Need some broody coop/laying house inspiration/suggestions.

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
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West Texas
So I'm in the process of building these. They were initially planned as breeding pens. However, I needed a place for food storage so the one on the right morphed into that. And then I found that I was going to need a broody coop pretty soon, so the one on the left started to be built.
20210921_191912.jpg

Then, two of the ducks became broody right under the access panel for my roll away nest box, so I had to block off the rolling part and gather the eggs from the inside. Animals just don't understand function in design.
Since no serious breeding is going to be going on until next spring, I need to repurpose these now...again...ugh.
The back wall faces north. The left wall faces west and the main access gate to the yard is right next to it. My plan right now is to rotate that metal panel on the left and cover the west wall entirely, move all the feed storage to that left side, and try somehow to turn the left structure with the feed in it into a laying parlor, and the right structure into a broody coop / brooding pen.
I'll need the broody coop side to be done by this weekend, so I'll make that happen first. I'm extremely open to ideas for putting nest boxes on the left side. I'm thinking about putting a door next to the West wall, covering at least halfway up that adjacent middle opening (second quadrant) and situating the nest boxes in that second quadrant area, with the ability to do a pass through to the mostly finished coupe, which is the broody/brooder coop. The quadrant is approximately 4 ft wide by 6 ft long, and I'd like to be able to put some sort of duck nest on the floor and then above that go with my roll away nest box, a row of bucket nests and a row of milk crate nests? It's only 6 ft tall, so that may not be entirely possible, l've just found that they're kind of fickle when it comes to laying anywhere (not that any of them have laid in any of the buckets or milk crates that I have put out).

Please help with any ideas, suggestions, or critiques of my plan.

And before anyone asks, I've lost count. Somewhere north of 20 hens and and a dozen female ducks, 6 drakes (separated), 5 roosters, and 50+ chicks/eggs in various stages of chickiness and egginess. Oldest batch is 3 weeks, youngest batch due in 2 weeks.

TIA
-Tank
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
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I would be worried about closing it up any more than it is.... except maybe a temporary full end wall in "winter".

Not sure how shaded/how hot it gets in there.... but if it isn't too hot, I would put in a broody area under a poop shelf, perches over poop shelf. So the area under the poop shelf would be about 8 x 2, which is fine for a broody. But, do make sure that the area under a poop shelf wouldn't get too hot and stuffy. Use as much wire as possible, only solid surface being the poop shelf.

What is the rule of thumb? 8 to 10 inches of perch per bird? Remember, everyone will want the highest perch, so there is less fighting if the perches are at the same level.

If you will be integrating all of those chicks into the flock, you probably want lots of extra perch space, or perches at the same height but spaced far out to reduce squables.
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
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Feb 12, 2021
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Not sure how shaded/how hot it gets in there....
Thanks for the reply, and funny you should mention that, Monday was the hottest day of the year at 104 degrees. That's why I'm going to fully cover up the West side, as the summer sun in the evening is brutal, and also why the original plan was for the whole front and upper portion of the right side to be open.

West Texas weather is all about extremes, we generally only have two seasons - hot and hotter; and then occasionally the holy $#!^ it's freezing! week or two. I wear a jacket when it's less than 85 degrees.

I only thought about covering the lower portion of the second quadrant so that the layers could have some privacy. Currently, the most popular nesting box is one entirely closed up in one of those cheapo tiny starter coops you get at the major retailers, second is the rollout box, which is a bit more exposed. I've noticed that more eggs are showing up in the little coop than the nice big rollout box (I know who lays what, and some of them have migrated to the little box). There is no airflow in that tiny box and yet that's what they're choosing.

This is not the main coop, nor meant to roost anyone but the chicks during grow out. They have two large hoop coops, one 6x12 and one 6x10. I'd really like to encourage them to lay in a dedicated laying area and just sleep in the coops, hopefully the ducks will follow suit, because doing an easter egg hunt every morning has really lost its novelty.

I have some shade cloth, or maybe some fence pickets, that I could use to cover that lower quadrant (over hardware cloth). That should allow airflow but still provide privacy. I can't move the rollout box until the ducks are done under it, the eggs are due to hatch this weekend and I'm assuming they'll take at least a week or two before they try to move them over with the rest of the flock. So I still have some time to think about nest layout. I feel like the more energy I put into making something nice for them, the less likely they are to use it. 🙄

So broody box - I'm thinking around 15" square, ground level, with a short (1 inch?) lip. Should it be elevated slightly or will that just encourage insects under it?
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
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I have some shade cloth, or maybe some fence pickets, that I could use to cover that lower quadrant (over hardware cloth). That should allow airflow but still provide privacy.
That sounds perfect.


