Need some help with nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by switters, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. switters

    switters In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2008
    Our chickens are getting close to laying age (about 5.5 months), so we're making sure our nesting boxes are in proper order. We realize they may not start laying until Spring, but want to make sure everything is okay in case they do start soon.

    Here is our current set-up:



    Question: the boxes have been in there for a week or so but I've never seen one of them actually get up there. It's kind of strange because they love to perch on anything they possibly can get up on. It makes me wonder if they can't easily get up into the boxes the way they're designed. How big should the boxes be? Should there be a small "shelf" in front of the boxes that makes it easier for them to fly up on them and enter? Any other tips?


  2. allaboutdemchicks

    allaboutdemchicks Chapel Farms

    Sep 13, 2008
    Jemison, AL
    They look perfect to me! A little tip I've figured out is to put a ceramic egg, a golf ball or anything that resembles an egg in for them to check out. It has always worked for me!

    Also, I never see mine checking out the nest boxes, but they always get the idea. (especially after the first one announces her egg)

    Good luck!

  3. It looks good!
    Maybe you should put a bar right in front of the nesting boxes so they can get up there easier.

  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    I've heard the size should be a minimum of 12" in every direction, especially if you have some larger breeds. They usually stand up when they are actually laying an egg, so allowing enough height is important. Your setup seems great, and so does your idea of adding a small shelf in front so they have a landing spot when flying or jumping up to the nest box. That would be a nice safety feature. Also, the recommendation of a fake egg or golf ball is good. My layers started investigating the nests when they were getting close to laying. Before that, they ignored nests and golf balls. You'll know they are close to laying when their faces combs & wattles get bright red, when they squat when you wave your hand over their back, and when they get interested in the nest! Good luck!
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don't see a lip on the bottom of yours to keep the bedding and eggs in. I'd add a 3" or 4" lip on the bottom of yours. They can use the lip to land on when getting in and out. Otherwise, it looks great.

    Mine are 16" x 16" x 16" and about the same height as yours. Mine have no problem getting into the nest. My openings are about 8" wide and 12" high for them to get in and out. I think 8" high for the opening would have been plenty.

    I made mine so I can lock a chicken in the nest if I want to. So far, I have had to train two hens to lay in the nest boxes instead of on the floor. I can access the area between the nesting boxes from the rear and open up the middle to either nest. I keep chickens in here for 24 hours to cleanse them before slaughter, have used it to isolate an injured chicken, can use it as a broody buster, or can isolate a broody on a nest if I get one.


  6. B'villechicken

    B'villechicken Songster

    Sep 19, 2008
    Syracuse NY Area
    I agree with putting a lip across the front. Other than that, they look super. They seem to know to use the boxes but I still have one or two that prefer to use the floor. I don't mind so much because I use the deep litter method and there isn't much difference between the floor and the boxes except height. I have four boxes for 8 Red Stars and the all crowd into two boxes. Go figure.
  7. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    Ridgerunner, your nestbox arrangement is a GREAT setup! Now, I'm going to have to rework mine to something resembling what you have; I love multi-purpose uses. Thanks for the inspiration! [​IMG]

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