Nest Boxes and Blueprint - City Hens Help Please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 4theloveofhens, May 27, 2010.

  1. 4theloveofhens

    4theloveofhens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2010
    Hello, I am sure this questions has been asked a million times but I what is everybody using for their nesting box measurements? Also, I have drawn up a plan for my coop/run. In case its too hard to read, the total space for chickens run would be 12 x 3, the actual ENCLOSED part 4 x 3. Let me know if my dimensions are hard to understand on the bottom right corner.

    Thank yo so much for your help!

  2. Suechick

    Suechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2009
    Carlsbad, CA
    So, how many chickens are you planning to have? It looks like you should limit the flock to 3 based on the sizes on your drawing. The size of the coop will be alright, but they will probably feel cramped in that little run, will they have some shade? If you can spare a little more space you won't regret making it bigger. Designing the coop and run so it will be easy to take care of them makes having chickens much more pleasant.

    Anyway, I have one large nest box for my 3 large breed chickens. It is 16" deep by 16" high and 24" long and has a convenient door to collect the eggs from the outside. I choose to make one nest box because chickens tend to use community nests so they always want to lay their eggs together. There are times when all 3 will be in the nestbox together.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I agree about the number of chickens: three, max. The usual rule of thumb you hear is 4 square feet per chicken indoor space, ten square feet per chicken outdoor space. More than that, especially with regard to the outdoor space which is where chickens will be spending most of their time most of the year in most climates, is certainly better.

    p.s. Oops, forgot to answer your question about the nest box. It's not terribly critical; you just need to make it big enough so they can fit in. For standard size chickens, 12 inches cubed should be fine, although more would be fine, too.

    I use these lidded plastic totes for nestboxes.

    Also, you might want to search here for discussions of the pros and cons of pop doors in the floor. I wouldn't do it unless there was no other place to put it in my coop design.

    Oh, one more thing: don't use "chicken wire."
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  4. 4theloveofhens

    4theloveofhens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2010
    Quote:Three max? Shoot, I am trying to build for 4. If I make the outside run a rectangle instead of a triangle, and perhaps make the upper level of the coop 4 x 4 instead of 4 x 3, will that be sufficient? I just ordered 4 chicks already so it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to only pick up three, but 4 just sounds better... [​IMG]

    By pop door do you mean the ramp going to the bottom of the coop? How else do you do it then?

    What do you recommend instead of chicken wire that is CHEAP but good, college student = poor. [​IMG]

    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  5. Suechick

    Suechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2009
    Carlsbad, CA
    For the coop you need something heavier than chicken wire. Most people use hardware cloth. The reason for this is that night time predators will try to get your chickens and they can get through chicken wire easily, so your coop has to be predator proof. I've found some good materials for free on Craigslist, most of my coop was made from other peoples throw aways. But, if you can't get hardware cloth you could add ventilation by drilling many 3/8" holes into the wall plywood. It would be tedious but cheap. You need about 1 sq ft of ventilation per chicken.

    I think 4x4 would be big enough for the interior, that's how big mine is. It is a bit cramped though.

    If you could move the door to the side rather than the floor that might be easier, otherwise you won't be able to use bedding without having it kicked out all over the ground. You can connect the ramp to the side instead of the bottom.

    You don't have to use chicken wire for the run, any kind of fencing material with small enough openings to keep the chickens in will work, as long as you lock them in the coop at night to protect them. The run will not be predator proof, but the coop must be.
  6. sillybirds

    sillybirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2008
    With regards to your "bury?" question . . . Sometimes it's easier to have a 1 1/2 to 2 foot apron around your run to prevent digging rather than burying wire, depending on your soil conditions. I used a 1 1/2 foot apron of galvanized horse fencing for my run and it has never been breached.
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  7. fiddleblue

    fiddleblue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2009
    Nest box size 14 inch high by 14 inch wide by 16 inch deep, works for regular hens plus my larger Light Brahmas.
  8. Whitewater

    Whitewater Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2010
    We are getting 3 Black Australorps in exactly 4 weeks from today (yay!) and our plans called for 2 nest boxes for a total of 30" long, with the boxes themselves being approximately 12" deep by 15" across. We used 1" plywood (that we painted with a wood stain from Behr) so the actual dimensions probably vary a bit. The nest boxes are also about 18" high, which looks a bit high to me, with a fairly steep angle on the roof, to keep them from roosting there, supposedly -- we'll see what our girls think. The farm that we are getting our chickens from has nest boxes that are pretty much 12"x12" and their birds seem to do just fine -- some adult Australorps were in them laying when we went up to choose our youngsters.

    I'm getting the feeling, from reading everybody else's posts, that no matter how well-built your boxes are (they could be perfect, ideal specimens!) your hens will have a mind of their own about it, and you'll never be able to please them! Again, I'll tell you a couple months from now when ours start laying whether or not this is true, LOL.


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