wide. They all lay in the same spot on the right side of course.
    Folks use buckets, boxes, plastic milk crates or whatever they have around.
     
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd go with two. Rule of thumb is one box for four hens. One box for five is pretty close and they'll probably only use one for the most part, but having two will help prevent backups at the box and give you some room if one of your hens decides to go broody.
     
  4. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    I have 3 bedded milk crates ready for mine to start to lay. Am also looking to let them rear their own at least once!
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I'd opt for two as well. I started with 2 boxes for 5 girls, and I was sure glad I had that "extra" when one of them went broody and wouldn't leave the nest... [​IMG]
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Quote:Exactly. Also consider if you will have more hens laying in the future. I raise replacement layers so I often have more hens laying than my base laying flock. I have one hen that will spend about three hours on the nest every day, whether she lays or not, and she will not allow any other hen to climb in with her. I think at some time in the future, for whatever reason, you will be glad to have an extra nest.

    The minimum size I'd build is 12" x 12". I made mine 16" x 16" with the thought that they will often climb in there together and that will give them room to both lay comfortably. There have been pictures on this site of a hen laying on top of another hen when the nest is tight for space.

    Don't forget to allow sufficient height. I find that I need a lip about 5" high across the front to keep mine from scratching out the nesting material, fake eggs, or real eggs that may already be there. I had a nest that only had a 6" gap over the lip for them to climb in and it worked, but I like a bit more, say 8", to make it a little easier, especially if the nest is elevated where they have to jump a bit to get in.

    Plenty of people successfully use buckets, cat litter boxes, milk crates and a lot of other things as nests. There are no hard and fast rules about this. Some people set a milk crate in a corner. Some of us build elaborate contraptions and call them nests. The chickens usually use whatever we offer and sometimes they do their own thing. Good luck with however you decide.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    If you're quite sure you won't be raising chicks, I'd go with one larger nest, say 14 high by 18 wide.
     
  8. ZombieChickens

    ZombieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 6 hens. 5 Red Stars amd one banty thats not laying yet. They all use the box on the right, rarely use the one on the left.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. J.Pryce

    J.Pryce Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would go with 2. I have 14 layers, & waiting on another 14 pullets to start. I have 10 boxes, but those 14 seem to favor 2 of the boxes as I only occasionally find an egg in any of the others, but they checkout most of the boxes before they make their choice of box. It is funny to watch them jump from box to box until they feel comfortable in the one they choose.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    J.Pryce :

    I would go with 2. I have 14 layers, & waiting on another 14 pullets to start. I have 10 boxes, but those 14 seem to favor 2 of the boxes as I only occasionally find an egg in any of the others, but they checkout most of the boxes before they make their choice of box. It is funny to watch them jump from box to box until they feel comfortable in the one they choose.

    That's exactly why I wouldn't build more than one. I have yet to pay for a nesting box. You can always add another container of some sort later if you want.

    I (presently) have 5 wooden nests, three on top of two, the two being wider. Also a plastic bin on the floor, and two scraps of OSB leaning against the coop wall. They use them all, changing around periodically. I have also used cardboard boxes, 5 gallon buckets, kitty litter pans, and I forget what else.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2010

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