Nest box in portable run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cpmart, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. cpmart

    cpmart In the Brooder

    Aug 16, 2010

    First, I would like to thank Back Yard Chickens members for being around! I am new to raising chickens, and your site has been a wealth of information. Between reading the forum and looking at the pictures, I think our family has settled on a nice little setup for our lovely little hens (see picture). I built a coop that is mostly stationary (wheels can be attached to move it to a sunnier spot in the winter/cooler spot in the summer) and a pen that is mobile (with wheels). On rainy days, I leave the pen next to the coop and the pop-up door allows them access to the pen, while on other days I move the pen around the yard so the hens have access to bugs and greens. Every late-afternoon, I roll the pen back up to the coop so they can sleep inside. Everybody seems happy with this setup.

    Here's my newbie question. Our hens (Buff Orpingtons) are about 18 weeks old, so we are anxiously awaiting the appearance of our first egg. I usually let the chickens into the pen by 9 am and move it to a new section of lawn. The coop has a nest box in it, but I'm wondering if I should add a nest box to the pen. I'm concerned that once they start laying I will inadvertently move the pen away from the coop before they have a chance to use the nest box, and they will end up laying on the ground in the pen.

    Do chickens usually lay first thing in the morning? Weight isn't too much of an issue with the pen (I feared it would be at the start, but the wheels make it quite easy to move around) so I was thinking of doing something easy like attaching a milk crate to the pen to act as a secondary nest box. Are there any drawbacks to doing this? Thanks for your insight.

  2. Koolduck

    Koolduck Songster

    Jul 18, 2009
    Central KY
    I have a few hens that are early risers. Most lay late morning. There is one that lays late...upwards to 3pm. I would fashion a box in your run! Have fun!
  3. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    It takes around 26 hours for an egg to form and make its way out, so hens won't lay at exactly the same time every day. They will probably appreciate a nestbox in the run; otherwise, if they need to lay they'll just drop the egg in the grass or dirt.

    I use a portable plastic storage bin as a nestbox in my day tractor.
  4. cpmart

    cpmart In the Brooder

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for the advice folks, I'd like to have happy hens...nest box in the pen it is!

  5. raro

    raro In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2010
    I made a really simple nesting box that my hens love, and it's easily moveable. I got a $3.50 Rubbermaid tub from Walmart, and with a knife cut a hole on one side for the hen to enter. Put in a bit of straw, and I just lift off the lid to check for eggs. [​IMG]
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I like your setup. I think your child and the chickens are both entertaining each other.
  7. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    yes your setup is cute. i cannot tell if u used chicken wire or not it is only will keep your chicken in not predators please add a cover half way over. for the rain and for shade just in case u forget to move in shade i just read the post of rebbetzin loose her flock

    times the human baby come first

    it just a though
  8. cpmart

    cpmart In the Brooder

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for the idea Raro, that's the type of cheap and easy solution I'm thinking of!

    @Drumstick Diva...Amelia and the chickens do entertain each other. Who doesn't like watching chickens?? I guess it starts early.

    @sunflowerenvy...It is hardware cloth covering all the openings of both the pen and coop. The only exception is the roof of the pen which is coated 2"x4" wire. From what I understand that should be ok as far as predator-proofing. As far as shade, they are in the shade of a large tree when the pen is attached to the coop (and can go in the coop if raining), and when I move the pen, I move it to a shaded section of the yard, so they are never in direct sun. That being said, however, I do have an old beach umbrella that I have set up over the pen (it covers about half) if I think the day seems really oppressive (over 85 degrees, I live in a pretty moderate climate). Luckily we don't get a lot of those days. Thank you for pointing it out, I read the post you linked, and it would be heartbreaking to lose our hens.
  9. NWChicks

    NWChicks Songster

    Mar 3, 2010
    Granite Falls, WA
    I have portable tractors (we call them Chicken RV's). My dh put a nest box in and I lined it with indoor/outdoor carpet that can be hosed off since mine always flip all the nesting material out of the box. I did have to put a golf ball in the box so they new what it was for. Before I did that no one wanted to lay in there, they just stood at the end of the tractor and yelled at me! Now they know they can do their business in the portables and everyone is happy! [​IMG]
  10. mcostas

    mcostas Chirping

    Aug 2, 2010
    Here is a pic of mine with a tarp I got at harbor freight. The bungies are adjustable, the have a ball on one end and you slip the other through the grommet and put it through the adjustable hook.


    I am in the house now trying to cool off after mowing. It's 89 and "feels like 100" according to the weather channel. My pollets (or whatever they are) are in my fenced garden plot. I was worried about the heat affecting them but they seem oblivious to it. Of course they are in the shade, sun on a tarp can get hot as well.

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