So broody box - I'm thinking around 15" square, ground level, with a short (1 inch?) lip. Should it be elevated slightly or will th
Yes, keep it on the ground.

I would make it a bit bigger, so chicks could stay in there the first week. That way you get late hatchers, and all chicks can get full peppy and speedy before mom is let out and starts running all over with them.

I have a broody tractor that is 2x3 and I find that to be good and roomy. A 2x2 would also work, but I wouldn't go smaller than that.

because doing an easter egg hunt eve
Ah, gotcha. Well.... then I would put up the largest variety of boxes imaginable, and see what they like.

My grandmother would lock them up until a bit after lunch, and then let them free range. And us kids would still find eggs way out in the barn.

Soooooo.... hopefully with a great deal of enticement, your girls will pick the nestboxes..... but it will never be 100%.
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
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Feb 12, 2021
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the largest variety of boxes imaginable
I saw a P. Allen Smith segment showing his duck nest boxes that are just triangles on the ground. I think that might work for the broody nest too. That puts me at 6 designs I think.

I just got off work, so now it's out to the garage to mill some lumber.
Sigh, can I have a t-shirt that says, "My chickens appreciate how well trained I am."
 

Scots in France

Chirping
Jan 30, 2021
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Gaujan, Gers, France
What I have ended up using for hens to lay eggs in are wooden orange crates filled with hay / straw / woodshavings.
The one in the chicken coop has the plastic lid with door opening of a cat litter tray.
And 2 more boxes in the barn without lids are popular choices too.
These make it really easy to move the broody and the chicks - light curtain over the top to keep everyone in and off you go to their new roost...
Having said all that, this summer the contrary girls have had 5 feral nests in the meadow, or under trees, the biggest had over 2 dozen eggs in it when we found it! 😂 😂 😂
Currently 2 broody hens in the barn and a 3rd in the wood pile at the bottom of the garden! She has an umbrella ☔ over her to help keep the rain off her and her nest!
We're finishing off conversation of a large shed for ALL of the youngsters hatched this year - 34 to date with potentially 15 more chicks in the next couple of weeks...
Chicken math at its best!
Good luck with your choice of nest boxes!
One thing I have noticed is that our rooster shows the girls places that he thinks are safe to use, so maybe show them the options and give treats and hopefully they will show your girls what good options are available!
🙏🏽 💜 🙏🏽 💜 🙏🏽
🌸 ✨ 💙 ✨ 🌸
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
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I didn't start a new thread because I just want to express some amazement and a little panic.... But there is a question at the end.

I bought a used GQF cabinet and hatcher last month and I've had eggs going in it ever since. The first batch, all chicken, spent one week in a styrofoam incubator before moving into the cabinet. They were stored up to two weeks before incubating. They hatched on time and as expected; except one purebred egg hatched 2 days late with most of the yolk sac unabsorbed, and unfortunately didn't make it. (I didn't have high expectations for the purebreds, I rescued 5 hens from a breeder and they were severely overbred. Only one is laying at all and it's been almost 2 months. She went broody about 2 weeks ago, that's why I'm working on the broody box.)

The second batch, chicken and duck, were stored up to 1.5 weeks before incubating. The chickens started hatching on day 20 and were done by day 21, 98% hatch. The ducks are on day 25 today, I pulled them out to go slide under my first time duck broodies and three of them have pipped. Oh crap.

I'm not ready! I was going to put up the little ducky yard this weekend!

There are two ducks sharing a nest with 6 of the flock's eggs, I just put 12 more under them. I'm super glad I'll have 2 mama's taking care of the little stinkers.

There's a set of barnyard mix eggs in there that go into lockdown tomorrow, and a set of shipped eggs that have another week. Tomorrow's batch is supposed to go under my broody chicken, because she's sitting on 2 ceramic eggs and one of her own (she stole the ceramics from another box, lol).

I really didn't mean to hatch this many chicks. Even though I'm happy with the performance of the styrofoam incubators, my hatch and survival rate has never been this high, nor have I had any pip or hatch so early. I have 6 thermometers in that incubator, one brand new from GQF, temp at the top has been a rock solid 100.0 and 97.8 to 98.5 at the bottom. I shift the eggs down a shelf each week. That cabinet is way too good. Wow.

The real test will be the shipped eggs in a week.

Argh, my overthought, overbuilt, outside brooder and broody pen aren't finished yet!

Okay, back to reality and a serious question. Come hell or high water, the broody pen gets done tonight. It's bare dirt with some chunky mulch. I have half a bag of pine shavings and half a bag of straw. I *might* have two bags of construction sand in the shed. Which should I put in the nest box? Throw the rest in the pen or leave it bare? She's going to be locked in there with them for a few days, I'm assuming broody poop will still be my daily present for at least a week. Theoretically the "pen" part should be 4x6, but if I don't get the divider built, it'll be 8x6. I have to go into town tomorrow, so I can get more of whatever.

