Need more nest boxes???

MarkJr

Yard Bird Enthusiast
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Jun 15, 2020
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I went for my mid morning egg check and found this. 5 butts.... 4 boxes.
D5CA8C8D-8C97-4E6F-B810-79EEC52224AE.jpeg

Went into house and watched another go into the coop.... and she’s not visible through the window.... that is 6 butts.... 4 boxes.

Is 4 enough for 11 layers??? I will have 3 more in a few months. I’ve been finding random eggs on my 5 acres, but never a return customer in the nest. If I add another will it alleviate this??? Or will chickens be chickens and all fight over the new one?
 

U_Stormcrow

Songster
Jun 7, 2020
468
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Based on what I've read, yes. I've seen rule of thumb like the 4sq/10sq per bird house/run "rule" for nesting boxes as high as 1 box per 5 birds. Personally, I consider 1:3 more reasonable, maybe 1:4 if your dual purpose birds are at the low end of the eggs/week scale.

So even with three more birds in the coming months, 4 boxes should be enough. If you expand your flock beyond that, or start having behavior issues, then yeah, expand and add more boxes at the same time.
 

jreardon1918

Songster
Jul 13, 2016
632
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Southeast, MA
My Coop
3 boxes served great when we had 7. We generally find all of that day's eggs in one box. Not always the same one. Soon we will have 9 hens, 3 boxes. The other side of the coop has an additional 3 nest boxes. We use them as storage.
 

aart

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Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
I have 4 nests for up to 18 birds, some days there are traffic jams but overall it worked out just fine. Keeping a fake egg in each nest helps spread the love, tho there are still favorites and they may squawk while waiting in line.

I’ve been finding random eggs on my 5 acres, but never a return customer in the nest. If I add another will it alleviate this??? Or will chickens be chickens and all fight over the new one?
Might need to.....
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
 

MarkJr

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Jun 15, 2020
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Elkton, OR
I have 4 nests for up to 18 birds, some days there are traffic jams but overall it worked out just fine. Keeping a fake egg in each nest helps spread the love, tho there are still favorites and they may squawk while waiting in line.


Might need to.....
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
7x7 coop. Small ‘emergency I forgot to open door run’ about 3x7. Just finished 6x10 run all covered. Two pop doors confused them but I think they’re getting the hang of it. My issue is cockerel introduced a few weeks back, as well as three fresh weaned pullets at same time frame draw a lot of aggression from my cranky laying pullets. I’m willing to lose a few eggs to purchase peace for another month to get everyone settled.

Chicken Chess. Should be turned into a board game.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
85,818
101,387
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
7x7 coop. Small ‘emergency I forgot to open door run’ about 3x7. Just finished 6x10 run all covered. Two pop doors confused them but I think they’re getting the hang of it. My issue is cockerel introduced a few weeks back, as well as three fresh weaned pullets at same time frame draw a lot of aggression from my cranky laying pullets. I’m willing to lose a few eggs to purchase peace for another month to get everyone settled.

Chicken Chess. Should be turned into a board game.
Is 4 enough for 11 layers??? I will have 3 more in a few months.
So 14 layers total plus a cockerel?
Not sure they will 'settle' into that small of a space.
Chicken Chaos!
 

MarkJr

Yard Bird Enthusiast
Premium Feather Member
Jun 15, 2020
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Yeah. 12 birds of space, 15 birds in it. They will settle out. The 3 small pullets were a broody experiment.... that did rather well.
 

U_Stormcrow

Songster
Jun 7, 2020
468
833
166
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Thanks Aart - that's useful advice for me and my free range flock too. I know the ducks are going to leave eggs just anywhere - its what ducks do - but training/re-training the chickens in my flock so they don't follow the duck's examples isn't s
 

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