Anyone cruising through Texas on I-20 anytime soon is welcome to come get some chicks or ducklings! Okay, not anyone, only chicken people.🙂
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
184
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West Texas
Here's where I ended up at tonight. It was dark, so the pictures aren't that great.

I'm one of those people that has a ton of stuff sitting around, waiting for a project. Since building coop #1 in the Spring (these are #5 and #6), I've purchased very little in the way of materials. I already had almost everything.
20210923_194715.jpg

Above you can see the triangle shaped broody/duck nest. It consists of:
3 - 2x2s @ 17"
3 - 5/8"x6" (fence picket) @ 24 5/8"
3 - 5/8"x6" (fence picket) @ 24"
1 - 5/8"x6" (fence picket) @ 34" ripped in half for the front and back lip
It's approximately 18.5" tall at the peak.
Do not forget to pre-drill your holes, those fence pickets will split if you look at them funny. I used #6x1-5/8 screws, because it's what I had that was short enough.
20210923_200121.jpg

The rusty, mismatched gridwire is some I picked up at an estate sale. The nice black one came off the wall of my sea container, I used to have a retail store and I have a bunch of it. All three will not fit, I have to come up with something else to finish the divider. The white one is screwed into the wood, and the silver and white are connected with 1" hose clamps. I'll add some chicken wire to them to keep the wee gremlins on their own sides.
20210923_200105.jpg

Nope, still didn't rotate that metal panel.... I still have to put J-trim and L-trim on the back wall and roof of the left structure. The right one is done, so I only cared about getting it ready for broody hen and the month old chicks.
20210923_200037.jpg

I have one more 6' picket, so I'll slide it in there. They are not screwed in so I can open up the quadrants if necessary. You can see in the back where I secured them with a super warped piece of another picket, and I did the same in front with a 1x3 scrap.
3 eight foot fence pickets were enough to do the nest box and cut 3 of the lengths needed to cover the second quadrant. I'll need to cut one more 8' in half to get the last 2 pieces.
 
Last edited:

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 26, 2008
34,401
70,882
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
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It's bare dirt with some chunky mulch. I have half a bag of pine shavings and half a bag of straw. I *might* have two bags of construction sand in the shed. Which should I put in the nest box? Throw the rest in the pen or leave it bare?
If you didn't decide yet....

My broodies are always crazy proud about perpetually scratching about for their chicks.

So any bedding gets kicked into the feeder and waterer.

So I try to give them a nest area, and have the rest as bare as possible.
 

Scots in France

Chirping
Jan 30, 2021
43
232
89
Gaujan, Gers, France
Here's where I ended up at tonight. It was dark, so the pictures aren't that great.

I'm one of those people that has a ton of stuff sitting around, waiting for a project. Since building coop #1 in the Spring (these are #5 and #6), I've purchased very little in the way of materials. I already had almost everything.
View attachment 2844393
Above you can see the triangle shaped broody/duck nest. It consists of:
3 - 2x2s @ 17"
3 - 5/8"x6" (fence picket) @ 24 5/8"
3 - 5/8"x6" (fence picket) @ 24"
1 - 5/8"x6" (fence picket) @ 34" ripped in half for the front and back lip
It's approximately 18.5" tall at the peak.
Do not forget to pre-drill your holes, those fence pickets will split if you look at them funny. I used #6x1-5/8 screws, because it's what I had that was short enough.
View attachment 2844396
The rusty, mismatched gridwire is some I picked up at an estate sale. The nice black one came off the wall of my sea container, I used to have a retail store and I have a bunch of it. All three will not fit, I have to come up with something else to finish the divider. The white one is screwed into the wood, and the silver and white are connected with 1" hose clamps. I'll add some chicken wire to them to keep the wee gremlins on their own sides.
View attachment 2844400
Nope, still didn't rotate that metal panel.... I still have to put J-trim and L-trim on the back wall and roof of the left structure. The right one is done, so I only cared about getting it ready for broody hen and the month old chicks.
View attachment 2844407
I have one more 6' picket, so I'll slide it in there. They are not screwed in so I can open up the quadrants if necessary. You can see in the back where I secured them with a super warped piece of another picket, and I did the same in front with a 1x3 scrap.
3 eight foot fence pickets were enough to do the nest box and cut 3 of the lengths needed to cover the second quadrant. I'll need to cut one more 8' in half to get the last 2 pieces.
Well done you for getting ALL of that done!
🌸 ✨ 💙 ✨ 🌸
 

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